Nick Offerman Tackles Hollywood Ageism and Clears Up Assumptions About Ron Swanson
Spoiler Alert: He's a feminist.
With an undying love for bacon and guns, Ron Swanson has become something of a folk hero for NRA enthusiasts but the rough, uncaring outdoorsman persona only represents a fraction of the character. As Nick Offerman, who plays him in Parks and Recreation, told the A.V. Club, Swanson has been oversimplified to the point that many miss some key components to his personality.
“People definitely—and this is true of a lot of popular culture—but people like to put it in their social crucible and boil it down to then be used to make their own points,” he said. “And so Ron Swanson, because of his simple rules for living, became a lot of peoples’ icon for their own aspirations of simple living. And so anybody from meat eaters to scotch drinkers to gun wielders to libertarians all hold Ron up as their champion, but he was much more complex than that. He was a very outspoken feminist. He was a man of few words and people mistook that for a man of few colors.”
The thing about Swanson is that while he may been portrayed as an ultra-masculine character, he was never a symbol of toxic masculinity, which pits men as violent, sexually aggressive and unfeeling. Swanson’s pleasure in the simple things such as breakfast food or wood crafting, and a deep admiration and respect for his superior, Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler), prove otherwise. That can be attributed to the show’s brilliant writers who paint him as a “great supporter and celebrator of women.”
“Traditionally, that character is more like Al Bundy or Archie Bunker, where they’re much more apt to be misogynists or, at best, dismissive of women,” added Offerman. Instead, Ron was written as a fair person who cared more about sincerity and hard work than race or gender. Swanson’s feminist views can be extended to Offerman himself, who is pretty open about his marriage to Will & Grace alum Megan Mullally.
“I’m 46, Megan’s 57, and we have a happy marriage. We get it on with each other and we feel very celebratory about that…We don’t go make out in front of people at the mall but we will happily sing songs about it and trumpet the fact that we simply are happy in middle age as a loving couple, because I do think there’s a real ageism in our business where if you’re over 35 you’re not supposed to ever kiss anybody with tongue.”
The happily married couple is currently traveling the county for their Summer Of 69: No Apostrophe tour, an old-school Hollywood revue with songs and explicit details into their active sex life.
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