strong women in movies

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“I am Moana of Motunui. Aboard my boat, I will sail across the sea and restore the heart of Te Fiti.” -Moana (2016)

“I am Diana of Themyscira, daughter of Hippolyta. Your wrath upon this world is over.” -Wonder Woman (2017)

Female leads are so important.

I just want to take a moment and appreciate these two women in their movies. They are strong, courageous, defiant, and independent. When I first saw Moana, I cried about seven times. It was so refreshing to see a character that didn’t need to rely on anyone else to save the day besides themselves. And recently, when I watched Wonder Woman, I got emotional all over again because I noticed similar parallels between Diana and Moana. 

They both are introduced in their youth. Moana wants to be out on the ocean, and Diana wants to train to be an Amazon warrior. But they have their parents that set them on different paths. Moana’s parents want her to be the chief, and Hippolyta doesn’t want Diana to train so that she can be protected. Upon reaching older age, both Moana and Diana set out on journey’s that they know they must embark on. Diana leaves Themyscira with Steve to defeat Ares and end the raging world war. Moana leaves Motunui to find Maui and restore the heart of Te Fiti to save her people and her island. Both women are so determined to complete what they set out to do, and when it comes a time for them to do it on their own, they completely kick ass. Even when they are set back by obstacles, they keep pushing on. They both defeat a god, (respectively to each cultures mythology). And in the end, they both understand that love is what can save the world. Diana learned that in her endeavors, and it was love that Moana showed that restored Te Ka into Te Fiti.

There is so much to love about these two, and I could go on about how many parallels there are. I really adore and appreciate these strong female icons. Both movies are definitely my top favorites of all time.

To all the females who watched Wonder Woman,

If you came home feeling empowered
Or saw her bold bravery and felt like a coward
Know that courage is not only meant for battlefields
Not all wars are fought with swords and shields
Warriors are not made of just skin and bones
They are made of belief; as strong as metal and stones
We’re women waging wars to show our worth
To oppressors with whom we share the same earth
It doesn’t take years of training to stand up for our rights
We’re as capable as she is, to win this fight
She represents the power and grace within us all
To show that even amongst men, we can stand strong and tall

i saw wonder woman and i cried several times, mostly when i saw diana storming into battle. and then it was over and i went to the bathroom and i burst into tears because i am twenty one years old and that is the first time i’ve seen a superhero movie with a female lead. the first time ive sat in a cinema and watched a superhero movie with strong, capable, fierce women, directed by a woman, not an object thrown about by men, not a subject of the male gaze. 

i cried because i felt so weird when i realised i’d never seen that before, and so proud that all women can go and watch it and be like!!!!!!!!! thats a woman hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!! who fights evil and pursues justice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! who has her own demons and overcomes her internal conflicts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a lady hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welp. We went to see Wonder Woman. I cried during the sad parts and some of the other parts. They were the same kind of tears I had on and off through Ghostbusters. Movies with strong women who are fully realized people who are allowed to be sexual but are not sexualized and can also kick ass just make me cry randomly. Though TBH I also cry in LotR when anyone picks up their sword and runs into battle screaming the name of their home. I didn’t even realize how ravenous I was for a female version of that.

NOT a Disney Girl: strong female characters who are not Disney’s

Here are just a few strong, badass, and generally awesome female animated characters who are NOT from the House of Mouse:

Anastasia/Anya from Anastasia

She’s street-wise, sassy, and smart, as well as beautiful in both hand-me-downs and dresses. She broke the idea that “princesses can’t be tough” before Merida even got a shot. What more could you ask for?

Kayley from Quest for Camelot

She rides a horse, uses a sword, and goes on a quest to save Camelot. She becomes the first lady-knight, and she was sporting the tunic/leggings combo before it was a thing.

Tzipporah from The Prince of Egypt

This movie is full of strong women, but Tzipporah was always my favorite. She’s sexy, strong, clever, and doesn’t put up with anybody’s sh*t. Don’t believe me? Go watch it again.

Chel from The Road to El Dorado.

She uses all her assets to get what she wants. Shady, sexy, and smart–she can hold her own in a scam. Far from the goody-good-doing princesses of Disney.

Akima from Titan A.E.

Steampunk, kick-ass, beautiful pilot who stole my heart when the “Steampunk” genre was still in its infancy. Also, she’s Asian and she has purple hair. I wanted that hair, guys… I wanted it so bad.

I’m glad Disney is choosing to portray more empowered female characters–but they’re not pioneering this movement. Notice that these movies are mostly from the 90′s and 00′s.

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THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, 1998, dir. Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner

This is a film which 100% deserves to be called powerful, and that is in no small thanks to the wonderfully written/acted women within it. The animation and music work together to create such stunning characters.

I get chills just thinking of Yocheved’s brief appearance at the beginning of the movie, as she sends away her youngest son so he may be saved. I am touched remembering the Egyptian Queen’s relationship with Moses (”when the Gods send you a blessing, you don’t ask why it was sent”). I am inspired by Miriam’s untraditional strength - she is not the Strong Female Character Of The ‘90s; her strength is her faith in her brother, her faith in God, her faith in people. She is determined and unafraid to speak what is on her mind. Tzipporah does slide a little bit into the Strong Female Character archetype (sassy, hip-swaying, Ahead Of Her Time), but the movie allows her to mellow out when she no longer feels threatened. And that in itself is something - she is allowed to portray that she feels threatened and the movie does not make it out to be an overreaction on her part. She has to be strong to survive, but when she’s somewhere she feels safe, she is calm and happy and still strong.

Go. See. Wonder. Woman.

Originally posted by dceus

So obviously I love Marvel with all my heart, but I got to see Wonder Woman and it was utterly phenomenal.  Literally, take everyone you know – men, women, children – but especially any little girls in your life because it was absolutely incredible.

Originally posted by kataera

There is absolutely nothing like watching hundreds of women of all shapes, sizes and color riding into battle on horseback, in armor, kicking ass.  Nothing.

Originally posted by robinwrightwebsite

I couldn’t stop crying because it was honestly just so beautiful, seeing so many powerful, strong women in one movie.

Originally posted by comicbookdaily

I could talk about this movie for forever, but I won’t because I have a massive essay that I’ve put off writing.  

Originally posted by dceumovies

But seriously.  

Originally posted by dcfilms

Please go see this movie.

Wouldn’t it be great if Civil War involved absolutely no romantic subplot whatsoever?

You know what the best thing about Diana is? She isn’t like a super tough, gruff woman. Not saying there’s anything wrong with being like that but strong women are generally portrayed like that in movies. It is the Strong™ stereotype. But Diana is a woman who squealed and rushed towards a baby, who got super excited over ice cream and was blown away by snow. She is a badass warrior but she’s still unapologetically feminine and I love her for it. 

can’t believe that in three days I get to see a jewish female superhero, one that I can personally relate to and see myself as and be inspired by, on the silver screen. I can’t believe that my female jewish self finally has a hero to relate to. I can’t believe that little girls all around the world will finally have a place among superhero movies. I’m literally crying over the fact that little jewish girls like me can go watch wonder woman, can see Gal Gadot, and can be just like them. that these girls dont have to be told that superhero movies are just for boys. thank god for wonder woman.

I just watched AWE today again, and years ago I never really appreciated many nuances of this movie which had escaped me. Long ago I had been too overcome by my grief over the obviously vicious rending of the AWE script. Back then, all I noticed was the paring down of the Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann love story that was building to a crescendo from potc2. Now, in AWE the movie was doing some serious back peddling; an extreme editing job was performed to make room for the Will and Elizabeth ‘happy ending’ to make sense. I say that with a good deal of resentment and sarcasm too, but that is not what I wanted to point out this time.

However, I saw AWE just now and I have got to say how brilliant and adorable Elizabeth Swann is when she is on her way to entering the bath house in Singapore. She goes there to meet Sao Fang with Barbossa. She is feisty as ever. When the Oriental pirate on guard outside of the bath house asks Barbossa if he is the one protecting this woman, Elizabeth is in rare form.

“What makes you think I need protection?”

She had skillfully slithered up to the guard, managing to maneuver a sharp knife to the man’s throat!

But what is just too funny for words happens next. It is such a riot, and done very cheekily with a bit of flair. The scene is short and goes by quickly, but it is a treasure trove of potc characterization and comedy.

The guards already got a taste of Elizabeth’s slippery nature outside, and before permitting her to go in and meet with Sao Fang, Elizabeth is required to strip. And I mean does she ever strip! LOL! She comes across as this dainty, petite little thing harmless as a fly, and allegedly a ‘weak woman.’ And right then and there, as she disrobes and takes off what little bit she has on, this pirate lass pulls out more weapons and artillery than an army! Most of her weapons are also the size of human limbs! LOL! I mean that last rifle Elizabeth leans backwards and struggles to pull out of WHO knows where, is hysterical. She adds all her discarded arsenal in a neat little pile off to the side.

Finally when she’s done, Elizabeth gives that ‘quirky’ little ‘smirk’ over to Barbossa. It is done so well and so delightfully devious…and she delivers that expression with the innocence of a mere waif who simply got caught with her hand in the cookie jar! But, get a gander of that stockpile of weaponry Elizabeth managed to store about her tiny frame!

That is such a funny scene, and done with a cheeky finesse. Elizabeth is so precocious and this scene is such a defining moment in potc. It is a great chapter of showing us just how much Elizabeth Swann had blossomed into the wily pirate she was and IS!

Here’s to Lizzie, the one and only Pirate King!

Listen up writers

Just so you know…

A “strong female character” does not have to be physically strong. She can be emotionally strong, mentally strong.
A “strong female character” does not have to be skilled in martial arts or any kind of weaponry to be badass.
A “strong female character” does not have to have a wall over her emotions in order to be strong. 
A “strong female character” does not have to have masculine traits for her to be seen by the reader as strong.

A “strong female character” is one who loves fiercely, whose strength lies in her heart and character, not just in her body. She fights for what she believes in, for those she loves, even if she is too physically frail to knock out the baddies. She can be intimidating enough to terrify a powerful sorcerer just by looking him in the face, not by any outward show of strength. no I am totally not talking about Sophie Hatter
A “strong female character” doesn’t have to fight physical battles in order to be strong; she can fight emotional ones too, those battles that involve no physical weapon but are heart-breakingly painful all the same. She may have walls, she may have known far too much pain for any one person to bear. But emotional strength does not mean not having emotions at all. Let her cry, let her scream, let her laugh, let her be vulnerable. Trust me, this is where readers often connect the most to a character: when they are most deeply and painfully human.
A “strong female character” has complicated and deep emotions that go far beyond heartbreak or anything romantic. She shouldn’t just be motivated by failed romance or a lost lover. Women have more relationships and passions than just romantic ones. They can be motivated by more than just romantic love. We aren’t all hopeless romantics. (okay I am, but that’s irrelevant) 
A “strong female character” develops when the author values the uniqueness and beauty of feminine traits and accepts that these are just as essential to human existence as masculine ones.