I’m surely not the only fan of Amy Poehler and Parks and Recreation around here, am I? (Oh, Amy Poehler, have you been reading my mail? Leslie Knope is more like me than I care to admit.)

As I’ve written elsewhere, menstruation is seldom mentioned or represented on television outside of femcare advertising. The one notable exception has been when a girl’s menarche is played for laughs in the family sitcom. Now there’s another exception, in last week’s episode of Parks and Recreation.

In this episode, Leslie brought together all the surviving Directors of the Pawnee Indiana Department of Parks and Recreation, hoping for some inspiration for the catalog copy she needed to write. Instead she found a lot of bullying, misogyny, and other bad behavior.

In clip at right, the oldest of the former directors advises Leslie to stay away from leadership roles because the intellectual demands will interfere with her reproductive abilities. Leslie politely dismisses this by explaining that times have changed, and she aspires to greatness. But more importantly, she turns off the tape recorder, letting viewers know that this retrograde attitude is so unacceptable that she won’t be recording it for posterity. Having such views expressed by the oldest character also makes them easy to dismiss.

I wonder, though, if she undermines the message later in the episode, when Clarence attributes Leslie’s anger at the men to ‘the visit of her little friend’. Watch Leslie’s response in this second clip, and tell me what you think.

You can watch the entire episode at

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