Woman. It’s an inflammatory word nowadays. Everyone is talking about us. Our rights, our voice, our influence, it’s all being talked up, wrapped up and presented to us in all forms. In particular, in movies and TV shows. While they tell us that all women should be celebrated, there seems to be a certain kind of woman on screen that is praised more than others. Basically the woman that thinks and acts like a man. She’s tough and witty and outspoken and probably never sleeps. She is single and if she isn’t, she’s the leader of the relationship. Yet if we broaden our watching horizons past the movies and shows that all the outspoken feminists are raving about, there are so many women that are strong and inspiring in many different ways. Many we can relate to even better than the single successful businesswoman. Since I lean towards everything period drama, here are four movies that I believe display some wonderfully strong women for your watching pleasure:
Hidden Figures: Dearest Carl and I borrowed this from the library a few weeks ago and it’s kind of what inspired this post (along with all my social media telling me to watch “Girlboss” on Netflix). This movie was simply stunning. I loved how they presented not only the struggle between men and women in the working world but also white and African American, as was a big issue during the period. The three main women were always respectful, always hardworking, always thinking of others, always looking towards a better future. Plus, the ones who had romantic relationships had amazing ones! The men in their lives weren’t afraid of smart strong sassy women. Instead of being tyrannical or wimps, they were encouraging and loving and cheerleaders for what those girls were doing. Visa versa, the Girlboss heroine has a successful business but can’t hold down a relationship and has an extremely dirty mouth (yes, I watched an episode). The difference is astounding.
The Young Victoria: I have raved about Victoria before. Her story is one of my favorites on film. Just think about this for a second. As a very young girl, Victoria became queen of an entire country. She had her mother pushing for a regency, her advisers pushing on politics, her uncle pushing for marriage. All those pressures and stressors and she faced the world with grace and dignity. She chose a husband based on her feelings, not on power or opportunity, and learned how to involve him in her life even though he was only king consort. They had an amazing relationship full of love and support and you know that it took a ton of work to make that happen. People today have a hard enough time in their marriages without having a country to think about. I would definitely say Queen Victoria is one of the strongest people I know of.
Little Women: Here’s one that probably isn’t immediately obvious. Everyone loves Marmee and her little women, but I don’t think too many really think about what they’ve been through, especially Mrs. March. She’s lived in comfort and watched their financial stability fall away. Her husband has been sent to war. All the while, she has four girls at home to raise and provide for. And somehow, she lives with a smile even though she knows her husband is in danger every minute. She breathes contentment even though she can’t afford to replace her holey slippers. She exudes care and love, not only to her daughters, but also to needy families in the community. She gives her whole self to her family and her friends, even though she might rather wallow in self pity and misery over what she can’t have. Daily self sacrifice takes some real strength of character and Marmee has it all.
Sarah, Plain and Tall: You’ve probably heard of this book and you might have even read it, but did you know there was a movie? I love this movie. From the first time I watched it, I was inspired by Sarah. Sarah Wheaton is tough. She grows up helping her brother with his business and learns a do what has to be done attitude. Then she finds an opportunity for love (in the newspaper!) so she leaves everything she’s ever known to go to a strange place with strange people, a farm on the prairie. With her can do attitude, she jumps right in on all the work, from cooking and cleaning and cutting Caleb’s hair to helping birth cows and feeding chickens and putting out wildfires. She learns steadfast devotion to Jacob and to the land. She understands what hard work is and she isn’t afraid of it. She also knows what joy is and infuses it into a hurting family, teaching them to sing and laugh again. She’s the kind of strong woman I aspire to be.
I could go on! Jane Eyre and her upright principles, Marguerite Blakeney and her courageous wit, Amy Dorrit and her quiet steadfastness. I’m all about the women who prove that you can be feminine and romantic and soft and loving and still be strong. Maybe I should do a part two of this post?
Who are some of your favorite inspiring women in film?
Top image via Vintage Everyday