Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Top 5 (kid-friendly) 'Girl-Power' movies

So, I took my critter to watch the new Rio movie the other day - and we loved it. The characters were great, and I was particularly taken by the good messages of fierce independence, strength and determination in the female macaw, Jewel. I got to thinking about other great movies that primarily feature great female role models and have come up with my personal Top 10.

10 movies is a lot to talk about in one blog post, so I'm splitting them up. Neatly, 5 of the movies are more-or-less kid friendly, depending on the age of your kids. So here are my Top 5, kid-friendly movies, with positive female role models, and mostly good healthy messages for girls.

5. My Fair Lady - The wonderful Audrey Hepburn delights in this classic
tale of a feisty, independent, confident and strong-willed flower-girl, whose will to succeed challenges the British class-system and does more to change those around her than herself. I love this story, I love the movie, and I love Hepburn in it.

4. The Sound of Music - I know, I know... there are a lot of hardcore feminists who will disagree about this one. 'How do we solve a problem like Maria?" is, on the face of it, not a good start, but here's how I see it. I like that Maria is considered a problem in the first place...that means she's not conforming, not doing as she's told and not down with 'marrying God'. She's thinking for herself. I love 'I Have Confidence', and I love the way she 'disobeys' everything the Captain tries to tell her to do. Of course I cringe at the lyrics in 'Sixteen going on Seventeen', but then I think about the actress who did all that dancing and jumping on a sprained ankle, and I applaud her determination and professionalism. All in all, this movie leaves me with the warm and fuzzies.

3. Chicken Run - This is a great movie. Ginger is the female leader of a band of chickens who are trying to escape their POW-camp like chicken run. The title of this movie was translated in Russian to 'Escape from the Hen House'...which says it all. She's sick of sitting around, being forced to lay eggs and she imagines greater things for herself. Awesome animation, awesome story, awesome female role-model. Yay for Chicken Run.

2. Mona Lisa Smile - How can it not be good? Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal. An amazing cast tell an uplifting story of women in the world of academia. The young women are all different, they all want different things, and they all take different paths. Julia Robert's character chooses not to obey the restrictive rules of the school, she does things differently, and she wants to really make a difference in young women's lives. It's a winner in my books.

1. Mulan - Now I've done my fair share of Disney-bashing. In what is normally a Princess-filled, patriarchal world of passive Prince-waiting, Mulan is Disney's saving grace. The protagonist is a young, carefree, smart woman, coming of age and trying to define her true self against strong cultural stereotypes. She proves herself to be a warrior and proves she can fight, not only with her strength, but with her wit and ability to adapt and overcome. She's a force to be reckoned with, and for that reason alone, I love Mulan.

Check back for my other 5 top movies - next time for grown-ups.

Tell me what you think of the movies on this list? And tell me what movies you love and hate?


  1. Surprisingly, I've only seen 2 of the 5 movies on your list. I did enjoy Mona Lisa Smile and Julia Robert's character's strong will and desire to help young women realise their goals.
    The Sound of Music, like you, can see both sides. I do like how she takes the lead even under the hardened Capt and manages to show the family a better way of living.
    I will have to watch the rest and get back to you! Thanks for some good movie suggestions. I know I'm going to need them over the next few months.

  2. i've not seen Mona Lisa Smile but I'm not sure I agree with My Fair Lady. I think the unexamined issue of class in it makes me twitchy.