Parks and Recreation is an extremely popular television show that was watched by millions. The show had seven seasons. The show is based around the Parks department of fictional Pawnee Indiana. Parks and Recreation reinforces many traditional truths and beliefs for men, while defying many gender stereotypes against women. Ron Swanson, one of the most popular characters on the show is an extremely manly man. His character reinforces stereotypes about being a real man. Leslie on the other hand is an empowered woman, who represents many women today.
Ron Swanson is portrayed as the hyper masculine boss who loves to woodworking, hunting, fishing and silence. While his personality is exaggerated, he represents how men are traditionally supposed to follow certain gender roles of independence and toughness. He is a very wise man who is uses few words. Ron is very critical of all men who he does not see as equals, going so far as to say “Every single contractor in the world, is a miserable incompetent thief.” He says this because he thinks that all people who cannot build things themselves are not real men. His tendency to look down on all lesser men are an example of Ron reinforcing gender stereotypes about men having to be the alpha in a group.
Leslie who is portrayed as an A-type personality. She is an incredibly hard worker who is always doing something. She breaks many stereotypes. First the stereotype that women are not hard workers. She is a really hard worker who has often scheduled 2 meetings at one time and somehow does them both simultaneously. She also breaks the stereotype that women shouldn’t be a leader in a group. She single handedly runs a park department, while being able to do a million other things at the same time. Lastly she breaks the stereotypes that women should not work after having children. Leslie has triplets and manages to run the Midwest national parks service at the same time. While in most television shows, Leslie would be at home watching the children, in Parks and Recreation, she is managing both.
Parks and Recreation reinforces many gender stereotypes of men and how they should act. Like Ron Swanson being the ultimate independent man. The shows also defies gender stereotypes of how women should act. Seen through Leslie, by her leadership and hard work. These gender stereotypes are not exclusively seen in Parks and Recreation. Many other shows, movies, and songs portray the same stereotypes. Only through pointing out these stereotypes will we ever break through them.