Ten movies that actually empower women



MOVIE MOTIVATION – March is Women’s History Month, but with quarantine restrictions, it’s best to celebrate from home. There are many movies about women that can not only inspire, but make one feel seen. “Movies that feature strong women are important because they can inspire and motivate other women to pursue their dreams,” Elissa Ramos, senior, said.

By Kelly Avila 

March is National Women’s History Month and there are many movies made about women that follow stereotypes that negatively portray women. In the media, it is important for women to break any Hollywood stereotypes that devalue and underestimate the power women hold. Here is a list of 10 movies that not only have strong girls and women as the main character but tell a story that can inspire young girls too.


Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures is a movie that focuses on three of many African-American women in the 1960’s who worked for NASA and faced racism and sexism. These women served as the brains in the space-race and helped launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit. 

To people who have dreams to work at NASA or in STEM professions, this movie might be for them. “I enjoyed this movie because it showed women working in high position jobs [at] NASA which is my dream job. This movie personally inspired me,” Nayelly Solis, a senior, said. 


Whip it (2009)

This movie is about a girl, Bliss Cavender, living in small-town Texas who wants to stop conforming to her mother’s ideas. She takes her chances when she runs into the Hurl Scouts, a Roller Derby team. This movie is about self-discovery and friendships.

Whip It is for those who are having trouble figuring out who they are and want to experience an adventure through a relatable character. “Roller derby is a very physically rough and challenging sport, and these women are so strong, tough, and rad! Also, the community of women in the league is a great example of women supporting other women. I love how the community of women is portrayed…I played roller derby for a few years, and it was a great experience of community and sisterhood,” Ms. Hanson, art teacher, said. 


Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019)

When a visit to the doctor gives Brittany Forgler a reality check on her unhealthy lifestyle, she becomes motivated to lose weight. Brittany soon takes up running to achieve her goal of competing in the New York City Marathon. 

When it comes to setting goals, there are going to be obstacles that make achieving them feel impossible. “Create small goals, and focus on yourself. Don’t quit until you make yourself proud. I just felt so proud of Brittany started by running one block- ran a marathon,” Ms. Navarro, a physiology teacher, said. 


Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Sophie is a young woman who works in her parents’ hat shop, who lives a plain and uneventful life. After being saved by a wizard named Howl, a spiteful witch cursed her to become old and amongst her shame, she seeks out help in Howl’s moving castle only to discover love and a newfound excitement for life. 

This movie focuses on themes related to love and the main character continuously proves that her love and compassion for others makes her a strong woman. 


The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Tiana is a hardworking woman who strives to own a restaurant. Things turn around for her when she meets Prince Naveen, who is a frog. He turns her into a frog, thinking she’s a princess. They then go on an adventure to find help to turn back into humans, with the promise of a restaurant for Tiana and oncoming riches for Naveen. 

“An important lesson in this movie is that you shouldn’t let anyone stop you from accomplishing your dreams. Independence is also a factor in becoming who you are and figuring out what you want to do in life. So I believe that we as women should focus on our purpose in life and how we can succeed without having to rely on anyone,” Elissa Ramos, a senior, said. 


Legally Blonde (2001)

Elle Woods, a heartbroken young woman who has everything, she feels like her world has come crashing down. She studies hard and gets into Harvard Law school, determined to get her lover back.

This movie explores sexism, self-discovery, and sexual assault. “Legally Blonde is woman-empowering because it is one of the very first movies that I watched growing up that stated that intelligence and femininity aren’t mutually exclusive. Especially in professional careers, it can be so easy for females to transform their ways so that they can blend into the majority and avoid any possible judgement. I know I experienced this when I would wear less makeup in my male-dominated engineering classes in college. But Elle Woods understood what made her unique and special, and even in a field as stringent as law, she used her qualities to her advantage,” Ms. Perfecto, a sophomore chemistry teacher, said. 


Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie Brown was a flight attendant who was caught smuggling money for her boss, Ordell Robbie, and was enlisted by two agents who wanted her help to bring down Robbie. With jail-time and death on the line, Brown decides to double-cross the detectives and her boss to make it out with smuggled money.

Jackie Brown is another personal choice of mine because, despite her life being on the line most of the time, Brown still manages to make a lot of difficult choices. She proves herself over and over again as a strong and independent woman who’s able to carry herself and doesn’t let any burdens hold her back from living her life freely. 


Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

The most powerful country in Europe in 1585 was  Catholic Spain. The king, at the time, declares war on Protestant England. Queen Elizabeth faces many problems during her reign but fights against all the odds to remain on the throne. 

I really enjoy the fact that Queen Elizabeth stands her ground and stays true to what she feels her destiny is. She breaks the rules and follows her heart despite harsh criticism from many. She also overcomes gender stereotypes and is known as one of England’s most successful rulers,” Ms. Flores, a senior English teacher, said. What makes this movie more enticing, is the fact that Elizabeth was real and she did fight to keep her spot on the throne. 


Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

In 1944 Spain, a troop of soldiers is sent to a forest to kill off rebels. Amongst the soldiers is a cruel and sadistic man named Captain Franco Vidal. When his new wife, Carmen, and daughter from her former marriage, Ofelia, move in with him and there, Ofelia discovers a magical world. 

This movie is on another level of beautiful and tragic with a world of fantasy paralleling the tragedy of war. “Pan’s Labyrinth is not a particularly happy movie but I think that the way the main character, Ofelia, navigates her world—Franco’s Spain—is empowering. Franco’s Spain was violent and supremely patriarchal. Ofelia lived in that world and then chose to die rather than survive on the terms of the world adults had built around her,” Ms. Arslan, a high-school psychology teacher, said.