So I was browsing Netflix the other day (I know, this is how ALL great stories start), and I began to notice the “Because you watched” section. Now, sometimes this section makes absurd recommendations like “because you watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, you might like James and the Giant Peach! Or, because you watched Home Alone, you might like Paranormal Activity!”
I don’t know. Anyway, I noticed the “Because you watched movies with a strong female lead” heading and it got me thinking. It seems we’re beginning to see a shift in movies from the helpless Bellas in Twilight, to the fierce Katniss Everdeens and Beatrice Priors, and I think it’s an indicator of a culture shift. Why are we suddenly obsessed with these strong female types, who maintain their femininity while still getting the bad guys and saving their friends? I would argue it’s because that fierce femininity has been under attack for so long. And now we’re beginning to see it triumph.
If you know me at all, you’ve figured out I’m not a feminist. Yes I know you hate that, no I don’t approve of misogyny, yes I know what I’m saying, no I don’t think I’m setting the women’s movement back, and yes, I think women should vote. Cover all the bases? Cool. Here’s what I’m saying. I believe men and women were created equal but not equivalent. What does that mean? Men and women are fundamentally different. And pardon me but I don’t want to burn my bras and demand to open my own car door or pay for dates. I believe femininity is a treasure; something women have and men desire.
But what does that look like? Does that mean I think women should be wilting flowers and wait for a man to come save them? No. Although when I have to carry several loads of heavy groceries, I will from time to time remind my boyfriend I’m a small fragile bird and hard labor doesn’t suit me. Unrelated. Where were we? Yes, wilting flowers. Books like The Hunger Games and Divergent offer us strong female characters who don’t become manly to accomplish their tasks. On the contrary, they use their creative mind, gut intuition, and strong female strength to complete their missions in ways that only they could. And the men in their lives love them for it. Not because they’ve abandoned their girlish-tendencies, but because they exude a feminine strength and tenacity that’s so incredibly attractive. Little girls want to be them, older girls want to be like them, (or just be best friends with Jennifer Lawrence) and we see this shift back to appreciating feminine qualities instead of overcoming them. And that’s beautiful.
So thank you Netflix for facilitating my musings (and my obsessive re-watching of Mad Men). I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.