With Women’s History Month upon us, it’s the perfect time to appear in an empowering film and watch a strong, independent woman on screen. The following movies and TV shows feature strong female roles that are sure to inspire viewers and provoke thought about the beautiful complexities of being a woman.
“Enola Holmes” is a Netflix original film set in 1884. Enola Holmes, a highly intelligent 16-year-old girl played by Millie Bobby Brown, breaks with the gender norms that her older brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin) has given her. imposed. .
After Enola’s secret mother mysteriously leaves the Holmes’ country estate on the morning of her 16th birthday, she sets off on a journey to London to find her, following cryptic clues left behind by her mother. As Enola pursues her mother, she is pursued by her two older brothers, one of whom is legendary detective Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). Enola faces danger, a sense of abandonment, and gender discrimination throughout her journey.
Along the way, Enola meets Viscount Tewkesbury, a runaway boy on the way to becoming a lord, played by Louis Partridge. After separating from him, she realizes that he is in danger at the hands of his own family and needs to be saved.
“Enola Holmes” is an uplifting film about choosing your own path and finding purpose. It perfectly balances themes of mystery, adventure, and love while portraying a young woman as a leader and fighter, rather than a damsel in distress. On top of that, it passes the Bechdel test – a measure of whether a work of fiction features at least two women talking to each other about something other than a man.
This 2021 Netflix original film, directed by Amy Poehler, is about 16-year-old Vivian, played by Hadley Robinson, who starts an anonymously published feminist zine that she places around her high school.
The zine, titled “MOXiE! deals with issues faced by girls at Vivian’s high school, such as bullying, sexual harassment, and rape. Vivian is inspired to write the zine after a group of jocks post a list of their sexist and offensive views on various girls at school.
The zine gains popularity and Vivian is able to organize protests in support of girls who have been ridiculed by boys and failed by the school system.
“Moxie” beautifully explores sensitive topics that many young women have dealt with, while allowing them to take a stand and tell their stories. It’s a stunning portrait of gender discrimination and the female experience.
Does it pass the Bechdel test? With brio.
“Girlboss” is a one-season Netflix comedy series that chronicles a fictionalized version of Sophie Amoruso’s real-life journey to open her own clothing boutique, Nasty Gal. The main character Sophia Marlowe, played by Britt Robertson, is an independent, nonconformist 23-year-old woman who gets fired from her job at a shoe store and struggles to make ends meet.
Sophia finds a vintage motorcycle jacket at a consignment store which she buys for $8 and resells on eBay for $600. This gives her the idea to start an eBay business where she buys and resells vintage clothes.
The show offers a change of pace by portraying its main character as corrupt and bitter, but somehow also completely respectable and sympathetic. It includes a romantic relationship in which the woman is the dominant partner and celebrates a woman’s business success, both elements relatively invisible in most TV shows and movies.
Does it pass the Bechdel test? Absoutely.
“10 Things I Hate About You”
In this 1999 film available on Disney+, Kat, played by Julia Stiles, and Bianca Stratford, played by Larisa Oleynik, live with their single, overprotective father. When 15-year-old Bianca meets a boy, her dad tells her she can’t date anyone until her 18-year-old sister Kat does.
Kat is an abrasive feminist rebel who won’t let anyone near her and has no interest in impressing the “immature” guys at her school.
When another boy, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), becomes Bianca’s French tutor to be closer to her, he and his best friend, Michael (David Krumholtz), pay “bad boy” Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger ) to ask Kat out on a date. Bianca is datable.
The ruse escalates when Patrick and Kat develop real feelings for each other, only for Kat to find out later that it all started as a setup.
The film rejects the societal ideal that women should always be soft and feminine, while showing that having a sensitive side does not translate into weakness. And, of course, the main character is an open and proud feminist.
Does it pass the Bechdel test? It does!
“A Blonde’s Revenge”
This list wouldn’t be complete without the seminal classic “Legally Blonde,” a 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon, which is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
This film follows Elle Woods, a college-aged woman portrayed as a stereotypical sorority girl, who goes beyond her fashion interests and enters law school to impress her law student ex-boyfriend.
She initially struggles with the law, but quickly adapts and embraces her newfound interest. At the end of the film, Elle realizes that her ex-boyfriend is the one who lost, not her, and she graduates from Harvard Law School as valedictorian.
The film embraces the beauty of a woman’s self-expression, intelligence, and empowerment by taking charge and persevering in an environment that does not welcome her. It demonstrates that a woman is not defined by her looks or what she likes, and presents traditionally female interests as strengths rather than weaknesses.
Does it pass the Bechdel test? Absoutely.