There’s only one thing better than watching a kick-ass feminist film: talking about a kick-ass feminist film with a bunch of other kick-ass feminists. That’s what we’ve been doing over at Femsplain: chatting about all the films that get us punching the air with feminist joy. Come and join the conversation on our Femslack! So far, we’ve rounded up a list of our top four—what are your faves?
Kiki’s Delivery Service
When it comes to all things film and feminism, there’s a library’s-worth of titles to choose from. To narrow down my selection, I like to ask myself: What is one film that makes you feel empowered? The answer: Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service.
I first watched this movie when I was around 3 years old and it left a distinct imprint on my brain’s memory box. I remember falling in love with Kiki, not because she was a mystical being, but because she was fearless and independent. She supports other women and is, in turn, motivated by their kindness. Along the way, Kiki falls in the face of obstacles – but she both literally and metaphorically rises once she embraces who she truly is. Kiki was and is my hero.
Aged 7, I watched Billy Elliot and though I didn’t quite understand it, I loved it as a movie because I too loved to dance. As a somewhat angsty teen desperately trying to seem edgy I loved Billy Elliot because I loved the soundtrack. Now, rewatching it I can appreciate just how important the movie is. Despite the lack of female leads – or even female roles full stop, to me, this is still an important feminist movie. Granted, women don’t particularly feature but many of the other aspects of feminism play important parts in the movie and are deeply rooted in the subtext. Challenging the perception of gender roles and questioning the heteronorm are a fundamental part of the plot. I love how in the movie, the gruff men of working class Britain than have to come to terms with and understand gender and sexuality as I think that within this grittiness, there’s an element of true to life. Afterall, at its core, feminism isn’t just about women empowering woman and it is these aspects that are so brilliantly entwined in the movie! –picked by Iona Nichol
There are a lot of reasons “The Craft” is one of my favorite feminist movies. There’s the teen-movie, “Heathers”-but-with-curses aspect. There’s the incredible main characters: four young women, dealing with image, insecurity, bullying, and teen anxiety. There’s the excellent ’90s fashion. Most of all, though, I love “The Craft” because it’s about witches. Marguerite Duras once said that witches were just lonely women, women who, when their husbands went off on the Crusades, started talking to nature, trees, birds, anything. When their men returned, Duras said, they saw that the women had taken “a part of themselves away” from the men, and they were labeled witches. That missing piece, that loneliness, has stuck with women ever since, according to Duras. All women, in their own ways, are witches.
As someone who has been fascinated and terrified of witches since a young age, I love that explanation, and I love seeing it play out in “The Craft,” as four young, diverse women learn to use witchcraft to their own ends. One uses it to become beautiful, while another uses it to take revenge on the racist white girls who tormented her, another uses it to capture the heart of her crush, and the fourth uses it for power and ruthless violence. “The Craft” may not be explicitly feminist, but it’s an addictive, fascinating film about womanhood and magic. –picked by Victoria Billings from Feminism for my Father
Chocolat is undoubtedly romantic, but that’s what it’s best known as, and everyone ignores the fact that even if Johnny Depp wasn’t in the film, it would stand alone amazingly on its own — and it’s one of the most fabulous feminist films ever, even though it takes place in the late ‘50s. Think about it — the mother-daughter duo of Vianne and Anouk settle in a religious community that’s deeply set within the patriarchy. The two have to deal with the mayor, who feels that Vianne’s chocolaterie is threatening his community with temptation during Lent, but she doesn’t crumble — she rises against it, helping the community to stand strong and smash the patriarchy. Plus, it passes the Bechdel Test. And it makes you hungry for chocolate, so like, a win all around. –picked by Sammy Nickalls
We’d love to hear you femsplain your favorite feminist film to us—come and join the community at Femsplain.com!