Posted by: erikam12 | March 23, 2015

Parks and Recreation for the Win

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6bcs8ln_9Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMnxPsQanrs

These two clips are taken from the comedy TV show named Parks and Recreation. This show is not only comical, it satirizes important issues and problems with society in a way that makes people laugh but simultaneously realize that these problems are real. The quick synopsis of this show is that the two characters shown in these clips are Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt are married and dedicated public servants in two separate parts of the Parks and Rec department.

The first clip speaks to the feminist ideals that have been going through social media in recent years such as “#yesallwomen” and “HeforShe” by mocking them through what a men’s perspective would look like if the tables were turned. The second clip shows Ben on his campaign trail with Leslie by his side like a “normal wife” would be, but then he decides to let her speak up for herself. This clip was so wonderful because they speak about how women get treated on these campaigns and as politicians. Leslie then goes through all of the “normal” questions about what a woman gets asked before anyone is able to ask them. Ben also makes the point to say that he would like to talk about their kids as well, and asks why no one ever wonders about his thoughts on family and politics. This show is particularly great because it portrays Leslie as a driven, determined, and efficient leader in her town, showing that she has ambition and dreams at the same time that her husband does, and that does not bother her. She has never once let her ambition dwindle because of her husband’s ambitions or people criticizing her for how she handles her job as a women, she only puts forth more effort.

My question to all of you is, what were your first reactions to these two clips? Do you think that the satire is an accurate portrayal of what women today face in those contexts? Do you think that more if more TV shows brought up these points, if it would make a difference? Do you believe this method to be effective in any way?

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Responses

  1. My initial reaction to these two clips is that they really are accurate to the gender issues that we are currently facing in society. However, because it is a satire, there are obviously going to be inflation and dramatization of issues. Although the first clip is bringing up issues relevant to women currently, it could also be taken as negative, making fun of women pursuing equity, and could have negative implications. However, I do think that putting these types of issues into media in this manner does more good than it does bad. Because these issues are being recognized, whether it is subconscious or not, people are more likely to think about these things, and form their own opinions about them. This has the potential to be highly beneficial to pursuing these ideas outside of media.
    Although the show is functioning to bring up these points, I am not sure to what degree this method is effective. I think it allows for a large gap that highly depends on the individual viewing the media, and what they decide to do with it. Based on this reaction, the effectiveness of the method will be dictated.
    Again, I see a more negative connotation with the first clip initially, but I think it presents an important bit of information. I think it allows the viewer to experience the campaign for women’s rights from a male perspective. With the feminist movement, many men do not take a prejudice against women, and I believe this clip portrays how these men feel when they are being accused of devaluing women and their rights. With the second clip, I think it talks about many issues that are not brought up in the greater society, especially not directly. It allows women to be seen as navigating the labyrinth, but also demonstrates how hard many women work to achieve the work-life equilibrium that we have been talking about in class. I think that the clips overall have a positive effect on the movement to recognize women and their rights, and have the potential to be effective, depending on what is done with them.

  2. When I first watched the videos I thought they were both really funny! I liked how I was able to think about them in the context of what we have been going over in class and it was refreshing to see it presented in a comical manner. I think that by having the satire in more shows then it would help in making people feel comfortable with more women in leadership positions or help to education the public on what women are facing. I think it is also a good way to incorporate men into the conversation and to address things that they face as well. When watching the first video I thought it was interesting that they placed men in the roles of wanting equality and how they made arguments that women have been portrayed to ask. It almost seemed ridiculous though when watching the men and listening to their arguments. That is not to say that the fight for women’s equality is not important, it just presents the topic of perception and perspective. That scence may be an insight to how the feminist movement is seen by many people in the public. If this is so, then that helps to determine where one problem in the equation is and where we can start to determine how to fix the issue. Back to thinking about if more shows presented these issues in this way how it would help in educating the public, we also have to be careful not to diminish the issues or make women’s equality seem like just a joke. We also want to make sure that men still feel included in the discussion, so their issues also have to be presented in a way that does not make men feel that they have to fit a certain mold.

  3. I really like the second clip. The best part was when she said, I’m sorry that the spotlight is on me and not the candidate for election. That is just so true on so many levels. It amazes me how the media can care about the superficial and unimportant things not even surrounding the candidate as opposed to the issues at hand the candidate is trying to resolve. Satire is a great way to get people’s attention. People laugh at it but with every joke, there is always some truth to it. And the more we as future leaders inform people about this subject the more they will watch shows like this and recognize the jabs at society and spread the word from there. Change is gradual and like Ghandi said “be the change you wish to see in the world”. It’s hard to come up with exact leadership actions to take with this topic. But so long as we just keep spreading awareness, through word of mouth and in television, people will start to realize the issues and society may soften.

  4. I really enjoyed both of these clip and I have always enjoyed the work of Amy Poehler through her career. This is not the first time that Amy has done a funny bit on issues that she wants to shine a light on, and many of her roles have been atypical females that were funny but strong. I believe that these clip did show that there is an issue in today’s society about how women are perceived in the media, especially when they are running for a position of leadership. My favorite part was in the second clip when she decide to answer all the pointless questions that are only asked to women and not men.

  5. I thought both of these clips contained legitimate issues that women face today. I especially found the portion where she was answering her own questions about her appearance and her family to be very accurate. I see women in the media constantly devalued for their success and achievements because of their family issues or physical appearance. I think that more TV shows like Parks and Recreation need to continue to contain material illuminating some of the struggles that women encounter, particularly because men also watch that show as much as women. I think that men need to be exposed to those struggles in order to understand them and for them to change. However, because this show is a comedy, I think that many people might not realize how serious and detrimental some of these gender-based problems are.


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