Movies and Women's History Month

Women’s History Month is a reminder of the potential in every girl, young woman, and lady to overcome adversity. The roles of women appear to be on the rise in the workforce, at home, and of course, on the silver screen. The rights to this advancement were fought for with incredible strength throughout the early 1900s’, again in the 1960s’, and the fight lives on today.  Women’s freedom to challenge adversity comes from a rich history of social and political movements devoted to advancement. Without the suffragettes and the strong willed feminists of the 1960s’ the roles of women would remain unchanged.

In the 21st century, the film industry has served as a catalyst of woman’s rights. This year, the film industry has featured a considerable amount of movies with strong females. Many of them offer insight into the history and ongoing concerns of woman’s rights; from the appearance of Rei in the largely male driven series, Star Wars, to the moving performances of Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meryl Streep in the movie Suffragette.

These historical dramas and greater female roles have started important conversations during this month when we celebrate women. Recently released in the United States, the movie Suffragette takes a microscope to the lives of two very influential women in the Women’s Rights movement. The tale opens a discussion on the price of women’s rights as the main character gives her life for her cause.  Carol, another historical drama, examines a women’s rights while being divorced during the 1950s’. The threat of losing her daughter or all ties and relationships forces Carol into an uncomfortable choice. This movie, like suffragette, examines the price of women’s rights, as Carol must live without her daughter or without her partner. Joy, the autobiographical story of the Joy Mangano, moves this group of films into the modern feminist movement.  Like Carol, this film considers the role of a mother, post-divorce. It examines the factual tale of a mother’s attempt to gain independence, while creating and running her own business. This modern tale shows sacrifice, like the other two. But, Joy reveals the true reward, a women’s freedom from constricting domestic roles. 

These three films, a small fraction of the strong female roles portrayed in the movies, each document the three separate ages of women’s rights. Historically the roles of women have greatly shifted in society. A movie has the ability to reveal every aspect of these shifting aspects of being a woman. They look at historical fact, examine individual lives, and showcase human reactions. In short, these movies reveal and reflect our culture, a culture with women at the forefront.