Films of all kinds reflect women’s empowerment

Image by nikki.jane via Flickr

Michelle Marchante | Staff Writer


Looking at movies today, the most basic classification you can use to define films is probably the difference between a chick-flick and a guy movie. A guy movie normally refers to an action film with a character, normally played by some macho-man like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson going around kicking butt, using an assortment of theatrical weapons and jumping off buildings. A chick-flick is usually some sweet, romantic drama where the audience is waiting for the two main characters to finally get together.

Things aren’t so simple anymore. If I were to ask you whether “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” were action movies or chick-flicks, what would you respond? They’re action movies with a nice touch of romance to spice things up.

Men may assume these movies are chick-flicks because the protagonists just so happen to be women. I wouldn’t call them sexist, but they are used to the idea society has constructed that an action movie requires a male protagonist and a chick-flick requires a female protagonist.

However, strong women have played leads in film for a long time. Just look at the 1979 movie “Alien” starring Sigourney Weaver, or Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Lara Croft in the 2001 movie “Tomb Raider.” However, Hollywood simply has never seen so many female-led box-office hits go to the theaters in succession.

If this is the case, some may wonder why a movie like “Cinderella” would be released during this time of female empowerment. Honestly, why not? Cinderella is tough in her own way, by being able to survive living with her wicked step-family and never letting them break her spirit.

The new Cinderella mantra, “have courage and be kind,” is a great one to live by. I know many viewers would have all preferred it if Cinderella socked the daylights out of her evil step-mother at the end of the movie, but staying true to what she believed in – by forgiving her – was empowering in itself. A strong, female lead doesn’t always have to get down and dirty to be respected.

Things are changing. If you check out the music scene, there is a pretty strong group of female artists dominating the charts, including Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. On the professional front, there are many powerhouses like Barbara Walters, Oprah and J. K. Rowling who are each successful in their own right. The most obvious sign that the seesaw is beginning to balance between genders, though, is in the movie industry, as there has been an incredible rise in the number of action movies with female heroes, like Katniss.

University professor Sherry Gache she explained how this trend is a cultural reflection of today.

“It goes along with the idea of women coming up in every aspect of society, in every institution,” Gache said. “From academia, to politics, to business, with more women in the boardroom, more women in Congress, more women in any kind of power position.”

Female empowerment is when life throws a woman for a loop and she sees herself through to the end, holding onto her beliefs and never letting her spirit die. That’s the story of Cinderella.


About the Author

Michelle Marchante
Michelle Marchante is the 2018-2019 Editor-in-Chief of PantherNOW. Majoring in broadcast journalism, she lives and breathes web, print, radio and TV news 24/7. You can connect with her on Twitter @TweetMichelleM

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