I’ve been thinking lately about the character of Leslie Knope, since some random bloggers have been complaining that she’s too saintly or something. (Which is so weird. She totally has TONS of flaws, it’s just that the show doesn’t think she deserves to be constantly put down for them, unlike how practically every other show on TV treats women. So maybe that’s why it’s confusing for people.)
I think what I love about Leslie and her flaws is that they are all, like, childlike flaws, in what is somehow a very appealing way — she’s impulsive and passionate and feels everything intensely, so she loses her temper very unself-critically. I feel like post-puberty so many women are socialized to not express negative emotions, or at least to be really… what is the word. Like, circumspect or careful about expressing them.
But the way Leslie Knope gets mad — man, that is the way a little girl gets mad. She is totally not worried about whether her feelings are legitimate, or whether she’s being unreasonable, or about anyone thinking she’s a bitch. She just scrunches up her face and loses her shit, and threatens to waterboard a teenage boy, or declares war on the country of Peru, or knocks files out of Mark Brendanawicz’s hands. I GUESS I’VE BEEN PRONOUNCING YOUR NAME WRONG ALL THESE YEARS, MARK BRENDANA-QUITS.
Basically I feel like Leslie Knope (and, honestly, a little bit Amy Poehler) is what would happen if a girl was allowed to get through puberty with her real self intact, instead of getting relentlessly socialized to be whatever an acceptable woman is supposed to be, and that is kind of great.