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. Hegemonic Masculinity
    Part of the remaking of hegemonic masculinity is located in metamodern ambivalences—in how one can feel (pathos) the “good” of one’s character (ethos) even though logically (logos) it doesn’t follow. Leslie Knope’s belief in Tom Haverford’s character as being authentically good despite actions belies this metamodern rhetorical issue.
  2. Just a “Good” Guy
    In acknowledging some “authentic” Tom, they are expressing the naturalistic character fallacy—though not connected to nature directly, it’s just Tom’s nature. Tom is a really “good guy.” He’s someone who may seem like a reprobate but is an “authentically” good person, a person who seems afraid to be good.
  3. More than a Trope
    “Dominant constructions of Indian masculinity in film consisted of store owners, sidekicks, buffoons or immigrants seeking (awkwardly) to win the affections of women” (Balaji 58). Though he fits this trope in some ways Tom is shown as a self-aware character regarding his behavior, its consequences, and he has capacity for change, unlike other characters (e.g., the Saperstein siblings as “Greedy Jew" and “Jewish Princess”).
  4. Tom's Doppelgänger
    Tom Haverford’s “pass” by a number of characters becomes more uncomfortable when his character is compared to Jeremy Jamm, the hyperbolic sexist villian who represents white patriarchy and is an archetype of toxic masculinity.
  5. Jamm is White Patriarchy
    Racial politics certainly plays a role in these rhetorical manifestations. Jamm, unlike Tom, has coercive, governmental power. He’s never shown to grow even when he is shown sympathetically to be lonely and living what viewers are to believe is a “sad” life. Leslie offers Jamm sympathy (“The Cones of Dunshire”) Just when it looks like he might be considerate he fails: “You know, in some weird, perverted, sexual way, I'm gonna miss you when you're gone.”
  6. Haverford Charm Ray
    Though racial politics of representation is important, Parks & Rec. illustrates a broad inequality in how sexism can be excused through affability, charm, race, and through two oscillating beliefs: that one can’t really be like that and that that’s just the way the Other is. Sexist behaviors are excused because “when push comes to shove,” he’ll “do the right thing.”

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