Girl Power Children Movies

Growing up as a kid, we were exposed to a lot of Disney movies, that looking back at now, I’m surprised I haven’t been scarred for life! There’s a lot of hallucinating scenes that I hated as a kid, and looking at as an adult, I don’t want my kids watching. Then there’s the evil step mom, the wicked witch, the jealous queen  …sensing a theme. While we have the fathers either dead, aloof or super protective of their glass like daughters.  And I haven’t even gotten to the damsel in distress, waiting for a zillion years, waiting for her prince part. 

As a mother of two daughters and prominent feminist 2 year old son, I have to screen the dated Disney films, and pretty much all of them go out the window. 

However, I must say the newer breeds coming out from Disney and Pixar have been pleasantly surprising and don’t have me throwing the remote at the tv.

See my selection below and let me know if you agree. 

Brave 

Image from here
Brave is something I recently discovered and I’m so glad I did. It’s about a princess, but hang on, she’s not your average sitting pretty, dressing in gowns, swirling in a ball room, princess. She’s your feisty, running wild, not caring about social norms, girls can rule the world, who needs a man, kinda princess.  This princess, cliche granted, has her neck on the guillotine, to choose a suitor, and get married, but there’s  a twist. Princess Merida isn’t satisfied by becoming a wife to some guy, she fights back at tradition and fate and seeks to change it. The story is about trying to change generations of tradition and destiny, contrary to the uptight queen’s wishes. This movie explores the relationship of mother and daughter, social pressures, and having open communication  between kids and parents. Many kids can relate to Merida and the Queen’s relationship, where one is told what to do and does the total opposite, whilst the other is a head strong authority figure trying to refine her daughter into marriage material. 

Suitable for 7 years + some scenes may scare sensitive children.

Mulan 

Image from here
Mulan is a childhood favorite and whenever it comes on now I force my girls to watch it. My girls are all about pink and fluffy things to my dismay, even though I’ve tried my best to teach them that girls can do anything they want, they still have gender roles in their heads. Mulan shows them that they can do and be anything a man can be. Mulan, a warrior is an inspiration as a young girl growing up. The story tells us that girls may be physically weaker than men but they are not mentally weaker which can lose the war. The movie address gender stereotypes, issues such as honor and ego. 

Age range 5+ years, has some scenes that may disturb younger viewers.

Frozen

Image from here
Frozen another film I watched as an adult and mother of young daughters and I’m glad that there are movies like these coming up. Although there are elements of romance and falling madly in love at first sight bleurgh! That isn’t the central message and this is falling in love thing is made fun of in the movie. Nothing wrong with falling in love, but getting married after just the first meeting that’s just in Disney right? . This movie is about Ana and Elsa which has birthed many Anna and Elsa’s around the world which celebrates the bond of sisters. Elsa the protective older sister and the heir to the throne has a secret which she can not share with anyone. She is made to feel guilty and ashamed of herself and leads a life of seclusion even from her kids sister. Anna the complete opposite is a young naive klutzy living in fantasy type if girl you might say the typical Disney princess. However, when it comes to sticking by to family bonds, and not giving up on someone even if they’ve given up themselves, she is a force to be reckoned with

Age range: suitable for whole family. 

Moana

Image from here
Moana a chiefs daughter knows her destiny but she is constantly battling her personal legend of wanting to sail beyond the barrier reef. Her dad fearful of her lustful wondering of what is beyond the reef tries his best to commit her to her people as she is the heir. No gender stereotypes here, no one even questions how will a woman lead.  No romantic storylines to divert her focus and waste her time with. Moana’s island is in danger and she has to save it, no time to wait for Prince Charming.  She has a protective father who reminds her of her responsibilities, however she also has empowering women surrounding her that believe in her and what she is capable of. A movie about personal identity, social responsibility, and being your own hero.

Age range: 5+ years, some scenes may scare younger viewers. 

Girl Power Movies with Badass Women not wanting ‘The Guy’

If you scroll through my previous posts you may guess… I am a Girl Power advocate, (see Girl Power Book Wish List , Books: People I Want to Hang Out With). Yes, I am a woman and Yes, I am also a mother of young, impressionable children.

So no surprise, that I am tired of seeing, the same cliche filled, pink, fluffy, ‘like omg’ movies, that are centered around attracting ‘the guy’- or even worse ‘any guy’ – with the girl’s primary talent, her looks.

These are your bog standard ‘chick flick’ movies, your average Rom Coms. Don’t even get me started on the guy movies, my head might just explode, along with the male ego. Dude movies might as well not have any women in them, since the lines they have are so minuscule, might as well be in a foreign language, as it has no relevance to the movie. ‘The girl’s’ sole purpose is to be saved from the bad guys/ sleaze ball/ psychopath  and be the trophy at the end of the ‘good guy’ who she, of course, is madly in love with.

I abhor these type of one dimensional movies, pumping the stereotype, of women cannot be anything without a man, assumedly they’re half of a person, and the man completes their sole existence –  bleurgh!

So I thought I’d compile a list of movies, that star female protagonists, who are not interested in being the love interest, and are all about being badass in their own right. Most of my films you may notice are bio pics, which goes to show, that real women are not really like the pink fluff that these brain dead movies portray.

Erin Brockivich (2000)

Bio pic about a legal clerk turned environmental activist. I truly believe women are born activists, this is where us women thrive. In her element Julia Roberts owns this movie, depicting a single mother with no formal law education going head to head with huge corporation.

Kill Bill (2003)

A pregnant bride left for dead at her wedding venue along side her wedding party. After 4 years in a coma said bride comes to and seeks revenge from bill and all of his squad of assassins, her previous colleagues. Doesn’t get any more badassy than this movie.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Movie about a women wanting to get into professional boxing. She convinces a veteran coach, who doesn’t think much of women boxing, to train her. The movie deals with how women are not taken seriously in sports and how they have to be twice as good just to get a look in.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Ok admittedly this movie isn’t about saving yourself from any assassins, or inner demons, but it does deal with women on women hate in the work place. Women in high positions are notoriously ‘married’ to their work. Climbing up the career ladder requires sacrificing friends and family, which are part and parcel of corporate life. No one bats an eyelid if you’re a man, as it’s totally acceptable. But as women you are lacking and failing at being your true soft and nurturing self. This movie shows how taking your job to the nth level you can be seen as a crazy woman as apposed to a successful career driven man.

Eat Pray Love (2010)

Huge fangirl of the book and have become a life long stalker of the big G, Elizabeth Gilbert. A bio pic based on Gilberts travel memoir of self discovery through all the senses, lifting the mind body and soul. A movie that rejects wanting a man to complete is when we are feeling lost. It instead inspires us to look within ourselves, emboldening the most homely of us to travel and live to our fullest. Absolutely love this and can’t recommend it enough.

The Blind Side (2009)

Truly heart warming and inspiring bio pic, of how a young boy was given a chance in life and became a professional football player. Story is about a black teen who becomes homeless because his mom has to many kids to care for that often leaves him behind. A white well off family see that the young boy is homeless and take him in to their home. Formally becoming his legal guardians they transform his life and theirs in the process. Not a dry eye in the house this story is so touching and heart warming to see reminding us that what unites us is our humanness.

Neerja (2016)

Hindi Movie with english subtitles available: This Indian Bio pic, is about an air hostess, who risks her life, to save whole plane full of passengers, from a hostage terror attack. Awe inspiring true story, the heroism and bravery of this young lady who didn’t think about her own life, trying to save her crew and passengers, will leave you with a lump in your throat.

Hidden Figures (2017)

I haven’t seen this movie yet but from its trailer alone I can tell this is a must see. Full to the brim with powerful women wanting to make a difference to history. Not only representing themselves but representing black and whole of womenkind.

 

My list is not in the least extensive, as these movies are hard to come by. If you  have any more recommendations, please do suggest them in the comments, I will only be too ecstatic, to check them out!

img_0086

Girl Power Book Wish List

Now that I’ve gotten the reading bug, after a decade of exile from Bookdom, I have been creeping on a few books, that I can’t wait to get my hands on. It’s no coincidence that my reading list is dominated by books written by strong badass women. I tend to be drawn to non-fiction, this is partly because I want to be in the company of these fierce women, as explained in my previous post Books: People I Want to Hang Out With. Although I don’t completely shy away from fiction, I only choose books that I know have a underlying message, that I can take away from the book. I love productive books, that have a self help element to it and a life lesson attached, so these are the kind of books you will see feature heavily in my list.

So, here are my Girl Power books wish list for 2017. I hope to write up follow up posts as and when I read them, so watch out for them.

 

The Gutsy Girls by Caroline Paul

images-5

I first heard about Caroline Paul on the Tim Ferris show where she was being interviewed, she was so inspiring in her adventurous and somewhat fearless life, that I just had to get my hands on this book. I have two girls who of no fault of their own, are very cautious, maybe because both my husband and I are very hesitant in letting our kids venture off on their own without shouting ‘careful!’ behind them. They are very timid at taking risks because we don’t allow them to. We live in very different times where gadgets are the corner stone to boredom breakers in a kids eyes. Hopefully this book will give me a few pointers on how to loosen up and remember how being a kid was, as its a necessary step. How to judge on your own, the risks, assessing and exploring without always being ‘careful’.

 

We Should All Be Feminists

images-7

Why I want this book, is pretty self explanatory. We should all be feminist, I already believe this. I am not a man hater far from it, but I am a human lover. For centuries women have been short changed. Its a question of, are we not the same? If it were not for women we wouldn’t be here, and vice versa we can not function without the other. Both sexes are reliant of the other for the survival of our species yet only one is given the upper hand. I was initially recommended the Ted Talks by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche were she delivers a powerful speech that has been viewed over 3 million times.  I can’t wait to have this in my collection and hand it down to my young girls.

 

Lean in By Sheryl Sandberg

images-9

I am an aspiring entrepreneur, so naturally I gravitated towards this book. Written by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, she is an inspiration to women, who want that work and life balance. Working moms who juggle both realms  are superhuman. Can it really be possible, to have it all, without having one side slip up?

Quiet by Susan Cain

images-8

 

As a person who is naturally introverted, preferring quiet to noise, I’m interested at what this book has to say. I believe we all have each our own qualities, as extroverts and introverts alike. Its refreshing to finally see a book that puts the spotlight on introverts, when extroverts have managed to blow the self promoting trumpet for so long.

 

Have you read any of these books on my wish list? Let me know in the comments below which you recommend and any other girl power or self help books you think are worth a read.

 

 

Books: People I Want to Hang Out With

I’ve recently realised how much I have missed reading books. This is mainly because, I don’t get the luxury of sitting in a place more than 5 minutes, without being summoned or tugged at by my three delightful kids. I let my book reading obsession dwindle for a decade and only recently I thought you know what? I will be wild, and I will buy a book and see if I can manage to read it! I know, crazy mom living on the edge, right? I had deprived myself of books for so long that when I went in a bookstore I spent hours musing over shelves and shelves of books I want to read, I realised how much I missed it. It felt so satisfying to own a book after so long, with no added feeling of guilt that it won’t be used because I just couldn’t wait to sit and read and read and read. I romanticised in my head how I will read to the wee hours till I finish one in one sitting, like I did as a teenager. I would read one book after another like a monkey clasping at branches swinging through a jungle. Oh but wait, those days are gone! I barely read a sentence before getting interrupted. At night when I have less disturbances, all I can manage is a couple of pages before conking out, from sheer exhaustion of the long day.

I have been hunting out more bookstores and creeping on books that I want to read and absorb in an instant. Actually scrap that, I don’t want to absorb the words in an instant, I want to brew in the pages. I love the journey of growth and the change of mindset where you get the ‘ah ha’ moment. However, my list of things I want read is taking over my notes, I really need to increase my reading speed somewhere in between an instant and a page a day. So I have promised myself more reading, less Netflix and mindless social media trawling and instead, I will try to substitute it with clasping at my books.

Reading a book, an actual book with pages, no kindle nonsense, has such a calming effect on me. It might be because we are surrounded by touch screens and bright lights and gadgets and gizmos all the time, that a simple book gives a breathe of life to such tech concentrated lives. It maybe that its nostalgic and reminds me of my childhood. Or it could just be that I like the idea of being bookish and geeky.  Whatever the reason it feels great to read. It feels like I’m actively participating in conjuring up images in my head. In grasping the ideas. There is no dumbing down of ideas to manipulate the masses, like news and social media. It doesn’t feel like I am cramming my brain with mindless junk.

So anyway the point to this isn’t that I love reading, of course l love it! It goes hand in hand with my coffee, like a perfect friendship. Not marriage, because I am married to coffee, no one and nothing can take that place. No, the reason why I write this is because books have filled that gapping hole in my life where I meet people that I actually want to be around. The like minded warrior women that I wish I was friends with. The women that inspire me to be better, to raise my standard, to aim higher, to not accept mediocre, to not sabotage myself and those women empower me, those women are my tribe. The books that I choose are full of information that I want to indulge in. I am learning, I’m surrounding myself with great thinkers, I’m being exposed by their life wisdom. When I pick up a book I hear the authors’ voice as they cram their lives into the little pages. I feel their presence, the books ARE the authors’, they ARE the people I want to hang out with.

So here’s my list of books/ people I’d most like to hang out with. No surprise then, my list comprises of non fiction books written by fierce influential women.

1. ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai.

Wow this is such a powerful book. As a woman and a mother of two daughters I am drawn to Malala’s gutsy story naturally. At such a young age she is such a strong and bold thinker. I was curious to know how she was shaped into being so brave and outspoken. I wanted to know how she was different to any of the thousand of girls who were in her shoes. Out of so many pakistanis who duck their heads daily from menacing threats that hang over them for basic rights such as  education how did she became so fearless? In the western world so many people live in a situation that they hate and it might not be life threatening but they just put up with it. Malala doesn’t. Even when it means risking her own life. She is a stark reminder to all of us that we do not have to go with the mainstream. We can fight against it, even if we are one voice. As long as we have free will we have choice and it might feel like a mammoth task but we should never forget that we have a voice and we should never fail to us it. The people of power threaten to silence one voice because they know it will lead to people raising their own voice. They go to so much trouble in weeding out people because they know the power of a single voice and what it inspires. So next time when you think that you are not enough to change your situation remind yourself that you are. One person can change your world don’t wait for a hero, be your own hero.

i-am-malala-book-cover

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World

2. ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Ms Gilbert captivates the masses with her style of writing. I was hooked by ‘Eat Pray Love’ which I haven’t seen the movie or read the book but listened to the audio book, which I am not ashamed to admit. Im a obsessive book lover as you may have noticed and so didn’t think I would like audiobooks. So when I experienced my first audiobook with ‘Eat Pray Love’ I was like oh yes! Maybe because I had no time to read and thought this is a great way into listening to so many books in so little time. Or maybe because Lizzie is a badass story teller that she made the experience so much more enjoyable. So anyway I digress the fact is I became a fangirl of Liz and her great charismatic charm that I had to just know what she wants to say in Big Magic. This book may feel like that its just for creatives but its not. Its for everyone. Everyone, that is who wants to bring a dose of magic into their lives. She talks about creativeness as being spiritually guided and I can see how it is good for the soul. Her tone is conversational throughout and she gives a straight talk with no BS of how you shouldn’t fear living a creative life. We self sabotage ourselves into a negative spiral of how we cannot possibly do something before the idea even takes of the ground. We are our own worst enemy and we should silence that demon inside our head and do whatever we feel like doing that makes us feel alive. Run with an idea and see wear it leads you, take the leap you never know where you will end up without trying. Pick up passions that you left dormant its never to late. What is life if not a series of moments where we took chances than 70 years of doing the same thing over and over.

images

Being creative means letting go of your own fears of failing.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

3. ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown.

I first stumbled across Brene on Ted Talks where she was total badass researcher. She’s a funny witty and strong woman, I was sold. I want her in my gang. So I picked up Rising Strong expecting it to be about how to raise my girls in a bold way. This book isn’t about how not to be vulnerable but by facing up to our vulnerability we conquer it and rise above it so that it doesn’t paralyse us. By showing our vulnerability we are being more open and genuine not just to other people but to ourselves. we are living a real life and not a charade of who we should be with an armour that shrouds us everyday that we are scared to be ourselves. i grew up in a home where we hardly talked about our feelings our emotions till it came catastrophically crashing down. We never gave out hugs to each other growing up or said I love you. If we had a problem we would bury it inside and deal with it ourselves thus never exposing our vulnerability. By doing this we isolated ourselves from the people that actually love us. This book brings back so many emotions for me of how vulnerability is not a bad thing and it can actually make you a better person.

images-2

No fear of being vulnerable, you are now unstoppable.

Rising Strong

Those are my companions for now who hang with me in my down time. My tribe will grow and I will write about them if and when I meet them. Till then let me know in the comments who is in your gang? Who do you hang with and can I borrow them?