Project Wonderful

Friday, May 11, 2012

Catch Your Dream

A few weeks ago, I posted about the TV show Battleground and how unrelateable I found the whole thing. The characters were unsympathetic, the plot was unrealistic, and frankly watching it made me feel yucky.

And then there's Leslie Knope. I really, really hate it when people compare themselves and their friends to television characters (I am not the Miranda, you guys! What? Just because I have red hair and I don't take crap from people? She had the worst clothes.), but I would gladly be compared to Leslie. Come on! She's idealistic, she's patriotic, fiercly loyal, irrationally competitive, evangelistically intense, compulsively sentimental, unabashedly feminist when it comes to politics, and most of her friends think she's crazy. She even 90's raps around her office! Me, right?

And her relationship with Ben? Swoon!! Especially after she finally got over that Mark Brandanowitz. (What the hell happened to him? You'd think he'd at least come volunteer.) Unlike many other smart, strong female characters on tv these days, Leslie's boyfriend actually deserves her.He challenges her, he shares her love of public service, he's totally supportive but he has his own thing going on... also he's adorable and he wore a Batman costume. They talked about doing it in the Lincoln Bedroom.

The people on this show are real people. She has a ridiculous boss whom she respects and visa versa despite the fact that they agree on almost nothing. Even the political consultant they brought in to run her opponent's campaign is a not-that-caricature-y caricature of every consultant I have ever met (except that she's a woman and most consultants aren't...booyah again Parks and Rec.) Parks and Recreation is like pornography for my soul. I love this show, hard. If you have not seen Parks and Rec, watch it. Right now. There are episodes available on Hulu and Netflix.

There have been rumors circulating around the internet that Parks and Rec would be cancelled next year, but as of this morning it was picked up for another full season. This is good news, and not just for me. Leslie Knope, although fictional, is such a wonderful role model for women holding public office. Her path to candidacy is not crammed into a male mold. She ran because she was asked, she had a long track record of political involvement, did not have children... for more on Womens paths to public office, read my report here. She is an excellent example of how women can be funny and relatable while still being passionate and effective public servants. As I pointed out with Barbie for President, one major obstacle to encouraging more female candidates is that in order to aspire to something women need to be able to envision themselves in that role. I hope Leslie Knope's character helps more women see themselves as potential candidates. I'm inspired!

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