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. Irresponsible Naievete
    Parks & Rec., as a heuristic, as a persuasive manifestation of metamodern feminism, becomes complicated with Tom Haverford and Leslie Knope's relationship. The informed naivete a metamodern structure of feeling fosters can also be said to foster an irresponsible naivete, one detrimental to feminism.
  2. Metamodern Masculinity
    As a metrosexual, Tom stands in marked contrast to “manly” men and, thus, serves as a comic foil on the show. To be “funny,” the show counts on a value-system based on an authentic non-metrosexual masculinity. Tom’s character may be “post-gender” and metamodern in his dandiness, but not in his behavior women, which is also used for comic effect.
  3. “Real” Tom
    Tom’s contradictions aren’t really much of a problem for viewers, the irony of his behaviors is counterbalanced by Leslie’s “knowledge” of his authenticity in a double oscillation—between masculinities and the “real” Tom, who isn’t really a “jerk.” Tom’s “real” self, in fact, assists him in being a humorous character, in one audience’s cheer for rather than revile.
  4. Conflicted Knope
    “Plowing ahead” and being equitable are part of the optimistic process of trying to create equal spaces in the face of patriarchy. Feminism, at the same time, can be irresponsible when it is words without action, belief without process. Leslie Knope oscillates between the irresponsible and informed naievtes. She’s informed in her process to overthrow the patriarchy, but irresponsible in accepting Tom’s sexism as not the “real” Tom: the “real” Tom, for Leslie, is feminist.