Recently I had a bit of a Netflix binge on some of my old favorite films and shows. Whether that was watching shows such as How I met your mother, childhood films or classic movies, I have really been enjoying seeing these films in a new way.
One film in particular I watched after many years was the fantastic ‘Mona Lisa smile’. When I watched the film this time round, it amazed me just how much I connected with the story and how much it moved me. I cried during the final scene and almost during the infamous scene in the classroom when Julia’s character Katherine Watson finally says what needs to said to these girls. This film touched me, and resonated with me long after the final credits.
It got me thinking about how women were viewed at that time (1950’s America), and comparing it to how we are viewed now. Not just by men, but how we view one another. During the course of the film, these highly intelligent girls only have one life plan, to get married. This is the ultimate goal, only surpassed by those that have children. Katherine Watson is horrified that these girls, deemed some of the smartest women in America have no ambition for careers of their own. In fact, her job as the History of Art teacher is often threatened to her because she of her views and her wanting of the girls to seek more than just a husband.
We have definitely progressed since then. But how many of us are asked if we are single and why? How many times do you feel pressured to be married with children by 35? How many times are women really encouraged that they can be the leaders?
These are questions I asked after watching. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a stay at home mother or wife. But when that is all we are expected to be, that it where the problem lies. Now more than ever, we need to continue the conversation that women really are the amazing and powerful specimens we know we are, just as men are too. It’s time we realise that trying to champion one sex as better than the other doesn’t work, and more importantly why would we want to?
Last year we had the possibility of the first female president in the United States. It wasn’t until I saw Hilary Clinton campaigning that it really hit me how completely mad it is that America haven’t yet hit that milestone. Women are capable of great things, we need to be sure to constantly promote this message to each other, to younger generations and throughout the world. I want every single girl to feel valued, to be able to get an education, make her own decisions about her life and her body and feel confident to do so. It sounds like a simple request, yet currently this is not the case for so many girls and women around the world.
We have made progress from when this particular film was set, yet there is still a long way to go. Every time I watch this film, I am filled with a fresh inspiration to spend more positivity and love to the female community. Female friendships are a force to be reckoned with, and I know without my friends I would be completely lost. Yet when women are bitchy, jealous or spiteful to one another, we are our own worst enemy. I admit that I have been jealous of other women for stupid reasons and engaged in gossip. Not every woman you meet will be your friend, or has to be, but showing each other respect is a major step in the right direction.
What women inspire you and why?