5 Films to watch with your daughters portraying exceptional female role models
If you are a parent of a young daughter, do you ever find yourself concerned about the people that she looks up to, the people that influence her ideas about the world and about herself? We all want our young girls to be able to think for themselves, make their own choices and have their own opinions but young people often take a lot of their lead from others. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many inspirational women in this world for our daughters to look up to but unfortunately we live in a society that places so much importance on ‘celebrity’ and their influence is far reaching and can have such a negative impact.
Spirited Away - Hayao Miyazaki - PG
This is an enchanting, animated film which tells the tale of a ten year old girl, Chihiro. Chihiro has to rescue her parents that have been turned into pigs after they stumble on what appears to be an abandoned fairground. Sounds a little strange! And it is, but in the most delightful way that is possible. Hayao Miyazaki is well known for his strong female leads and this film is no exception. However, what I feel sets this film apart from the newer, superhero style female leads is that Chihiro is a little girl and the character is shown in exactly that way, with the vulnerability of a child, but one who grows to shows her strength and determination to overcome the obstacles in front of her and her ability to not only take care of herself but also to rescue the main male character as well as her parents. No pigtails or superhero cape in sight.
Frozen - Disney Studio - U
Is there anyone who hasn’t seen this film? But come on, this is definitely worth another watch. The classic Disney princess has led generations of girls to believe in prince charming and has inspired a million wedding dress designs and sales. Am I completely against this idea? No, who doesn’t love a good ball gown and why would we want to give our daughters the idea that love is not a real thing? What this new Disney princess shows this generation of girls is that, it’s all about choice. The main characters in this film show their own unique style but this is secondary to their unique personalities and sisterly bond, which is what saves the day. This film also gives a really strong message about the difference between romance and real love and how the bonds between people take time to build and come in all sorts of ways. There was still a lot of criticism about the fact that Disney still chose to make one of the main characters still look like traditional Disney princess. My own thoughts on that are that maybe we teach our children to look beyond that, and see the character beneath, in this case a strong, independent, slightly vulnerable female that managed to save her town without a prince charming by her side.
Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling PG
Why Harry Potter? Hermione Granger of course. It would be almost impossible to list all of the qualities that make this character such a good role model, but I’ll give it a go. Hermione is fiercely loyal to her friends, she always stood up for herself and had no problem saying what was on her mind. She loved to learn and was not afraid to show her intelligence, even if it was sometimes met with a less than favourable response from both her peers and teachers. Hermione was an activist, she started S.P.E.W, Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, to combat what she saw as unjust treatment of house elves and for the benefit of all magical creatures. There is no doubt that Hermione is brave, smart, loyal but for me one of Hermione’s greatest qualities is her ability to understand what is important in life “Books and cleverness! There are more important things! Friendship and bravery!” well said Hermione!.
Kiki’s Delivery Service - Hayao Miyazaki U
I did say Hayao Miyazaki is well known for his strong female characters. This 1989 animated film is an absolute wonder. It is a coming of age story that sees the main character, Kiki, a 13-year-old witch, moving to a new city as part of her magical training. Kiki has to overcome many obstacles including, setting up her own business, making new friends, losing her powers and with that, her confidence as she watches self-doubt creep in. This lovely film encourages girls to see their individuality as a strength and also beats a giant drum for independence, strength and possibilities for girls.
Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly PG
Hidden figures is an fantastically inspirational, true story of three African- American women who worked for NASSA in the 1950s and 1960s. These three pioneering women had to overcome discrimination on two fronts in America at that time. Their intelligence, and mathematical brilliance help to launch the manned spaceflight program. The film will also give an insight into the racial tension at the time and just what these amazing women had to overcome to make it in a predominately white male environment. This film is packed full of positive messages about friendship, integrity, honesty, self-belief and determination. Coupled with a pretty fabulous soundtrack, what is not to love?
It goes without saying that championing women and characters who embody strong morals, brave attitudes, and determined mindsets. These movies are just some that demonstrate these and many other traits that help create inspiration in our young women, as well as being great movies.
So let's take this time that we have with our daughters to share some positive role models and some popcorn for a fun night in and a great message.