Oceans 8

15 Movies That Defy Gender Stereotypes

by Rebecca Savory

It’s January in Vancouver… and by that we mean it’s dark 23 hours of the day and raining 99% of the time. Perfect movie weather! Unfortunately navigating the landscape of movie narratives can still be a really mixed bag when it comes to challenging gender stereotypes, with Netflix’s Christmas line-up parading a non-stop onslaught of ‘girl meets boy, falls in love and lives happily ever after’.

BUT it’s 2020 now, and we no longer need to settle for dated narratives for ourselves and our children. If you’re looking for something to watch this month with a strong female lead, here are a few to get you and the kids started:

With the kids:
  • Moana: Make sure you’re happy to hear this music playing in your house for the next three months before putting this on for your kids, but in terms of characters for your kids to admire, Moana is up there with the best.
  • Brave: Set in the Scottish Highlands, Merida causes chaos when she says she doesn’t want to be betrothed and instead wants to carve out her own path in life, with her bow and arrow in tow.
  • Tangled: A twist on the original tale of Rapunzel, this princess is anything but a damsel in distress.
  • Mulan: You could either dig out the original or hang around for the new release of this Disney classic in cinemas on March 27.
With the teens:
  • Star Wars: In between light sabres and stormtroopers, Princess Leia Organa and, in the more recent movies, Rey, emerge as the strong female leaders we would want our daughters to grow up to be.
  • Harry Potter: Yes, these films were named after Harry, but we all know he wouldn’t have made it past the first without Hermione Granger.
  • The Hunger Games: Despite the dark premise, Katniss Everdeen is a fierce female warrior who goes above and beyond for the people she cares about.
  • Wild: Cheryl Strayed’s uses a series of loses to kick-start her life in a completely different direction, hiking more than a thousand miles solo on the U.S.’s longest and toughest walk, the Pacific Coast Trail.
  • Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable: Following the true story of a world-class surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack at age 13.
For you:
  • Hidden Figures: The untold true story of the incredible women who were instrumental in launching the first astronaut into orbit. A must watch.
  • Erin Brockovich: Based on the true story of the consumer advocate and environmental activist taking on the Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993.
  • Little Women: There’s a reason this book has been adapted into a movie seven times, with the most recent adaptation in cinemas now. Jo March is as an inspiring character now as she was when first written in 1868.
  • Bend it Like Beckham: An oldie but a goodie, Jess Bhamra defies family pressures to chase her dream.
  • Oceans 8: One of the greatest #girlpower line-ups, ever.
  • A League of Their Own: Based on the real-life All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League in 1943.

Any others to add to the list? Share them with us in the comments section.

Happy watching!