This week saw the end of a popular NBC show named “Parks and Recreation.” This star-studded documentary-style commentary followed a Parks and Rec department in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana through heartbreak, love, lust, success, failure, the birth of babies, name confusion, taking over neighboring towns, tackling a sugary mega-million dollar company, and more. Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Low, and more stars brought us through this roller coaster. However, a few episodes into its final season, this show gave us all a timely message that resonates with us, especially one that resonates with the upcoming Women’s Leadership Conference here at SSU: gender equality.
To catch everyone up on the episode, I’ll write a short recap (spoilers included). In the P&R episode “Candidate Cooks Up Controversy”, Ben is on the Congressional campaign circuit, and an antiquated traditional called the “Piemary” is coming up. In this event, all of the wives of the men running must bake a pie and will be judged on their pie. Not their ideas, not the amount of money they raise for charity, not their careers, but for how good their pie tastes. Since Leslie is a strong political female already, journalists had already been raising concerns about her not being your average candidate’s wife. Her refusing to enter to sexist event raised even more eyebrows. The power couple decided to throw a curveball on the tradition and have Ben enter a calzone into the contest. This created an uproar, included a man from the “men’s rights” movement screeching for equality for men against women. However, Leslie saved the day with a great speech at a press conference as always:
“I’m sorry that the spotlight is on me and not on Ben, because he’s going to make a great congressman. Second, the Male Men? You’re ridiculous, and men’s rights is nothing. Third, I am now going to give you permanent answers to all of the silly questions you’re going to ask me and every other woman in this election: ‘Why did I change my hairstyle?’ I don’t know, I just thought it would look better, or my kids got gum in it. ‘Are you trying to have it all?’ That question makes no sense! It’s a stupid question. Stop asking it. ‘Do you miss your kids when you’re at work?’ Yes, of course I do! Everybody does! And then, you know, sometimes, I don’t.”
Ben jumps in with “And, by the way, no one’s ever asked me that question,” to add more credibility to her speech. Why can men have a strong political campaign and not worry about their children? Why is it that, the minute a women tries to be powerful, people are suddenly concerned about who’s watching their children? This episode brings up the idea that there doesn’t have to be a “cookie cutter” example of a candidate’s wife, or any women for that matter.
Since the theme of this Women’s Leadership Conference is Telling our Story Through Social Media and Activism, I thought I’d share some social media reaction clips:
Who’s excited for the conference? It’s Monday, March 9th from 11 am – 2:15 PM. Get your tickets here!