Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Girl Power Movies and Shows on Netflix

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This is a guest article by writer Wajdaan Muhammad

Have you heard about the Bechdel-Wallace test? It is the measure of female representation in fiction. This test was created to induce a sense of inclusion of womanhood amongst media moguls. The basic idea is that a work of fiction must feature at least two women who talk to each other about anything but a man. 

This test proved to be effective initially; however, it comes with its own limitations and is the lowest criterion to ensure female characters are not being overshadowed by male characters. 

Another test called the Mako Mori test, inspired by the character Mako Mori from Pacific Rim (2013), is a gender equality test that shares requirements for fictional work. According to this test, at least one female character must have an independent character arc that is not correlated with a male character’s arc. 

Both of these tests are in place to make sure that female representation in cinema is not just about men and their extended support to male characters. This is because media is the most powerful standard to shape the mentality of the general masses and what we show to them, directly or indirectly, influences their personalities and thought processes. 

With women being highlighted in independent and decision-making roles, we urge the public to expand their horizons, as well. In the past couple of years, we have been seeing a trend of women-centric movies, directed by women too – Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984, Eternals, Birds of Prey, Black Widow, and Barbie are just a few examples. This shift in the cinema is deemed a huge success for females all around the world. 

We have put together a list of movies and TV shows on Netflix that exhibit strong female characters in this article. 

The movies and TV shows discussed, in this article, encourage a sense of womanhood in the public, showcase strong female leads to inspire us, and are the epitome of girl power. 

Note: The list is not presented in any particular order. 

How To Get Away With Murder

Content Type: Season

Genre: Legal, Crime, Drama, Thriller

No. of Seasons: 06

Lead Character(s): Annalise Keating

Main Cast: Viola Davis, Liza Weil, Karla Souza, Aja Naomi King, Jack Falahee, Charlie Weber, Matt McGorry, Conrad Ricamora, Alfred Enoch

Download How To Get Away With Murder Annalise Red Wallpaper | Wallpapers.com

Annalise Keating is one of the best-written female characters in history. She is a brilliant and fierce lawyer who will go to any extent to defend her clients. The tremor in her voice, the arched eyebrow, the exquisite teaching method, and the manner in which she holds her head high in every situation puts the audience in a constant state of awe. 

The Queen’s Gambit

Content Type: Season

Genre: History, Drama

No. of Seasons: 01 (Limited series)

Lead Character(s): Beth Harmon

Main Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Harry Melling, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd

THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR as BETH HARMON in THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT. Cr. CHARLIE GRAY/NETFLIX © 2020
THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR as BETH HARMON in THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. Cr. CHARLIE GRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

Chess, a sport dominated by men, feels like home when we watch Beth Harmon on screen. The entire story is dictated as an illustration of what happens when a pawn becomes a queen. This limited series is a feministic trope discussing the life of Beth Harmon, a young chess prodigy who anchors her strength from her defeats.

Suits

Content Type: Season

Genre: Drama, Legal

No. of Seasons: 09

Lead Character(s): Jessica Pearson, Donna Paul, Rachel Zane, Harvey Specter, Louis Litt, Mike Ross 

Main Cast: Gina Torres, Sarah Rafferty, Meghan Markle, Gabriel Macht, Rick Hoffman, Patrick J. Adams

  

Suits is as powerful and progressive, racially and gender-wise, as any cinematic experience can be. The strong female characters of Jessica Pearson, Donna Paul, and Rachel Zane display different intensities of smartness, stability, and conscience; with each level being complete and distinct. 

Although, the story revolves around the complicated bromance between Harvey Specter and Mike Ross, the three ladies are the anchors of the entire season. They are strong, opinionated, brilliant, reverent, independent, and ambitious while being empathetic and caring. 

To All the Boys: Always and Forever

Content Type: Movie

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Release Date: February 12, 2021

Lead Character(s): Lara Jean, Peter Kavinsky

Main Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo

’To All the Boys

’To All the Boys’ film series is known to be a sweet, coming-of-age romantic portrayal of the modern-day. The female lead, Lara Jean, is as polite and lovable of a character as one would want to see on screen. 

However, the third installation has added another layer to her character that transcends her ambition, her will to do something for herself, her self-awareness, and her path to self-discovery. While she is deeply in love with Peter K., she also becomes aware of her interests and her passion to yield success as she envisions it, for which she unapologetically reforms her plans. 

Pitch Perfect 

Content Type: Movie

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Release Date: September 24, 2012

Lead Character(s): Beca, Chloe, Fat Amy, Aubrey 

Main Cast: Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow

Pitch Perfect 

Pitch Perfect is one of the most celebrated a-capella movies. The female camaraderie amongst the characters instead of following the same boy is what made this movie a major contribution to third-wave feminism. The movie also focused on body positivity with the character of ‘Fat Amy’ and works as an inspiration for many women even after almost a decade.

The Bold Type

Content Type: Season

Genre: Drama, Comedy

No. of Seasons: 04

Lead Character(s): Jacqueline Carlyle, Jane Sloan, Kat Edison, Sutton Brady

Main Cast: Melora Hardin, Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy

The Bold Type

The Bold Type is a powerful feminist show that we all needed. With multi-layered female characters: Jane, Kat, and Sutton, the show is progressive and well-construed. This show is based on the perfect feministic energy that male directors and screenwriters often get overwhelmed by. 

The powerful trio can challenge any problem with their companionship and strength of character. This season touches on several prominent bases like racial discrimination, LGBTQ+ representation, sexual consent, women’s healthcare, women empowerment, and religious biases. 

Moxie

Content Type: Movie 

Genre: Coming-of-age

Release Date: March 3, 2021

Lead Character(s): Vivian, Claudia, Lucy, CJ

Main Cast: Hadley Robinson, Lauren, Tsai, Alycia Pascual, Josie Totah, Amy Poehler

Moxie  screen grab

Moxie is a coming-of-age Netflix original that highlights why young women need to be self-aware and how much of an impact can they bring. In this piece of art, teenagers come together and call out the deep-rooted sexism in the olden ways of education and almost every field of life. Another thing highlighted by the movie is the power of activism.

Enola Holmes

Content Type: Movie

Genre: Adventure, Mystery

Release Date: September 23, 2020

Lead Character(s): Enola Holmes

Main Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill

Enola Holmes running

In a time when women were asked to be ‘proper,’ Enola Holmes shatters the glass of patriarchy and fights misogynistic oppression. The movie is about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister who runs away to find her missing mother. This movie is a feminist win because of its strong female portrayal, resilience, and the lead character’s defiance of the cultural and social construct. 

The Ending Note 

Feminism has become a lot more than just shattering the archaic patriarchal ideas; to exercise and exude a cent of equality and authentic living, feminism is what we are looking after. The idea of having girl power movies might seem like a solid A, as of now, but we must aim to create a society that establishes such narratives in ways that accept this as a normalcy. 

Images via Netflix

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