The Pawnee Goddesses: No Boys Allowed?

October 27, 2011 | Danelle

Do any NeW ladies watch the show “Parks and Recreation?”

If you saw the most recent episode called “Pawnee Rangers,” you probably noticed the not-so-subtle message about the feminist movement and what it has become.
For those who did not see it, here’s an overview:

Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson work in the Parks Department together in a small town called Pawnee, Indiana. When it comes to personality, Ron is very pro-man and Leslie is very pro-female.

Much like Boy Scouts, Pawnee has a group called “Pawnee Rangers,” led by Ron, who takes his role as troop leader seriously.  He teaches the boys survival tactics like building a fire and gives them only a blanket for sleeping. Leslie, on the other hand, leads a group called the “Pawnee Goddesses,” which she founded when a young girl was not allowed to join the Pawnee Rangers because she was female. Unlike Pawnee Rangers, Pawnee Goddesses do crafts, stay in the comfortable lodges, and perfect people skills. To Leslie, the Goddesses became a way to prove that her group – made only of girls – was better than Ron’s group – made only of boys.

The time to prove that came on a camping trip they both led at the same time and place. Sitting outside in the cold eating only a can of beans, the boys looked at the Goddesses’ lodge where they played with puppies and baked cookies. That night, one Ranger snuck over to the lodge and asked to be a Pawnee Goddess.

Leslie said absolutely not, but the other Pawnee Goddesses – a very sharp group of girls – opened a dialogue about whether the purpose of their group is to defend equality or just separate the sexes and prove one was better.

Attention everyone, welcome to Wonder Weekend’s first ever public forum. Our topic today: should the amazing Goddesses take pity on the once powerful Pawnee Rangers and let them into our clearly superior organization.

Eventually, the girls allow the boys to become Goddesses (watch the funny clip here), showing that although Leslie was right to open an equal opportunity club of scouts for girls – similar to the reason why NOW and NeW were founded – she went too far and made her club about being the superior gender. Much like the feminist movement today, Leslie was so focused on crushing the Rangers’ patriarchy, she forgot the reason why she formed the Goddesses in the first place – to promote equality among the sexes.

NeW promotes this equality, not superiority. We hold events like the “Gentleman’s Showcase,” which exhibit the good works men do, and we have our meetings open to men interested in our topics. Of course, we also promote “girl power,” enlightenment through reading, and networking with strong female leaders to gain opportunities, but we are never restrictive.

It is my hope that some feminists watched the show and got the message. Neither men nor women are better than the other. It is the person who counts and both genders, though different in some ways, can achieve just as much as the other.

Watch the episode here on Hulu.

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