Here’s the background behind my best girl power movies list. I believe in dividing up our spaces into zones. In an office, there can be a work zone, a supplies zone and a reference zone. In a bedroom, there’s a sleeping zone, a dressing zone, and there can be a reading zone (sitting area) or an action zone (a desk for studying or a television for gaming). One of my clients who understands this concept asked me to help her set up her dissertation zone. She added a desk to a stationary bike and set up a supplies table right next to the bike. Next, we worked on what she wanted to see that would inspire her and keep her focused. She chose movie posters of Rey, the main character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, played by Daisy Ridley. She wanted strong, intense girl power. I’d say a female Jedi is pretty darn focused and intense.
This got us to talking about what the best girl power movies would be (and appropriate) to show her 10-year-old granddaughter when she comes for a visit this summer. Her family is not one that takes their children to R-rated movies just because the adults want to see a film that they like and don’t want to get a babysitter to watch the kids. There are a number of strong female roles in movies, but many films contain subject matter or language that’s too mature for a 10-year-old.
This is the list of best girl power movies that I created for her:
Wadjda – https://amzn.to/2GV9CGv
This is one of my all-time favorite movies! There are subtitles, but it’s worth it for a young girl to “read” this movie. In the film, a little girl struggles with fitting in. All she wants is a bike in a male-dominated, Islamic world. It takes place in the Middle East, yet so much of what she deals with is what we encounter here. This movie is uplifting and also makes me grateful that I live in the U.S. This was the first full-length feature that was filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia – and the first movie by a female Saudi director. Now that is girl power.
Hidden Figures – https://amzn.to/2Hhh0j5
Female, African-American NASA number crunchers struggle to work in the world of white men. It’s incredible what they had to go through just to be able to use their glorious brains for the good of the country.
Wonder Woman – 2017 – https://amzn.to/2vehS2Y
One of my favorite lines from this movie is when Wonder Woman says to Steve Trevor, “What I do is not up to you.” The film is obviously make-believe, but this movie is all about the power of women. Behind the scenes, before becoming a movie star, actress Gal Gadot, served her compulsory two years in the Israeli army as a combat instructor in the Israeli Defense Forces. And she earned the Miss Israel crown in 2004. I’d say she’s well-rounded.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – https://amzn.to/2JLSYLp
In addition to Rey, there are two female characters, played by Carrie Fisher and Laura Dern, in leadership roles who have to make some tough decisions.
Bend It Like Beckham – https://amzn.to/2JHWwhE
Cultural and gender barriers – plus there’s soccer! (Or “football” if you’re not from the United States.)
A Royal Night Out – https://amzn.to/2v9j3Rn
This is based on the alleged true story of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret’s night out on VE Day in 1945. It’s fun to see the possibility of what the future queen of England did that evening – both rebellious and mature – plus it’s a reminder of how much more freedom we have today.
A League of Their Own – https://amzn.to/2EKsuWL
Women and baseball circa WWII – a classic! “There’s no crying in baseball!”
True Grit – 2010- https://amzn.to/2JLiC2G
This is PG-13 because of some “cowboy” violence, but the story is all about a young girl who seeks righteousness and is determined to hunt down her father’s killer. The book, of course, is always better, but this movie was well done.
Ghostbusters 2016 – https://amzn.to/2GXs6Ku
Quite cheesy and contains some innuendo, but the women are scientists and strong.
Step – https://amzn.to/2Hl36wc
This is a documentary about inner-city high school girls in Baltimore who have a chance to “make it out” of the neighborhood and go to college. It’s a good reminder of the struggles that many families face and how much we have to be grateful for.
Mad Hot Ballroom – https://amzn.to/2v9T0tq
I don’t remember how many girls were spotlighted, but I loved this documentary about kids in inner-city New York who experienced culture through ballroom dancing competitions.
Beautiful Creatures – https://amzn.to/2HxjcAr
This might be too mature for a 10-year-old (witchcraft, kissing), but it’s basically a cross between Romeo & Juliet and Harry Potter set in the South. The teenage female lead, Lena, has some very tough decisions to make and power plays to contend with.
The Help – https://amzn.to/2HwOnvP
This movie is a social and historical lesson – segregation, racial tensions, women’s place in society in the 60’s, females who rebel against the status quo. As with most Hollywood films, the book is usually better, but this movie on its own is great, too.
What do you consider the best girl power movies to show a pre-teen?