Today to celebrate International Women’s Day I’m going to look through some of the movies I’ve seen that have impacted me the most and how the women’s roles in these movies have gradually changed, for the better, over the decades. I’m so excited to share this with you and I hope you enjoy! (I just want to let you know, this is a longread.)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The wispy dreams of a teenage girl becoming a false reality as she grows unconscious after being in the middle of a tornado is the story of The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland’s Dorothy is the center of this magical fairy tale. In 1939 Dorothy was quite the heroine in cinema. Yes, she was scared at times, and yes there were some moments when she slightly fit into the mold of a damsel in distress but she was also strong, courageous, and brave and at that time in the world when women were still looked upon as housemaids and nannies she helped to break that mold of what women’s roles in cinema could be portrayed as.
An American in Paris (1951)
This is one of my favorite musicals of all time, introduced to me by my wonderful mother. She said this was one of her favorite movies and for a long time I didn’t want to see it because I’m not a fan of musicals but it actually was worth the watch. This movie, however, does not depict women in an entirely respectable fashion.
The entire plot of the movie is wrapped around these two men who fall in love with the same woman. Gene Kelly’s Jerry Mulligan of course wins her heart in the end but this movie feeds on the typical portrayal of women in cinema. Lise Bouvier (Leslie Carson) isn’t a strong woman who Mulligan fauns after for an entire movie and eventually is rewarded with her love. No, she’s a confused young French girl who can’t decide which man she wants to be with for the rest of her life. I love this movie but representation of women in film has come a long way.