Ladies (and gents — feminism isn't just for badass women anymore), I’ve been there before. We’ve all been there before. It’s midterm season. You’re stressed. You’re feeling a bit low. You need an empowerment boost.
You are a queen.
You need these movies to make you feel like one again.
(Queen. Queen. Queen.)
I know all of these movies have their flaws and are definitely not as intersectional as one would like, but as someone who loves watching badass women be their badass selves, I’ve finally narrowed down the list of incredible feminist movies down to an iconic five. Name five more iconic movies, I’ll wait. (Seriously though, name them in the comments, I love me badass women movies so the list should be never ending.)
1. Legally Blonde
This movie is so third-wave feminist that I’m not 100 per cent sure why Rebecca Walker didn’t cameo in it. Sure, the movie isn’t perfect (see how white the cast is and that whole scene with the gay poolboy) and Elle might be the pinnacle of a ton of privileges, but damn does she slay.
Women helping women. Women of all walks of life working together towards something good. Women realizing they don’t need a man to succeed. Women using the ingrained sexism in certain circles of academia to power their way to the top. Women proving time and time again that women aren’t either gorgeous or smart, but both! Women dumping their loser boyfriends because they were never serious about being in a partnership — Vivian is also queen in this, just saying.
Break out your pink laptops and scented resumes because this movie gives you not only a drive to study and kick ass in school, but also slay in every other part of your life.
1.5. Legally Blonde the Musical
Is it cheating to put Legally Blonde twice? Maybe, but it just feels so right.
This musical (available on YouTube) follows the original pretty closely but amps up everything in the way only musicals can. Didn’t like Warner in the movie? Wait until you see him propose to Vivian in front of Elle. Thought Vivian was nice enough in the original? Watch her go full sisterhood in the musical.
It’s everything the movie was and more, with a ton of good songs and lines like “Maybe Warner saw a blonde who was sleeping her way to the top, but I see a woman who doesn’t have to.”
Elle rocks it again. So you’ll rock your LSAT just like her.
2. Mean Girls
Putting aside the knowledge that Tina Fey wrote the bloody thing, this movie is truly iconic. I say “That’s just like the rules of feminism” at least every other day. I’m pretty sure doing so is in the feminist laws.
Not only is this movie set in school (making you at least feel like you’re almost studying), Mean Girls dishes empowering messages along the way. The movie makes sure you know that obsessing over your flaws is unhealthy and that no one, not even Regina George — the Queen Bee herself — thinks that they’re perfect. Cady dumbing herself down for a boy is completely nuts and it turns around on her so fast. Women in math and science slay and Cady shows it at the end when she wins the math competition.
Being nice to all women, knowing how to be a true friend, how everyone gets put down sometimes, the importance of reclaiming women’s sexuality — this movie is so full of women-positive messages that I’m not surprised the majority of women I know can quote half the movie by heart.
Girl world rules — just like the women inside it.
3. Hidden Figures
Holy shit this movie. The real life story of early badass women of colour in STEM? This is the movie I didn’t know I needed. Strong woman after strong woman walk onto the screen and into my heart.
This whole movie is just incredible and definitely worth taking a study break for. Or take a life break for. Man, come to The Ubyssey’ office and let’s watch it together. My heart, be still.
Queens come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t let the white-washed version of society that Hollywood pretends we’re living in stop yourself from pulling the strong feminist vibes from these movies and apply them to all things in life — including that midterm.
4. A League of Their Own
This movie introduced me to Geena Davis and for that, I’ll be forever grateful. It also introduced great motifs like women helping each other unconditionally, women paving their way in the world, showing that there is no one correct type of woman, and the beautiful Tom Hank’s incredible line “There's no crying in baseline!”
Can we just talk about Dottie and Jimmy’s super supportive and super platonic relationship? Do you know how hard it is to find a good, women-led movie without some kind of romantic subplot? And Jimmy respects the hell out of Dottie’s relationship with her husband.
Seriously, this gem is a feminist movie dream. I’m honestly a little upset I’m not watching it right now.
Plus it’s nice to see that at least one of these (overwhelming white) movies points out that white feminism is different from intersectional feminism and that white feminism doesn’t always benefit all women.
5. The Devil Wears Prada
Over the almost immeasurable times I’ve watched this movie, I’ve found that there are six things they want us to learn.
1. Always, always, always cinch at the waist.
2. Meryl Streep is an immortal goddess who is blessing us with her presence.
3. Any woman can be an absolute powerhouse if she has the drive.
4. Getting dumped by your dumb boyfriend because he claims you’ve “changed” because you’re moving up in the world and he feels threatened by your new found confidence and influence is probably to the best to happen to you — you’ll probably go to Paris and get free stuff.
5. Don’t shame the woman who follows trends and fashion because they can be as feminist and empowered as any other woman.
6. Make your own path, even if it leads you to the world’s largest fashion magazine straight out of university. Also how do I get that job, I write for my school’s paper — Vogue if you're reading this, please hire me.
Plus it helps that literally everyone in that movie is gorgeous. Just saying.