3 Films with a Strong Feminist Message
On March 8, a massive group of women went out to the streets with their feminist message. That day, those women made history. Nothing will be the same after that day.
Those women decided to speak out because they all experience inequality, violence, and a glass ceiling, among many other things. They all live under the same oppression.
The following films tell the story of three women and their struggle to get ahead in life in a male-dominated world, a world that stigmatizes, attacks, and disrespects them. The women in these films armed themselves with bravery and courage.
A Woman Under the Influence, A feminist message for women’s mental health
This movie was directed by John Cassavetes, one of the most acclaimed independent movie directors in North America. It narrates the difficult situation a family is going through due to the matriarch, Mabel. The majestic Gena Rowlands plays Mabel. She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress and received an Oscar nomination for this role.
The film shows that Mabel expresses herself in a peculiar way and has some sudden tics, but is never violent nor threatening. Peter Falk plays her husband, Nick, who’s a construction worker. He feels like there’s something wrong with Mabel.
In a testosterone-filled environment, Mabel cooks food and serves guests to make sure everyone is comfortable. She makes sure that everything is alright. Her behavior is a bit peculiar because she doesn’t control her friendliness. However, she always tries to make sure that everyone is feeling good.
However, Nick never stops criticizing her behavior, yelling at her, and undermining everything she does. He humiliates her in front of everyone and doesn’t respect her space or the way she expresses herself to the world.
Without spoiling the film, we can say that the people around her aren’t used to such a peculiar personality, a personality full of kindness, sensibility, and love towards her family. Consequently, her reactions are extreme because her husband’s behavior is inconsistent and asphyxiating.
Nick doesn’t know how to treat his wife. He contradicts himself when he talks, looks, and interacts with her. At those levels of communication, Mabel is trapped. This is because the person who’s telling her he loves her the most is the same one who stigmatizes her in front of others. Maybe he and the others think that a woman who expresses herself that way must be gravely perturbed.
And this is where the strong feminist message comes in. The children, who haven’t experienced the prejudice the adults have, adore the way their mother is. They love her peculiarity and intense love. Maybe the influence Mabel is under is ignorance and machismo, not a psychiatric problem.
Alanis, A feminist message of self-reliance
Alanis, (Sofía Gala Castiglione) is an Argentinian prostitute and mother who works in her apartment along with her roommate, Gisela. One day, the police arrest Gisela and Alanis is kicked out of the apartment. She now has to find a place to sleep for her and her son.
She starts surviving however she can, even going to her clients’ homes with her son. Her situation is obviously nerve-racking, but she doesn’t realize it. With amazing stoicism and endurance, Alanis does what she needs to do. She has no time to stop and think of her situation. She must survive.
Alanis doesn’t pay attention to the messages that victimize, insult, or tell her that she’s a bad mother. No one has given her anything in her life, but she doesn’t want recognition either. She simply wants to feel that she has control over her own life and that she can provide for her son.
Alanis is simply not interested in turning her life around. In reality, she doesn’t know what she wants in life. Instead of pitying her, we’re just left speechless.
She only thinks of the present, for it to be as bearable as possible. She also doesn’t want to explain anything to anyone. This is the feminist message in this movie. It’s controversial and direct because it gives no space to victimize or stigmatize her. Alanis lives her life and doesn’t care about other people’s opinions. She’s sure of who she is and plays no games.
Paulina, A feminist message about independence
Paulina (Dolores Fonzi) is a woman that has it all. She comes from a good family in Buenos Aires and has a bright professional future. Paulina has a boyfriend and a father who love her very much.
She has aspirations although she’s the daughter of a wealthy lawyer. Paulina dreams of doing something that can actually improve people’s lives. She wants to be on the front lines, fighting.
That is why she decides to teach in a school in a very poor area in Argentina that has high violence and unemployment rates. She knows that these people need her. Everyone thinks that this is a phase Paulina is going through and that it’s temporary, but she’s quite determined to help others.
When she arrives in this place, she’s excited and challenged by an environment that is unknown to her. One night, after a few drinks with a friend, Paulina takes her motorcycle and goes home. On her way there, some men assault and rape her. From here on out, most of the audience will start to feel uncomfortable with Paulina’s decisions.
She goes back to her job with the community and starts to investigate who did this to her and why. After finding out that she’s pregnant, Paulina makes an unexpected decision that makes the people around her lose their patience.
Paulina is a woman who makes her own decisions. This is the feminist message of this film. Although people believe that all women behave in the same way, there are thousands of women who follow their own path. They don’t expect validation from anyone.