After I wrote last week’s post, I realized I have a lot more to say about movies and the impact they have on our intellectual and emotional lives.
When Barry and I watched Captain Marvel, twice the weekend of my last post, I realized something important. Over the last few years I’ve been reading many books written by women and watching movies and TV shows with female protagonists carving out a place for themselves in a man’s world. These stories are in a variety of genres, from different time periods, and situations. The women in these stories have one thing in common, they no longer fit into the good girl/bad girl boxes dictated by society and culture. It’s refreshing to read about and see characters on the screen who are well-rounded and who represent real women.
One of most used put downs leveled at women is that we are too emotional, as if that’s the worst offense in the world. In Captain Marvel, Vers, as Carol Danvers is known by the Kree, is rebuked constantly by her mentor Yon-Rogg for being too emotional. To be a good warrior, he claims, you have to suppress your emotions.
But here’s the thing, almost every woman knows that making the best decisions requires use of both our heads and our hearts. There is a powerful montage sequence in the movie that shows Carol Danvers standing up again and again after being knocked down. She’s angry at being told she can’t do things that are considered off limits for girls. She’s stubborn enough to do what she wants no matter what. Her character represents every woman who must overcome challenges and obstacles. There have been so many women through the ages who have not let anyone define them.
Even though her determination has made her tough, she’s also emotional. When she absorbs a tremendous amount of energy from an alien power source, she’s kidnapped and taken to the Kree home world. She has lost her memory and so is manipulated by her Kree mentor. Yon-Rogg wants to use her power to advance the Kree agenda. But when she crash lands on Earth during a mission, she begins to remember who she really is. She remembers that one of the best things about being human is that we’re at our best when we integrate both sides of our nature when it comes time to making important decisions.
After Carol remembers who she really is and what happened to her, she embraces her full humanity. She says, “I’ve been fighting with one hand tied behind my back. What happens when I’m finally set free?” At that point she shows Yon-Rogg just how powerful she is. She takes back her power when she says, “I have nothing to prove to you.”
There are so many female protagonists, Elizabeth Bennet, the Crawley sisters, Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, Clare Fraser, and almost any Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck movie ever made that show us how powerful and intelligent women are. They create fulfilling lives for themselves in spite of their flaws and the expectations of society.
What these fictional women show me is that something important is changing for women. I don’t know how this has come about, but I’m excited to see it happening. Women aren’t keeping silent any longer. They are not letting anyone dictate to them how to think, what to feel, or what they should do with their lives. It’s an exciting time that has been a long time coming.
I think I became a feminist because my mom worked throughout most of my childhood. She did it to supplement dad’s income so we could live in nice houses, have food on the table, and clothes to wear. It wore her out, but she did it, and we all pitched in with household chores. Because of my mom, I thought it was natural for moms to work outside the home just like dads did. And because my dad was not the macho guy who expected his wife to do everything for him, I learned what true partnership between a man and woman looked like.
I’m inspired by all the female characters, and real women who keep standing up for themselves. And I’m excited to see what the future will bring.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Welcome to my new followers. I hope all of you have a spectacular weekend.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.