(Alternate title: 14 movies with strong female characters to watch on Valentine’s Day instead of Movies that Portray Women as One-Dimensional, Subject to the Sexual Dominance of Toxic Masculinity, and Lacking Physical/Emotional/Sexual Autonomy.)
Welcome to my third annual Valentine’s Day blog post.
To summarize what I have said in years past, February 14th is a commercialized “holiday” that celebrates the societal pressure of exchanging expensive objects and/or feelings and/or bodily fluids. Basically I think it’s dumb.
I’m not hating on celebrating love here, don’t get me wrong, but I think commercializing love and creating a culture where happiness is based on whether or not you have a significant other is downright ridiculous.
It creates an environment where love and sex are glamourized without being discussed in educational ways.
Valentine’s Day is a great time* to talk to the people you love (and/or random strangers!) about consent, healthy relationships and safe sex. Have discussions about feminism, marriage equality, intersectionality, and LGBTQ+ issues. These are vital when it comes to maintaining the healthy relationships the media keeps telling us we need.
Love and relationships are more diverse than the media lets on, and it is important to bring these discussions to the table with your partners, parents, children, friends (and almost literally everyone else).
With movies like Fifty Shades of Grey hitting theatres on Valentine’s Day, it’s especially important to talk about consent and the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. For this movie to be released on Valentine’s Day–the most “romantic” day of the year–it should not go unnoticed that this film (and its sequels) is causing debates about manipulation, abuse, consent, and BDSM.
These are good conversations to have.
Valentine’s Day is also a perfect day to support portrayals of women in media that are actually, you know, awesome.
So instead of spending $50 to see a movie where women are yet again diminished to nothing other than a submissive, vulnerable, materialistic, sexual being, why not watch a movie starring some strong women in the comfort of your own home?
People are perfectly capable of existing without a romantic relationship, in case you thought you were going to crumble into dust because you’re single. No worries. You are not going to crumble.
So as per internet tradition, I’m providing you with some alternate ideas on how to spend your V-Day, whether or not you’re spending it with your partner, your parents, your friends, or your cat.
This year I’m going to throw some movies at you starring badass ladies who don’t need no man.
Or even if they have a man, they are not entirely dependent on him for literal survival.
1. The Hunger Games
Katniss not only faces the physical and psychological challenges of the Games, but also society’s obsession with beauty and romance. She kicks ass (literally and metaphorically), fights perceptions of material beauty, and literally overthrows a government with the help of some very badass female and pro-female characters.
2. Mary Poppins
A business woman who takes no crap from no one, Mary is a sharp-witted realist who don’t need no man and just enjoys their friendship. (Suggested by Cassie.)
3. Little Women
Jo March, her sisters, and Marmee have been my heroes from childhood. Unconventional, independent, and unafraid to defy society, they are all talented, autonomous, and role models to those around them. Ripe with female relationships and highlighting female strength, just watch it. Please. (Suggested by Cassie.)
4. Elizabeth the Golden Age
She’s a warrior. She’s unmarried. She doesn’t need sex, romance, or a man in order to rule as the greatest monarch in British history and kick patriarchy’s ass in the process.
5. The Messenger
How often do we see a woman pull an arrow out of her own chest?
6. The Help
I don’t recall any moments where these women backed down because the patriarchy told them to. Not to mention teaching girls about self-esteem and the value of treating others as equals. (Suggested by Jordan.)
7. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
In which total of three (THREE) female characters are formidable business women who balance sky-high careers with relationships, family, marriage, and politics. (Admittedly they are all white, heterosexual, and cisgender women…but I mean, it’s a start and still deserves a pat on the back because this is still far too rare a sight in film.)
9. Frozen and/or Brave
Yes I went there. No you cannot see Frozen or Brave too many times. And Elsa, Anna, and Merida make up quite the matriarchy if I do say so myself.
10. Jane Austen movies
Because who doesn’t love sassy, fierce, independent women ahead of their time? (Emma suggested by Sarah.)
11. The Iron Lady.
Because female politicians. (This is on my personal to-see list.)
It’s based on Jane Austen’s Emma who is one of the most badass female characters in classic literature. Sooo. (Suggested by Cassie, Sarah, Jordan. I haven’t actually seen it, yet. If this many different people suggested it…the people have spoken. Also read this article).
13. The Color Purple
“It’s a movie with such strong female characters and how strong they freaking are. The support they give each other defines the way women should treat each other.” * *
14. Thelma and Louise
“So many feminist overtones. It re-scripts typical gender roles of society and it’s in general a great film about strong and capable women, and the struggles they face.” * *
*It’s always a good time to talk about these issues!
**Jordan kindly offered these brief descriptions since for some reason I have yet to see Thelma and Louise or The Color Purple and I feel like these are important to include.
I only posted 14 movies…well, because Valentine’s Day is the 14th. I know there are more movies out there, so leave them in the comments below or tweet them to me @LibbySometimes!
2014’s V-Day Post: 28 Things to do on Valentine’s Day (Illustrated with Harry Potter Gifs)