Amy Poehler is a successful and intelligent actress, mother, activist, and friend. “Amy Poehler was born on September 16, 1971 in Newton, Massachusetts and attended Boston College. After graduation, she moved to Chicago and joined the improv troupes, Second City and the Upright Citizens’ Brigade. Poehler’s big break came when she was hired as a featured performer on Saturday Night Live. Poehler starred as Leslie Knope in the sitcom Parks and Recreation from 2009 to 2015” (biography.com)
Further, “Amy is also a humanitarian, active in women’s issues and serves as Ambassador for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation. On screen and off, Amy believes in empowering women and girls everywhere. Her dedication to helping young women has gained her numerous accolades, including Glamour’s Woman of the Year. Through her digital series Smart Girls at the Party, Amy continues to acknowledge and support girls who are “changing the world by being themselves” (AmysSmartGirls).
I admire Amy Poehler because she is an example of a hard-working, honest, imperfect, hilarious woman who knows how to pave her own path in life. She is a strong role model for young women because she embodies what it means to be a successful woman and mother.
My admiration for Amy started with my obsession with Saturday Night Live. I have always thought Amy was hilarious and her comedic style always stood out to me. In my opinion, her humor is the perfect cross between sarcasm and dry humor with a hint of sensitivity. I recently ready Amy’s book Yes Please and it made me appreciate Amy even more than I already did. I appreciated the sheer honesty she portrayed through her book and the truthful advice that she openly gave.
In her book Yes Please, Amy describes how she conceives her own gender role as a professional, as a mother, as a sexual partner, and as a woman in general. She first speaks about the small demon that every woman has in their head. This demon will tell you that you aren’t pretty enough or you should look a certain way. Amy is honest about her advice in regards to this demon in saying that it will never go away. But with age and maturity, a strong woman is able to acknowledge their demon and then tell it to be quiet or simply leave them alone. She is honest how it is a constant struggle to be 100% happy with yourself but it is important to accept yourself and let go of worrying about your flaws and then everything will fall into place.
In regards to her gender role as a professional comedian, she conceives herself as always knowing she wanted to do comedy and improv and she never stopped working hard to achieve this desire.
She also perceives herself as a loving and strong mother, but she recognizes that she too needs help raising her children. One of the chapters in her book Yes Please is entitled, “Every Mother Needs a Wife,” and what she means by this is that every mother needs someone to help with their children and also to give care and compassion to the mother. This shows that she recognizes that she is a capable and caring mother, but she is also not afraid to admit that she needs help and she is honest about the hardships of motherhood; which I find very refreshing and honest.
I think it takes a strong woman, or person in general, to admit that they need help doing something that society expects them to do alone. Amy also conceives herself as a person who values sex in her romantic relationships and she does not hesitate to offer her advice to both men and women when it comes to sex.
In her book, she describes how hard it was in high school for girls in regard to sex, because they were supposed to be into sex, but never have it. They were supposed to be good in bed, but not too good because they were supposed to be virgins. They were supposed to not be a prude but also not be a slut at the same time. This is a big reason why I respect Amy, because she seems to have this way with people and with words where she can describe the hardships that women feel in way that both men and women can understand it, and I think this has a lot to do with her honesty.
She tells it like it is and doesn’t apologize for it. She doesn’t talk about these misconceptions of women from a victim standpoint, but rather she communicates them in a way that people can understand and hopefully change these misconceptions (Poehler).
All in all, Amy conceives her own gender role as an independent and hard-working mother and professional who has many flaws. She embodies the contradictory feelings that women feel in society today, and she embraces them. She knows she is a great mother, but she still admits she needs help taking care of her children. She is a successful actress and comedian but she gives credit to most of her success to her colleagues and friends. She is an independent woman but also appreciates a loving man in her life. She is able to be funny, sexy, and intelligent all at the same time.
My conception of my own gender role relates a great deal to Amy’s and it is influenced a lot by women like Amy Poehler. I conceive myself as an independent and self-serving woman but I also appreciate and love my boyfriend very much. I also see myself as a very strong woman but I am not scared to ask for help when I need it.
I also relate to Amy in that I feel a constant struggle accepting my looks and flaws, and also just trying to be a young woman in society in general. This is because today women are supposed to be sexy and appealing, but not slutty. We are supposed to be smart and independent, but not surpass our male colleagues. We are supposed to be beautiful and slim, but not too revealing of our bodies. These conflicting feelings cause anxiety within me every day, and women like Amy Poehler help me keep myself grounded and my mind at ease.
After learning about Amy’s gender role and her values it helps me understand that all I can do is be me and if someone doesn’t like me or think I’m pretty, then screw them. Amy teaches me that I don’t need to try to be someone I’m not just to fit into society’s expectations of women. She also teaches me that women can be just as successful as men because she worked hard to get to where she is today and she didn’t let anyone stand in her way, male or female.
So, why is she so admirable?
To re-emphasize why Amy is admirable, it is important to understand her involvement in the empowerment of women and young women in society today. Amy and her friend Meredith Walker founded and created “Amy’s Smart Girls,” which is an organization dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves. The website’s mission statement states, “We emphasize intelligence and imagination over ‘fitting in.’ We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves. We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend” (amyssmartgirls.com).
This shows Amy’s care and involvement in helping women become their authentic selves and lend a hand to those women who are consistently brought down by the discrimination about women in society. The motto of Amy’s Smart Girls is “Change the world by being yourself” (amyssmartgirls.com). This shows young women that they do not need to change who they are just to fit into what society tells them they should be, which is super inspiring and important for young women to understand. Amy goes above and beyond to provide women with the tools that they need to be successful and happy and make a change in the world today.
Amy’s book Yes Please, re-emphasizes why she is admirable because it provides tangible advice to young women. It shows that she cares about the success and confidence of young women in the US today, which is often and overlooked topic. Her book portrays the honest way that most women will feel in society today, self-conscious but also hopeful, and she provides women with the ways in which they can subside this self-conscious demon. She is honest that this critical self-consciousness will never completely go away, but there are ways to make it subside and deal with it throughout life and not let it control you.
Society is a harsh and critical of young women and women in general and Amy provides an alternative route for women to take, instead of subjecting themselves to society’s critical expectations of women. LA Times described the realness of Amy’s book, “It is a great story. . . because it is self-damning and hopeful at the same time” (latimes).
Overall, Amy is able to use her humor to make light of issues in society today, and she is also able to use her intelligence to inspire and lead young women in the right path. She genuinely cares about the success and happiness of women and offers them the tools they need to achieve this happiness. Amy is able to explain the conflicting feelings that women feel in society today due to expectations and stereotypes surrounding women; and I feel that she is able to explain these issues in a way for all people to understand, not just women. She inspires me and so many other young women every day to be the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be.
Poehler, A. (2015).