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. Metamodernity, Feminism, & Rhetoric
    Metamodernity is a structure of feeling embracing both modern and postmodern sensibilities, as Seth Abramson notes. Metamodernity is a lens for understanding how audiences embrace ambivalence and the issues that come with such embrace—like believing in feminism but not practicing it.
  2. Parks & Rec. is Metamodern
    The show balances postmodern cynicism with modern sincerity, oscillating between them, holding both positions at once. April and Andy’s relationship is allegorical of such a sensibility. April might be said to represent postmodernism with her cynicism and sarcasm, seemingly always aware of subtext and irony. Andy, meanwhile, seems more modern, perhaps even Victorian, in his sincerity—believing fully in the metanarrative of marriage.
  3. Metamodern Feminism
    Leslie is a metamodern character who embraces both second wave ideals (i.e., empowerment, female bonding, and independence) and ideals more aligned with third wave feminism (i.e., nurturing, hysterical irrationality and love object).
  4. Leslie Tries out Feminisms
    In “Tom’s Divorce,” three of the show’s characters visit a strip club. Leslie takes Tom—at his request—to the club to “cheer” him up. While at the strip club, Leslie, as Engstrom observes, adopts a more third wave perspective noting that for some feminists stripping is an empowering profession.Though Leslie settles on a more third-wave perspective, she oscillates in the rhetorical situation, game to understand different perspectives.
  5. Metamodern Optimisms
    Pawnee itself can be seen as a representation of patriarchal culture inhibiting women’s progress (Engstrom). Leslie Knope’s experiences with feminism and the consistent anti-feminist rhetoric from many others in the town, support this notion. But Leslie, as is characteristic of metamoderism, posesses an informed or meta naivete: "knowing your optimism is naive — but plowing on anyway" (Abramson) to make her city better.

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