Though women have always been an important part of films, they are often misrepresented as daft, materialistic or catty. However, there still are films that paint a more realistic picture of women. Some such movies have gained recognition for their contribution to feminism. Others, however, have advanced the cause in a subtle-yet-powerful way.
This Women’s Day, enjoy five films that got the message across without shoving it down the viewers’ throats:
1. Thelma & Louise
At first glance, Thelma & Louise seems like your average chick-flick. Two best friends on a road trip seems like the perfect premise for a fun comedy. However, a few minutes into the film, it’s obvious that Thelma & Louise isn’t your run-of-the-mill chick-flick. The film, which follows the two friends’ adventures, tackled topics like rape, domestic abuse and murder. It also showed that women didn’t have to passively tolerate everything, a cliché that was prevalent in movies back then. Moreover, Thelma and Louise’s bond also shattered the stereotype that all female friendships are catty.
No one expected a movie about a woman who chose to change for a man to be feminist. However, Legally Blonde proved everyone wrong. In just 96 minutes, the flick managed to shatter various stereotypes. At first glance, Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon, seemed like a typical "bimbo". However, Elle goes on to go to law school, and outdoes most of her male counterparts. All while looking fabulous! The way the plot pans out is also refreshing and certainly makes Legally Blonde a surprisingly feminist movie.
Heathers, which was released in 1988, was way ahead of its time. The film casually (and efficiently) tackled subjects like murder, jealousy and peer pressure. Moreover, it also paved the way for three-dimensional female characters. Before Heathers, every high school movie about or targeted towards teenage girls contained characters that were hollow caricatures of real girls. However, Heathers showed that a movie could contain well-rounded female characters and still be successful.
4. Kill Bill
With a protagonist as unconventional as Beatrix Kiddo, Kill Bill was never supposed to be an ordinary film. However, the 2003 release of Volume 1 surprised everyone. Until then, the part of strong female characters was usually reserved for antagonists. Kill Bill, on the other hand, contained strong female antagonists as well as a strong female protagonist. In fact, many critics have gone so far as to call Tarantino‘s masterpieces game-changing.
Though Catwoman was far from a cinematic masterpiece, it did contain a few gems. The antagonist in the 2004 film was the owner of a company trying to push a product that defies ageing, which sold by telling women they weren’t good enough. However, Halle Berry‘s Catwoman took it upon herself to bring down the company. In fact, the actress has even called her character a feminist icon. "As women, we suffer because we’re expected to be a certain way in society," said Halle Berry. "Catwoman represents the total opposite; that we are okay and complete and full all by ourselves. We can do what we want to do, when we want to do it, how we want to do it."