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Women are getting more and more credible roles in film these days, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to look at the inspirational female characters who kicked ass (figuratively in most cases, granted, but game-changingly nonetheless) and paved the way to help girls see the power they have when they put their mind to it! Some of these gals don’t need no man, and others found love on their journey, but I’m seeing the ability to realise the potential inside themselves as goals when deciding which ladies are the ones to watch. Girl Power! *Please note, to fully appreciate the films that make these characters remarkable, this post may contain spoilers.

Legally Blonde. Arguably the Queen Bee and ultimate inspiration for us Her Campus girls, Elle Woods stays true to herself and lets the haters hate whilst she earns her way to the top. Along the way, she throws prejudices in the bin and accepts girls with different backgrounds and interests (Paulette from the salon and Vivian for example), in pursuit of the bigger goal.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Specifically, Judi Dench’s character Evelyn. While some of these films are historically significant, this one is a good example of staying head-strong when things get messy. Evelyn was not expecting her husband to die or to leave her in debt, or to end up in India. But she kills it. She explores the new culture, embraces its novelties and makes the best of it. Heck, who knows an old woman who gets a job in a new continent? That takes courage.

The Help. It can be hard to keep your morals intact when you want to climb the social ladder or be liked, but Skeeter refuses to comply with the injustices in society against the ladies in service, even risking relationships with her family to get women deprived of a voice heard. What’s more, she uses her ability to write to carve a career for herself, despite being told that her happiness will come in the shape of a husband. This film has its fair share of scheming women but by the end the real women, like Minny and Aibileen, are triumphant.

Mulan Mulan knows where it’s at. She won’t let pride and other people’s opinions stop her from doing what is right. This film is 88 minutes of “I’ll decide what I can and cannot do”, showing that women can make a change when they are given the chance.

Suffragette Scandalous, unapologetic, stick it to the man. Suffragette reminds us that unfortunately equality hasn’t been given to us on a plate, and that it is our responsibility to fight to make life fairer. It shows that having the odds against you is a reason to challenge injustice, not an excuse to stay quiet.

Steel Magnolias is a good one for female solidarity. It’s old but it’s a classic: if you’ve never heard of it, please watch it. Dolly Parton is a hairdresser and her salon is the setting for women in the neighbourhood to catch up over time. It’s realistic, empowering and comforting if you’re struggling with one of life’s tribulations. It’s like a sassy hug in cinematic form.


2nd year Modern Languages student
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