Category Archives: Women and Girls

My Ten Favorite Movie Heroines

I love movies because they’re very fun to watch. I love seeing stories play out onscreen, I love watching actors portray different characters that I will either love or despise, I love action films, but most importantly, I love a movie with an off-the-chain heroine. There are hundreds of great films with male heroes but when a woman can come into the fold and kick butt alongside the men that’s when a movie, for me, gets really awesome and lately that’s become a regular occurrence.

Last year Wonder Woman finally got her own blockbuster film after being around for decades and there have been a bunch of critically acclaimed indie films and television shows led by women in the past year. The last three Star Wars films have been led by women and have made billions of dollars, an idea that at one time would seem preposterous to the Hollywood elite. And last year’s highest grossing films were all female-led, Beauty and the BeastWonder Woman, and The Last Jedi.

So, because women are clearly awesome, I’m going to share with you the ten movie heroines that I have come to love the most, at least, so far. Enjoy!

10. Dorothy

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies of all time. I remember seeing this film as a child and it was one of the most magical films I have ever seen still to this day. To think that this movie was made in 1939! is beyond incredible and in the center of this epic tale is Dorothy.

Dorothy is a special character. She has those ruby slippers, she sings like an angel, she has the cutest dog ever, Toto, and she’s so sweet. She’s a regular farm girl trying to run away from home because a mean old lady wants her dog to be taken away who just so happened to end up embarking on an incredible journey in a magical world unlike any other. She faces flying monkeys, an evil witch, and many other obstacles but at the end of it all she survives the adventure and helps save the Land of Oz while never refraining from being herself. If you really think about it, Dorothy is a very brave girl. To face all of that strange stuff; a talking scarecrow, a talking lion, a tin man, munchkins, witches, etc. without utterly freaking out is very impressive.

Without Dorothy The Wizard of Oz would not be the same magical movie that it has been for almost a century and that’s why she is one of my favorite heroines.

9. Murph Cooper

Jessica Chastain in Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar is another one of my favorite movies because, well, it’s very, very good. The story is well written, the creativity is out of this world amazing, every actor’s performance is exceptional, the music is ridiculously imaginative and helps elevate the film in chill-inducing ways, and at there are some incredible women in this movie.

Through the marketing of this film it seemed like the movie was about Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper who supposedly was going to save the world but in actuality the movie was really about his daughter, Murph. No she might not have participated in an adventure that consisted of falling in black holes or surviving a planet that had nothing but water but back on Earth she was being a hero in her own right as she tried to find a way to save the people on Earth from extinction.

When her mentor, Professor Brand, died did she go sit herself in a corner and weep until the world came to an end? No. She continued striving to find the solution that would save humanity even though she was mostly alone, with the exception of her friend, the Doctor, a grueling task that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to handle. The fact that she, at the end of the day, was the one to save everyone is not only amazing but makes her one of my favorite heroines.

8. Valkyrie

Valkyrie is so cool. She’s rude, she’s unapologetic for her attitude, she’s tough, and beyond all of that, she’s really powerful. No, she might not be able to summon lightning like Thor but besides that she has the exact same skill set as him and that’s why I am an absolute fan of hers. And did I mention she was cool? 🙂

7. Shuri

Letitia Wright in Black Panther (2018)

Shuri is awesome, pure and simple. Not only is she a Wakandan princess but she’s also the lead scientist of the technologically advanced African nation (and she’s just a teenager by the way) and she’s a superhero! She’s basically the female version of Tony Stark, except smarter and cooler. 🙂

Black Panther is representing black women in the most beautiful ways and to know that young girls will be able to see a character this amazing and self-confident is not only a great thing but it is an inspiring realization. Hopefully Shuri will be around for many years to come.

6. Black Widow

I love Black Widow. She’s beautiful, deadly, intelligent, and she can kick some serious butt. You would think, because she’s an assassin, that she wouldn’t be able to hold her own against the terrible forces that The Avengers have to fight every now and then but she can. That makes her more than just an assassin, she truly is an Avenger as well.

She’s also complex too. The brief hints at her back story helped reveal a darker side of her that had never been seen before and will hopefully be explored in her standalone film.

I’m so glad she’s finally getting her own movie. It’s about time. I mean, she’s one of the most loved and earliest Avengers and yet she still, in every movie that she’s been in, has been a co-star. I am beyond excited to see her finally shine in her own movie.

5. Ripley

I had no idea why Sigourney Weaver was a movie icon…until I watched Alien. In 1979 there weren’t a lot of delightfully strong heroines displayed in movies but Ripley was undoubtedly one of them. In the movie she isn’t used as a love interest or a damsel in distress, she is portrayed as just another astronaut alongside the predominantly male astronaut crew she’s in. When things start getting crazy she’s the only crew member who didn’t absolutely freak out and that is stunning.

Alien is a disturbingly frightening movie and undoubtedly the scariest sci-fi film I have ever watched but at least there was Ripley to make you feel a little less horrified. Now, of course, she was scared because how can you not be scared? Think about being trapped on a ship with an alien that wants to kill you. That’s beyond terrifying but she handled herself remarkably well in that horrendous situation. Her strength in the movie is astoundingly brilliant and it’s why she’s still an icon to this day.

4. Princess/General Leia

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Star Wars wouldn’t be Star Wars today if you didn’t have Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. They were the foundation that made the movie resonate with millions of people and Leia was a huge part of that foundation. When she first appeared in A New Hope she was a princess, yes, but she wasn’t your typical princess. She wasn’t like Cinderella or Rapunzel or Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. She was a Star Wars princess and that entails not a damsel in distress but rather a feisty, intelligent woman who is willing to die for the cause she believed in.

Throughout the films she has been a politician, a warrior, a lover, a wife, a mother, a sister, a general, and she has been unwaveringly powerful. When she spoke every one listened. When she commanded people to do something they did it.

She helped inspire girls around the world that we as women can be strong and beautiful without compromising our integrity and our goals. Princess Leia is a heroine in many people’s lives and as the story of Star Wars finally continues without her the impact she left in this franchise will be felt for a long, long time.

3. Okoye

Danai Gurira in Black Panther (2018)

Okoye is off the chain! Oh my goodness, I love her so much. She’s such a strong woman in Black Panther because, well, she’s the general of Wakanda. And she is quite the general too. She’s not the smily type. If she doesn’t like or trust you she will let you know with the way she looks at you. She immediately authoritizes herself over everyone, except for the royal family, and you can sense that. She is second to no one and that’s why I love her so much.

I also love her belief in the beautiful and natural ways of Wakanda women. One of my favorite scenes with her in Black Panther is when she comments on the wig she has to wear as a disguise during a certain sequence of the movie. I’m a black woman with natural hair and so it was so relatable seeing her despise the wig. She got rid of that wig at the first chance she got too. Brilliant. 🙂

I also love how incredible of a fighter she is. In Marvel there are a lot of powerful superheroes but there aren’t any like her. She has this spear and she knows how to use it too. It’s amazing. The first time I saw her in action my jaw dropped a little. Like I said before, Okoye is off the chain!!! I can’t wait to see her kick some alien butt in Avengers: Infinity War.

2. Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman (2017)

I mean come on, it’s Wonder Woman. How can you not love Wonder Woman?! She’s gorgeous, powerful, benevolent, she’s frankly, in my opinion, the leader of the Justice League, she’s got that incredible Lasso of Truth (I love the lasso) and she’s simply awesome. Yeah, I might not have liked the way they treated her origin story (it could’ve been MUCH better) but she’s still one of the greatest heroines ever!

Gal Gadot did a marvelous job portraying the iconic heroine and I can’t wait to see her again in future DC movies. Hopefully those films will be better than the last few. *shrug*

1. Rey

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)

This, frankly, isn’t a surprise. I mean, I love me some Rey! Ever since the first time I saw her in that eensy weensy teaser for The Force Awakens (at the time I thought she was Leia’s daughter) four years ago I was immediately intrigued. Then I watched the movie in 2015 and when I discovered that she was the new Jedi of this trilogy it was beyond amazing. I totally freaked out, in a good way. For so long I had been wanting a major female Jedi but there had never been one…until now. Thank you Disney for making my dreams come true.

And then after The Last Jedi my love for her only increased. Now did she have any groundbreaking moments like she did in The Force Awakens? No, not really, but she stayed on the level of coolness that made me such a Rey fan in the first place.

The casting for Rey was also perfect as well. Daisy Ridley was the perfect woman to play her because first of all, she was a widely unknown actress so she could make Rey her own and I didn’t have to say, “Oh, that’s such and such.” Secondly, she can act! The way she can just summon tears at will is very impressive. Third, she just looks awesome. She’s beautiful, vulnerable, tough, strong, smart, and kind all at the same time and she portrays that so well simply with her face.

I love Rey a lot and the thought that Daisy Ridley’s last appearance as Rey will be in Episode IX is kind of saddening to think about because I wish her story could go on and on. Unfortunately, it can’t, and so I’m going to treasure watching her in The Last Jedi and then one day, in the future, in Episode IX.

Well, these are my ten favorite heroines. I thank you for reading and I hope you have a glorious day.

The Women of ‘Black Panther’

Marvel hasn’t been known for incorporating a lot of female superheroes in their movies (until recently.) For a while Black Widow was the only female superhero in the superhero franchise until 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy introduced assassin sisters Gamora and Nebula into the fold. Since then the female superheroes have appeared at an increasing rate. Avengers: Age of Ultron debuted Scarlet Witch. Doctor Strange had The Ancient One. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brought forth a new heroine, Mantis. Thor: Ragnarok unleashed the fiery Valkyrie into the MCU as well as the franchise’s first female villain, Hela. And now Black Panther.

Out of all seventeen previous films there have been only eight female superheroes, and four of them appeared in the last two years! This has been a male-dominated franchise for a long time but that’s slowly being cut into and the arrival of Black Panther helps that immensely as it introduced the most women we’ve seen in a Marvel film to date. Not only were their four major heroines in the film but there were plenty of strong, powerful women surrounding them as well and it was a marvel (see what I did there?) to see. And more importantly, they were black!

We, as black women, rarely see ourselves represented in such an epic fashion onscreen and to see so many of us, at one time, portrayed as strong, beautiful, intelligent, and downright awesome was and still is one of the best experiences of my life. So today I’m going to celebrate the arrival of these powerful women and I hope you enjoy. 🙂

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The Defining Moments of Rey

For the next nine days I’m writing about the defining moments of nine of Star Wars’ most important characters and today, on this fascinating segment, I’ll talk about my favorite moments from Rey throughout The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi so far.

SPOILER ALERT! This post will contain spoilers from The Last Jedi and so if you haven’t seen the film yet I advise you to discontinue reading now. Thank you for heeding my warning and enjoy!

1. When Rey Refused To Sell BB-8 To Unkar Plutt

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When we first meet Rey in The Force Awakens we don’t exactly know if she’s the good guy or not. We figure she is but there is no guarantee. And then when you see her save BB-8 from the clutches of the vile Teedo you get a sense that she is definitely, at least, a kind person. This is explored even further however when she is given a serious choice. She could have sold BB-8 for sixty rations which would’ve been great for herself but she instead chose the selfless act by giving herself only one-half portion of food to keep BB-8 from the grubby hands of Unkar. It immediately relayed her benevolent character to the audience and established her as this trilogy’s seemingly clear-cut new hero.

2. The Jakku Chase

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The moment that made me an immediate Rey fan was when she and Finn had to escape the stormtroopers. In the moment when Finn spotted the stormtroopers he took Rey’s hand and pulled her into a run because he felt that he had to protect her but Rey quickly squashed that idea as she wiggled free of his grasp. She established, in that moment, that she wasn’t going to be a damsel in distress. She was going to be the Luke of this trilogy and the men were going to have to follow her lead. Awesome!

3. Discovering Luke’s Lightsaber

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Rey had no idea that running into Finn and BB-8 on Jakku would change her life in the way that did but it set in motion the Force awakening within her. The Force led her to Luke’s lightsaber locked away in a chest deep within a castle thousands of lightyears away which, of course, led her eventually to the man himself, Luke Skywalker.

The vision she received as she touched the lightsaber also hinted at her connection to Kylo Ren by showing him a couple of times even though she had never seen him before. At one point it shows him saving her from a mysterious person about to attack her as she lay vulnerable upon the ground (I believe this is referenced to him saving her from Snoke) and at another time poised to fight her in the snowy forest of StarKiller Base which did eventually take place as well.

This is a powerful moment for Rey that sets her on the path of her destiny.

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Superhero Women vs. ‘Star Wars’ Women: Who Is Greater?

In the past decade there has been a steady positive increase in the way women are portrayed through movies and television and last year the three highest grossing films were all led by women; Emma Watson’s Beauty and the Beast, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Daisy Ridley’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That’s a powerful realization when just a few years ago men still highly dominated the blockbuster realm. Movies, and television shows, today are showing women not as damsels in distress but instead as complicated, strong women who don’t need men to dictate their every action or sway their minds. That’s pretty great. And the trend is only continuing. Next year we’re getting an all-female Ocean’s film (awesome) among many other movies undoubtedly helmed by incredible women.

So today, in honor of all of the powerful ladies of cinema, I’m going to compare five magnificent female superheroes against Star Wars’ five greatest heroines. Enjoy!

Scarlet Witch vs. Jyn Erso

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I like Scarlet Witch a lot. I’ve liked her since Avengers: Age of Ultron. She’s extraordianarily powerful, she has a cool outfit, and she is a strong character. Unfortunately she’s surrounded by so many more important characters that her story usually is more of an afterthought than the main focus of the movies and so she hasn’t been given the chance to shine yet. Hopefully, in Avengers: Infinity War, she’ll have an actual story in the movie and won’t be used as only a vessel for romance in the film.

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Jyn is feisty, strong, she says whatever is on her mind, and she is not afraid of anything. I would say she’s an impeccable heroine. Her role in Rogue One was also fantastic because it never felt obvious that she was the only woman in the movie, besides Mon Mothma and the Leia cameo, because she was such a leader. She helped orchestrate one of the greatest victories the Rebellion ever had and that’s very impressive. She’s also awesome because she has such a rough look.

She never once tries to make herself look good. Her hair is messily tied, her skin is dirty, and her clothes aren’t worn to flatter. I think that’s my favorite thing about Jyn and it’s important for little girls to see a heroine who’s just as tough, or tougher, than the men she’s around.

I love Scarlet Witch but because she hasn’t really been given a story yet Jyn obviously wins this round.

Star Wars Women: 1 point

Continue reading Superhero Women vs. ‘Star Wars’ Women: Who Is Greater?

My Tribute to Carrie Fisher

Star Wars is a franchise that has lived and transcended generations. The cultural phenomenon began way back in 1977 and now, after 40 years, the excitement for this seemingly unending franchise is even stronger. The question is, what was it that made this science-fiction space opera resonate with so many people? Was it the lore of the story, was it the music, was it the characters? I believe there was a collaboration of all of these different aspects but the characters were a huge part of why A New Hope 40 years ago became such a global hit.

You had Luke, the simple farm boy who wanted to explore the stars and follow in the footsteps of his “dead” father. Then there was Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, the wise mentor. You had the rascally Han Solo, a scoundrel at first meeting but a hero at heart.

And finally you have Princess Leia, which this post is dedicated to.

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At the time when A New Hope came out if you thought about the definition of a princess you would only think about a damsel in distress stuck in a tower. Princess Leia rewrote that narrative. Princess Leia didn’t run screaming from the stormtroopers, she shot at them. Princess Leia didn’t whimper in the face of Darth Vader, she patronized him. This was pretty much unheard of in that day and age of movies.

She was one of the pioneers of all the strong women you have in film today. Throughout A New Hope she never played the role of damsel in distress. And yes, she was rescued, but she didn’t treat her rescuers like they were “her heroes.” She instead told them off for not coming up with a better escape plan.

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My Thoughts After The Second Viewing of Wonder Woman

I watched Wonder Woman back in June and I loved it. I thought it was a great introduction to the Amazonian warrior and I thought it was a huge step in the right direction for the DC Universe. Wonder Woman was beautiful, smart, benevolent, powerful, everything that you would want Wonder Woman to symbolize and to be. The movie had its flaws but overall it was an enjoyable film.

So, Wonder Woman is now available to watch at home and I was excited to see it again. And I watched it hoping that it would be just as great as it was when I watched it in the movies. And for the most part, it was.

I absolutely loved the section of the movie when Diana was still at her home, Themyscira.

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I mean who doesn’t love seeing a land where there are countless powerful women, of all colors, shapes, and sizes, in one place? It’s a girl’s dream to see something that powerful and epic and it involving only women. So the first portion of the film is hands down my favorite section of the movie but the movie still was rather enjoyable even after that.

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Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time Finally Has A Trailer

I love Disney and I love their movies, from The Incredibles and The Lion King to The Avengers and Star Wars. For the past seven or so years, Disney has released all of these live-action adaptations of their famous animated films like The Jungle Book as well as classic fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast. Now to add to that list of movies Disney is releasing their take on a children’s classic, A Wrinkle In Time and a trailer has finally been released.

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