Believing in Feminism, Lovable Sexism

Rhetorical Inaction and Fallacies of Authenticity

This image will return you instructions on reading the text, rhetorical equity, and the abstract.
  1. More than Belief
    There are examples of men acting as feminists. Chris Traeger, for instance, trys to enact gender equality in government (“Women in Garbage”). Ben Wyatt (“Pie-Mary”) helps Leslie negotiate “the impossible tightrope women in high-visibility positions are asked to walk” (Ward) when two hyperbolic interest groups (a men’s rights group and Indiana’s Organization of Women) criticize Leslie for being at once too feminine and not feminine enough.
  2. Authenticity as Rhetorical Move
    Authenticity rhetoric—the idea that there is an authentic masculinity or femininity is explicitly critiqued in “Pie-Mary”; however this critique doesn't carry over to Leslie's authentic belief in Tom. Sexist behavior continues to “trump” all things feminine because the “feminine” and, for our purposes, Tom's “feminist” self is hidden in Leslie's authentic belief.
  3. IRL Feminism is Action
    Believing in Tom Haverford’s good heart can be considered an important action itself; however, it is a type of action that is “low-hanging”. “Lip service” to feminism is a relatively easy and safe action to take. It's not as difficult as ones that practice feminism, pushing towards change like the brave women sharing their experiences in #MeToo and #TimesUp.
  4. Rebooting Masculinity
    Many of the stars of Parks & Rec. support a reboot or reunion (McDonald). As fans of the show, we hope this happens, but we hope the show can negotiate humor and different metamodern masculinity, one that parallels Leslie's metamodern feminism. Perhaps, this is the type of masculinity one can “believe” in and advocate for.