Live Poll: Most Female-Empowering 'Girl Power' Movie?

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Each March in the USA, we recognize female achievements and progress toward gender equality during Women's History Month.

Which of these movies or movie franchises driven by a strong female protagonist or female group is the most empowering story for women?

See the very partial list of subjective empowering "girl power" driven movies and franchises here: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls036998770/

Poll: https://www.imdb.com/poll/rgUizu8lZ_Y/
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urbanemovies

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Posted 1 year ago

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Stephen N Russell

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My picks:
Thelma Louise
Wonder Woman
The Help
GI Jane
Tomb Raider ( orig & new version)
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Peter, Champion

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Where's Spice World?

(I'm kidding, although it would be a fun final option.)
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urbanemovies

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It is funny that you mention that movie, I was just thinking about how subjective this list is and also how what maybe empowering to some maybe downright offensive to others. So, maybe Spice World does belong???

I had a hard enough time getting down to thirty-five, that I am pretty sure it wasn't a borderline option (at least for me) with better options available. But, based on the millions upon millions of twenty-somethings that idolized the group, I sure they would make some lists.
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Peter, Champion

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I think many girls certainly felt empowered by the Spice Girls.
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ElMo

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Many girls of my age were, but 95% of them wouldn't admit it lol
One thing I know about the film, it inspired one of Ebert's funniest reviews
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/spice-world-1998:
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Dibyayan Chakravorty, Champion

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I have a suggestion. A movie from India - 'Lipstick Under My Burkha', controversial, won multiple awards.
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urbanemovies

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Thanks, I appreciate the suggestion, I had heard of film. The Oxfam award for gender equality, its boldness and the film's reputation for challenging cultural norms are what would make this brave movie a good choice. I have some concerns about the film in terms of its raw portrayals and how it makes female audience members feel empowered themselves.
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Ibrahim Akhtar

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Hidden Figures or Wonder Woman.
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ElMo

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I'm not sure about the inclusion of superhero or superpower movies... does a figure like Superman 'empower' guys? No, he just entertains us and appeals to us... but we know we'll never be Supermen. Same goes with Wonder Woman, Hunger Games or Tomb Raider, I doubt the majority of women will ever identify to any of these characters like they would with Thelma and Louise, Norma Rae, Karen Silkwood etc. 

About empowering guys, by the way, you can't say there's no movie to empower men because they 'already' have the power, not all men do... many of us are just average guys who don't have what it takes to fit in society unless we accept to get it and build more confidence... because empowering is all about motivating people who feel they don't have the power and that's totally gender-blind, maybe more than ever. Superman, Batman or Zorro don't empower guys, Rocky, the Little Tramp or Andrew Beckett do. Hell, they could even empower women but let's focus on female protagonists.

Totally agree with the female biopics or  strong fictional protagonists, in fact, if you check the list of all the Oscar nominated performances from actresses in leading roles, you'd find many contenders:

The Queen
Jezebel
Gone With the Wind (after all, Scarlett O'Hara is bad-ass in her own way)
Gloria (the one with Gena Rowlands, not the crappy remake with Sharon Stone)
Fargo
Mrs. Miniver
Elizabeth
Gorillas in the Mist
Terms of Endearment
The Color Purple
What's Love Got To Do With it
The Hours

Also how about:
Amelie
Fried Green Tomatoes
Any version of Joan of Arc
Any version of Marie Curie
Belle from any version of Beauty and the Beast

I think these are the real empowering movies, because it wasn't just about empowering for the sake of empowering. I bet there are many producers today (probably guys) who just think all it takes is to give a woman an arrow or a super-weapon and they'll have their 'empowering movie' with all the marketing around it. Cinema didn't wait for it to become a commercial trend, from the start, there were actors and actresses and movies with strong female protagonists played by Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis or Ingrid Bergman.

Anyway, sorry for being so long, I'm not asking for agreement just my opinion on the subject, it reminds me of this scene from The Simpsons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_j4BlrDO7k
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urbanemovies

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I used several lists to compile the list, including some feminist lists and others that noted how significant these films were for gender equality or how empowering they were to girls/women. So, it is not a personal subjective opinion of what is empowering or a personal list, neither is it a list from a single source.

I would agree the types of characters and stories for women/girls would be different than those that would be empowering to boys/ men. I think movies that are inspirational, offer a role model and challenge past media portrayals that were not non-gender equal would be great candidates.

In superhero movies women no longer need to be saved, they are the ones saving themselves or doing the saving. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Lois Lane saves Superman, that wouldn't have been written that way twenty years ago. So, I can understand these movies being included as well as how powerful the Superhero genre is on shaping our society. I was even a bit surprised to see Mad Max: Fury Road being cited as a ground-breaking feminist film

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias
were also cited as empowering female movies. In the end, I would bet the comic book movie is far more influential, but I would do well to make sure that segment gets fairly represented as well in the poll suggestion.
(Edited)
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urbanemovies

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P.S. I like the suggestions, the primary issue is there are too many fine films to fit them all.

Are there one of two that feel strongly about, that would be relevant to today's movie goers and scream empowerment with a strong female lead or cast?
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urbanemovies

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I furthered refined the criteria to focus of the most well-known and popular titles, I like EIM's suggestion, but I think a poll focused solely on critically acclaimed titles would do them more justice. I think there are more than enough options to do both with minimal overlap.

Most Female-Empowering Popular 'Girl Power' Movie?

Girl power is a popular slogan that encourages and celebrates women's empowerment, independence, and confidence.

Which of these well-regarded popular movies* or movie franchises driven by a strong female protagonist or female group is the most empowering story for women? *50,000+ IMDB votes and 6.5+ IMDb rated
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urbanemovies

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bump
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urbanemovies

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(Edited)
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ElMo

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 I wanted to suggest Spike Lee's debut "She's Gotta Have It", it's a pity the votes criteria don't make it eligible to your list, because it's more girl-empowering than many of the usually labeled as girl power movie in an ahead of its time way, which make it more impressive, I reviewed it recently but here's the pitch: The story of Nola Darling's simultaneous sexual relationships with three different men is told by her and by her partners and other friends. All three men wanted her to commit solely to them; Nola resists being "owned" by a single partner.

Now I know I'll sound like a broken record but I'm never really sure about what "girl power" means, some films just happen to have heroic female protagonists, that's all. And I mean "that's all" in a positive way, their heroines' appeals were as broad as if they were men, we didn't cheer for Clarice because she was a woman, or more if we were a female audience, I don't think anyone intended to make a feminist or girl empowering statement while making the film. It's not the same for "Thelma and Louise" or "Mulan" which perfectly fit the criteria.

"Rocky" is an average-Joe empowering movie but not all films about average Joes are, "Billy Elliott" is a boy empowering movie but not all films about boy are, "Malcolm X" is an African-American empowering movie but not every film about African Americans are so why is it that every film about women should de facto be a film that empowers women.

Maybe there's the gender factor playing here since I'm only referring to movie about men or men and women. Maybe I'm wrong (and I put it in bold to insist that I'm not giving a lecture) but I've learned to make a distinction between "female empowering" movies and "female led" movies, if we assumed both were the same, I'm afraid it would be rather patronizing toward women (not saying it's anyone's intention of course) because that would mean that any movie with a strong female protagonist is endorsing girl power and not trying to please a male audience just like girls would enjoy a good old 'Stallone. I think it kind of entraps movies into a social-political framework they might not have intended.

There must be some moment in the film where it's said or implied that it's all about women conquering the power they don't have. "Fried Green Tomatoes" would be an interesting addition, in fact, how about "Dangerous Liaisons"; who said they all had to be heroic, here's what Madam de Merteuil said :

"Well, I had no choice, did I? I'm a woman. Women are obliged to be far more skillful than men. You can ruin our reputation and our life with a few well-chosen words. So, of course, I had to invent, not only myself, but ways of escape no one has every thought of before. And I've succeeded because I've always known I was born to dominate your sex and avenge my own."

That's a girl power speech if I ever read one. But maybe the film doesn't fit... anyway, i think we should have a deeper reflexion on that "girl power" subject.


(Edited)
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urbanemovies

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Sorry, options are limited on this one as there are too many worthy movies to do them all justice.

Which of these well-regarded popular movies* or movie franchises driven by a strong female protagonist or female group is the most empowering story for women? *50,000+ IMDB votes and 6.5+ IMDb rated

I limited the scope on this Girl Power version to the most  popular titles. As I said above "I furthered refined the criteria to focus of the most well-known and popular titles, I like EIM's suggestion, but I think a poll focused solely on critically acclaimed titles would do them more justice. I think there are more than enough options to do both with minimal overlap." Maybe, even focusing on a third limited release or lesser known award winning titles could be the scope on another version (ie. $175,000 budget "She's Gotta Have It  Award of the Youth" Foreign Film — Spike Lee (won), 1986 Cannes Film Festival Best First Feature — Spike Lee (won), 1987 Independent Spirit Awards)
(Edited)
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Good Job UM
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Congratulations urbanemovies on your 291st live poll! As of 20-Mar-2019 8:35 PM Pacific your polls have 436,853 or more votes, for an average of 1,501 votes per poll.

Most Female-Empowering Popular Girl Power Movie?
7536th Live Poll: https://www.imdb.com/poll/rgUizu8lZ_Y/
Seen:
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This is the 3,382nd Title poll. Such polls have a total of 8,059,968 votes for an average of 2,383 votes per poll.
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