This Week I Love …

… Amy Poehler

For the record, I know virtually nothing about how amy Poehler dresses. She’s not really a style icon to me so much as an icon icon. I never really liked her SNL work, and it seemed like her early career was mainly spent portraying loud, sexualized meanies. But WOW, has she come a long way. Here are three huge reasons I adore Amy Poehler:

Smart Girls at the Party

Slogan: Change the world by being yourself. Smart Girls at the Party is a project that Amy launched with her real life best friends Meredith Walker and Amy Miles to showcase girls who are important and excellent just because they are doing things that they are interested in and that they believe in. The website is a bit messy and chaotic, but still provides a community that young girls and women can join to connect with others with similar (or different!) interests. My favorite aspect of Smart Girls is Amy’s interviews. She speaks with girls about the interests, hobbies, and expertise and does so with tremendous respect and sincerity. My favorite? Ruby the feminist, of course. The fact that Amy Poehler launched this project makes her a superstar in my book.

Parks and Recreation

I realized the other day that Parks and Recreation is my current favorite television show. In part because it makes me snort and shout with uncontrollable laughter, but also because I feel such kinship with Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope. She’s smart and driven and fantastically organized and full to the brim with quirks. And she’s completely unashamed of her quirks. She doesn’t apologize for them or deride herself for being a “neurotic woman,” she is extremely comfortable with her authentic self. She’s also confident, capable, brave, and a feminist as the Pawnee Rangers episode proved. She’s flawed like all characters and people are, but she’s one of the only women characters on television today that I feel kinship with.

New York Magazine photo shoot notes

When Poehler did a photo shoot for New York Magazine in 2011, she knew she’d be Photoshopped. So she preemptively offered a few notes on her images, including “make neck smarter,” “add two more fingers, “remove eyes for now,” and more. This tongue-in-cheek approach pokes some excellent fun at a common but harmful magazine practice, showing how utterly ridiculous some of the retouching can get if left unchecked.

I don’t read gossip rags, so for all I know she could be a serial goldfish torturer in her spare time. But her dedication to bolstering the self-confidence of young girls, her decision to create a television show featuring a strong woman who isn’t some sort of superhero, and her willingness to use humor to highlight the media machine’s shortcomings make Amy Poehler the kind of gal I’d love to take out for a milkshake.

Are you a fan? Do you watch Parks & Rec? Anyone have a daughter who participates in Smart Girls at the Party?

Image via Welcome to Ladyville.

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  • Dina

    I also ADORE Amy Poehler. I think she’s absolutely a comic genius. I also LOVED her in Mean Girls.

    One other thing and I don’t remember where I saw this, but I loved what she once said about the first season of Park & Rec. She basically joked that the first season of Parks & Rec was basically a slow time lapse of her loosing her pregnancy weight. I thought that was both funny and brave. Many actresses would have NEVER stepped foot in front of a camera (I’m betting) if they were slightly overweight whereas Poehler made a joke about it. As someone who has struggled with my weight I just thought that was incredibly brave AND as someone who doesn’t have kids yet it’s GREAT to have a role model as someone who looses baby weight within an appropriate time period (not like some stars who are back to skinner-than-before 3 weeks post baby).

  • Oh, I am SO happy to join in on this! Amy is one of my sheros, for sure!!

  • Margo

    Smart Girls is ignored by the crowd that reads Rookie.

  • Kate K
    • Stacy

      Amy became one of my girl crushes when she wore a big costume jewelry ring on the red carpet because one of her children asked her to. That speaks volumes to me: family before Hollywood insanity.

  • Valerie Bryan

    Sal, when I saw the first line of this link on Facebook, I knew I had to come over to post- you speak of her early work- are you familiar with her early work as part of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe? That’s when I first became acquainted with her. Irreverent, absurdist comedy before its time. I think you’d love some of their sketches, and I encourage you to look them up.

  • I think she was very much aware of her SNL skits – I think it makes her all the more encompassing as a female entertainer. Her early work with the Brigade, that Valerie spoke of, and meeting Tina Fey paved her way. Her and Tina both have a great sense of humor and the push the envelope on what a woman can make a joke about. I happened to like her loud work. I see that as a big part of where she is now.

  • I love Amy Poehler too!! That is all.

  • Julie

    On Upright Citizens Brigade, she delivered what might be the funniest line ever spoken on TV. I’ve been trying to find a video clip because just reading it won’t do it justice, but here it is:

    Oh, you’ll like this neighborhood. We don’t have any *[whispered] dirty astronauts* living here.

  • Oh my gosh–HUUUUGE P&R fan here! Love her stuff…had no idea she had other projects like Smart Girls at the Party! Thanks for posting!!!

  • Olivia

    I’m a huge fan of her and Parks & Rec. One thing I love about the show is how the relationship between Ann and Leslie is positive.

  • love her!

  • Love her deeply and unabashedly for the reasons you list, and because of the character she plays in Mean Girls. Parodic mimicry is one of the best weapons in a feminist’s artillery!

  • I LOVE Parks and Recreation. Recently it’s made me cry when I least expect it.

  • Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the P&R recommendation. As a Netflix-only family, we desperately needed an infusion of reliable belly-laugh comedy once we finished off Home Movies, American Dad and 30 Rock. I never would have thought to try P&R or that Amy Poehler’s work leaned progressive and feminist. It’s hilarious! Did I say thank you? đŸ™‚