5 Lessons We Should All Learn from Feminist TV Shows

After you become somewhat conscious about social injustice issues related to gender, watching sitcoms is not the same as it's used to be. What are all these jokes relying on outdated gender roles? Does this episode even pass the Bechdel test, i.e. have two female characters talking to each other about something other than men? So. Many. Questions. To celebrate International Women's Day week, here are five TV comedy shows that represent women in all their glory – as multidimensional, complex human beings – and do it using humor that is both funny and smart.

Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)

Parks and Recreation tells the story of a colorful group of people associated with town politics in the fictional city of Pawnee, focusing on Leslie Knope who is endlessly determined to succeed in the old-fashioned, male-dominated politics of the town (and SPOILER: eventually the whole country). The show is full of references to feminist issues and always a perfect mixture of silly and smart. Leslie Knope even invented 'Galentine's Day', the day of celebrating and pampering your lady friends on February 13th.

Feminist lesson: Succeeding in a male-dominated field can sadly be difficult, but not impossible: just follow your heart, never give up, and remember to support other women.

Gilmore Girls (2000-2007; will continue with four more episodes)

Gilmore Girls is solid girl energy for seven seasons straight. The show follows the lives of Lorelai and Rory, mother and daughter, as they move towards their academic and work-related goals and tackle their relationship problems. Rory and Lorelai are smart, driven and flawed - perfect inspiration and perfect company. 

Feminist lesson: Occasionally being an emotional mess and crying over boys is never imcompatible with being a strong, intelligent and successful person.

Girls (2012- )

Girls is a treat: all the four main characters are female, and all of them are flawed and lost in their own way – so, human, basically. Watching the show makes you feel better about your own inevitable shortcomings and assures you that you can succeed despite, or maybe even because of, them. Girls just returned with its 5th and second-to-last season.

Feminist lesson: Girls can be difficult, annoying and unlikeable, just like all people.

Master Of None (2015- )

Netflix's Master Of None is a much-needed reminder that a comedy with a male lead can indeed be done without sexist jokes and actually tastefully deal with serious issues such as sexism and racism using humor. The first season follows Indian-American Dev (Aziz Ansari from Parks and Recreation), who is struggling to become an actor and achieve a likeable life. It has an entire episode devoted to Dev discovering feminism with the help of the women in his life, and the whole series is just warm, enlightening and funny.

Feminist lesson: Sharing your experiences as a woman is always a good thing and can open someone's eyes to feminist issues.

New Girl (2011- )

New Girl's main character Jess is a feminist in super girly dresses and fake lashes, which is wonderful – it is totally time to move over girly and feminine style ever being associated with being weak and unintelligent. Following Jess and her male roomies is a heartwarming ride where everyone learns from each other.

Feminist lesson: 'Girly' is never, ever a negative thing.