To TV aficionados, Amy Poehler is known as the hardworking, and sometimes hapless, Pawnee City Council member, Leslie Knope on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. I would consider myself one of Knope’s biggest supporters (I could even stand behind her disdain for the snobs in Eagleton). Although I am a fan of Leslie Knope, I am an even bigger fan of the woman who plays that character: Amy Poehler.
Poehler is a hilarious comedian that graced the Saturday Night Live cast for seven wonderful years. And now, she is basically the queen of prime time sitcoms, especially after her recent Golden Globe win for “Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical”.But there is something more to her than her comedic talent that makes her the superhuman she is.
Amy Poehler cares about you, girls. She REALLY does care.
Poehler (along with Meredith Walker and Amy Miles) created the website, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, that aims “to help young women and the young at heart with the process of cultivating their authentic selves.” The website is a collective gathering of different ways to empower females. The site includes various video series, which include personal interviews with women from a diverse range of careers (from triathletes to STAR Flight rescuers.) There are monthly campaigns posted to the site that are intended to urge girls to step outside of their comfort zone. There are even links to resources to inform the readers about women around the world who are making an impact through politics, art, and education.
My personal favorite feature of the site is her YouTube series, “Ask Amy”. The videos are essentially an advice show where she gives her personal and honest insight to questions that are submitted to her. Some of the subjects are more relevant to the younger audience she is targeting — questions like, how to deal with crushes, exams, and applying makeup.
But she also dives into deeper topics that can have a profound effect on not only young viewers, but older individuals (like myself) as well.
Amy discusses her earliest experience with empowerment when she was introduced to the film, Norma Rae. She reveals,
“I remember being very impressed with the idea that this woman would stand against a giant corporation.” Another example of empowerment was the film, Silkwood. She says, “That was another story about going against the man… the proverbial man as well as individual man.”
One girl asked about learning to gain courage in order for her to pursue her dreams of being a performer on stage. Amy encourages her to be brave and take risks…
“The only way you will find out if you are good at something is if you do it…Great people do things before they are ready… Doing what you are afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that, that is what life is.”
Another viewer asked about body issues that “prevent her from loving herself”. Amy honestly responds with an answer that made me fall more in love with her than I ever thought I could be:
“I feel what you are feeling and I think most women do…If you can go around with your body and kind of thank it for what it gives you and thank yourself for your great eyesight, thick hair, or your nice legs, or your strong teeth, or whatever it is that you have that you were given, and make friends with those parts of your body. And not try to focus on those parts of your body that will never change. Because we are all different. Every body is different… The earlier you learn that you should focus on what you have and not focus on what you don’t have, the happier you will be.”
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is a revolutionary idea. This website works as a platform to educate her audience about things that they might not be hearing from the female figures in their personal lives.
Amy is stepping in as everyone’s older sister, mentor, teacher, and best friend.
And if I did not convince you enough that Amy Poehler is a kickass woman, here is a video from her site that breaks down nine things to know about Title IX in 89 seconds…
I love you Amy, will you please be my BFF?