Monday, August 12, 2013

10 Movies starring Strong & Confident GIRLS!

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Ever since I found out we were pregnant with a girl, I have been stressing over how to save her from the princess culture that surrounds us (an ironic sentence, I am aware).
I realize, there is of course no way of getting around most princess movies, but life is all about balance. It doesn't mean I have to own Little Mermaid or Sleeping Beauty.

I began searching for a good list of movies to encourage little girls to become strong, confident women and was pretty disappointed in the lack of interest that seems to be out there.  So, I decided to make my own list.
Honestly though, I am looking for input! So please feel free to comment and let me know your favorites!

1. How could I not list Brave first?  I seriously can't get enough of this movie.  Disney has finally done it right.  This movie is not only not centered around a love story, but there is never any love interest.  It is about a strong, albeit rebellious girl and how she learns to respect her mother (and how her mother grows to respect her).  I get shivers just writing about it. It's truly a beautiful film.

2. I am embarrassed to admit I just saw this film for the first time a few weeks ago.  And, I think I just cried because it gave me hope (I know silly. But, Pregnant).  The only bummer about Mulan is the short and awkward love story they needed to throw in at the end of the movie.  What a disappointment. However, this is a movie I'd be proud to let my daughter watch.

3. If historical accuracy is something you are concerned about, better knock this one off your list.  But, if you'd just like some refreshingly strong role-models in your children's watch list then Pocahontas is for you.  She chooses her own path instead of the guy (both of them).  Incredibly inspiring ... for all of us.

4. I know, I know, we are trying to get away from the whole 'princess-thing'.  BUT, I am an advocate for The Little Princess, who does claim "all girls are princesses."  I think most of the imaginary games I played as a child centered around stories like hers: father's at war, we're stripped of our title and money & left to wander the neighborhood in our dressup clothes until we find someone who cares.  (seriously, we would drag our little red wagon up and down the sidewalk with our baby dolls cuddled up inside, pretending we were sneaking through war-zones).  Great for the imagination.

5.  Duh! it's just so good! A curious little girl finds and cultivates a garden.  Really? Could it get any better?

6.  So, you have to get past the whole bizarre story line of parents lying and separating their children, meanwhile the children try (successfully) to get their parents back together. Just weird.  But, that doesn't mean that Haley Mill's characters aren't smart, independent and creative little girls who also can play the guitar and piano!

7.  Ok, this movie might be a stretch for you.  The daughter is bratty and the mother is a nagging smoker. But, it's a great mother-daughter movie. Teaching empathy, understanding and what it's like to walk a mile in another's shoe (quite literally in this case).

8.  The girl we love to be around (waaaa-O). Do I really need to say more?

9.  Anne spelled with an 'e'.  Oh, sigh. She never gets old.  I reread and re-watch these movies more than I'd like to admit.  She is smart, independent and never makes the same mistake twice :) 

10.  Although this image is from the newest Little Women, I have to admit I am partial to the 1949 version.  I mean Elizabeth Taylor! Janet Leigh! June Allyson! Sorry, no matter how good the new cast is, they just don't compare (If only we could somehow get Christian Bale in the 1949 version, it'd be perfect).   
What ever version you choose, just don't leave this one out.  Here is a movie with five women all strong, intelligent and creative.  They live in poverty and make the most of it.  It's such a beautiful tale of struggle and hope.

Here is a little music to enjoy today, which I'd like to dedicate to a few beautiful strong women in my life: Katie, Sarah, Caroline and Tara.  There is no movie or book that compares to the strong, confident and intelligent women we have in our lives. 

Orchard House (Main Title) by Thomas Newman on Grooveshark



  1. Anastasia is another good one! She was always my favorite, even though she wasn't a Disney princess. Sassy redheaded Russian who ends up discovering her past and saving the day? Yes please!

    1. Ah! yes! It's been forever since I've watched this. It is definitely going in my queue!

  2. Yes you picked some great ones. (OMG the secret garden!) Um, have you see any of Hayao Miyazaki's movies? Almost all of them have strong lead female roles in them. Personal favourites being Princess Mononoke, Spirited away, Kiki's delivery service, Howls moving castle,,.. well those are just a few. :]

    1. Yeah, especially Howl's Moving Castle. I love to see my little girl admiring a woman who is neither young nor beautiful, but totally kick-ass in her leadership ability and resourcefulness. Sophie is a great role model!

      And Sara Crew may be a little princess, but she is brave, adventurous and imaginative. And she loves her daddy. :)

    2. AH! I did see Princess Mononoke once. A very dear friend made me watch it and I remember being super weary at first, but ended up LOVING it! I'll definitely check out the other ones! Thanks girls!

    3. My daughter loves Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. She loves all of Miyazaki's films, but this one really struck a chord with her (Nausicaa is a princess/environmentalist/warrior and a very strong, brave, and noble character). She first saw it when she was about 2 1/2; she's not 7 and after at least a hundred viewings it is still one of her favorites. Some of her other early favorites were The Labyrinth, Coraline, and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. She's always been a little gothy :)

    4. Oh, I'd forgotten about Coraline! Pretty sure my Beatrice would love that. She's 4 and likes to affectionately call me "Mean Mama,."

  3. This is great! Going to check back for more responses to add to my list for both Ellie and I :) but we let Ellie watch movies like Cinderella and beauty and the beast, she's in it for the song and dance. All about balance like you said. Plus I figure I watched them as a kid and I turned out pretty strong (if I do say so)!

    1. You make a really good point melanie. I'd like to think I'm fine too - although I did spend many years wondering, waiting, hoping for my 'one true love'. Would I have anyways or was it conditioning? I just don't know.

      (AND I love beauty and the beast. I really wanted to make an honorable mention list of 'Tangled' and 'Beauty and the Beast' because the main characters in those movies aren't settling for their 'provincial lives'.)

  4. A friend just reminded me of 'A League of their Own' which isn't appropriate for the little ones, but is a Great girl movie once you deem it fitting.

  5. I will say that I like Jasmine in Aladdin. She doesn't want to just be married off, and wants adventure, and all that good stuff.

    Hermione in the Harry Potter movies is awesome and doesn't become a "love interest" until the later movies. Seriously, I think she is one of the greatest children literary females of all time.

    Also, not a movie, but a book: The Paperbag Princess. Whenever any of my friends are having daughters, I buy this for them.

    And, yeah, sorry again not a movie, but Ramona Quimby books are great. Wait! They did make a movie recently, with Selena Gomez.

    Labyrinth? I adored that movie as a child and Sarah is definitely strong and smart and clever. NOT a princess. Except for in that weird trippy ball scene. ;-)

  6. Thought of more! I LOVED to watch Ella Enchanted with my daughter when she was young. Has a love interest but way more to it than THAT.