Amy Poehler: The Comedian, the Activist, and the World-Changer

By: Grace Smith
At age 45, Amy Poehler is almost a household name. A famous comedian who not only creates and produces her own movies and TV shows but also aided in the revival of Saturday Night Live (SNL) in the early 2000s. She has starred in movies such as Mean Girls, Baby Mama, Sisters, and most notably, Inside Out. She also starred and produced in the hit TV show Parks and Recreation, giving us a cult classic comedy show with well-represented round characters. Not only is she a famous comedic actress making strides for women in the industry with her honest humour, but Poehler is also a self proclaimed feminist and and activist for the empowerment of young women, as well as a contributor to diversified female representation in the media.
Amy Poehler, along with co-creator Meredith Walker, started “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls”. What began as a series of YouTube videos turned into an educational site and media platform that has expanded exponentially since their humble beginnings in 2007. Their slogan “change the world by being yourself” encapsulates their goal of empowering young women. They support and encourage women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and push for broader representation of women in media. Starting from the original interviews of Poehler and inspirational women, the videos have become to be many different columns and video series about women inspiring other women to do their best and “change the world by being yourself”.
Over the years Amy Poehler has represented many different female characters. One of her most famous being that of Leslie Knope, on the hit TV show Parks and Recreation. In this character, Poehler proves that through perseverance, optimism, and kindness it is possible for women to achieve their dreams, even in traditionally male dominated careers such as government. Her character is unafraid to be brash and demand what she wants, while still remaining loyal to her beliefs and friends. It is rare that we see such a strong female role in the media, and despite the comedic and satirical aspects her portrayal of Leslie Knope serves as important representation for similar hard working young women.
In her autobiography titled “Yes Please,” Poehler chronicles her life and the different aspects and challenges she’s faced that have led to her current fame and notoriety. She is unafraid to share her life and proves that she, like any woman, is simply human. Through the storytelling of her own life she serves as an example that representation is important. She is a living example of how women can break stereotypes and the expectations of the media to live their own unique lives.
Through her hard work and determination Amy Poehler has served as an excellent example for all young women. Her activism is a small yet important part of society’s changing attitude of women in the media, and spreads awareness of the importance of diverse characters and female representation.



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