When I was around 7 years old, I remember getting ready to go down a slide in my local park and overheard two boys behind me excitedly talking about the Power Rangers. They asked me if I liked the show but as soon as I started to express how obsessed I was with the Mighty Morphin gang, they interrupted me: “that show’s not for girls, you shouldn’t be watching that”. I remember feeling confused and offended, so I rolled my eyes at them, zoomed down the slide and then karate chopped the air while walking away from the situation to show them what was what.
Fast forward to 2019 and it’s Friday 8 March which is International Women’s Day. The theme for this years campaign is #BalanceforBetter which isn’t a gender issue, it’s a business issue and it got me thinking! I’ve worked in the film production industry for a number of years and thought I’d take this opportunity to celebrate women in the media and all of our accomplishments.
Confident. Powerful. Equal.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented and powerful women who take pride in everything they do. We’re seeing more female leads appear in film and TV, who aren’t just there to support the male protagonist, but to actually play characters that can shape and steer the narrative.
We’ve just seen three WOC: Ruth E. Carter, Hannah Beachler and Regina King triumph at the Oscars, with Ruth winning in Costume Design and Hannah winning in Production Design on Marvel’s Black Panther, becoming the first black women ever to win an Oscar in those categories.
We’re seeing huge brands with a strong male audience, join the feminist movement such as Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier’ and Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ and we’ve even seen them publicly dismiss the hate and ignorance from the “not all men” brigade. There’s a growing debate as to whether brands are supporting the movement because they genuinely care or if it’s just because feminism is currently ‘on trend’, but with the voices of women across the globe getting louder and stronger each day, this ‘trend’ isn’t going to disappear.
I’m proud of young me for continuing to watch films and programmes that were not typically aimed at girls and as I grew older I fell in love with films that championed women. In light of today and to celebrate the amazing industry I work in, I wanted to share some of my favourite films that feature inspirational female characters.
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley. Total icon. Nothing further.
Jurassic Park (1993)
No, not just because all the dinosaurs were female but If you deconstruct this film, there are many important themes it features - including feminism. You can watch a really interesting breakdown of the film here or read about the female portrayal here.
Westworld (2x seasons)
A science fiction about artificial intelligence with more than one strong female lead. Co-creators, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan discuss the show and feminism here.
How to Get Away with Murder (5x seasons)
Viola Davis as anti-hero Annalise Keating, a powerful Defense Attorney and successful University Professor who is also a black woman and bisexual - what! You can read more about this here and check out Viola’s moving speech at the 2018 Women’s March.
So whether you’re marching, uniting, protesting, celebrating or just making your way through the above list - I want to wish you all a very happy International Women’s Day and in the words of UN Women, let’s continue to “think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.
Emma Little is a producer at Contra Agency, a video production company, based in London