Films, the world over, have utterly failed feminists time and again. But, that’s changing and, these five characters, from Fleabag to Harley Quinn in Birds of Preys, are proof.
Played by: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Yes, we’re living in a world where we’re constantly expected to say the right things. Even when Phoebe Waller-Bridge was writing Fleabag, she had fears of being labelled a ‘bad feminist’ but this hit TV series is a breath of fresh air and as one views her bold, peculiar and sex-obsessed character’s journey. In one scene, Fleabag and her sister are asked in a feminist lecture if they would trade five years of her life for the “perfect body” and both of them raise their hands while her sister tells Fleabag that they’re both ‘bad feminists’. But, Fleabag doesn’t cater to the male gaze and that’s feminist enough.
JO MARCH IN LITTLE WOMEN
Played by: Saoirse Ronan
After starring in the critically-acclaimed 2017 film Ladybird, Saoirse Ronan has quickly risen to fame and has established herself as one of the most bankable stars. Her role in Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig, was positively radical. The film was adapted from the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott novel, which has always been a subversive story. Ronan delivers a compelling performance, portraying Jo March, who is an aspiring novelist and refuses to conform to social conventions of marriage for her artistic pursuits. It’s a character that has positively assured women to not give in to archetypes.
SAFINA IN GULLY BOY
Played by: Alia Bhatt
While Gully Boy showcased some stellar performances by the entire star cast, Safina’s role, played by Alia Bhatt, definitely is not a damsel in distress. She makes her own rules, be it for her career (like fighting with her parents for her education) or for a partner (she’s not afraid to have a fist fight with another woman for her boyfriend). She’s clear about what she wants and goes for it with conviction. What’s great about her role is that it’s rooted in reality, which makes her one of the rare but much-needed feminists of Hindi films.
HARLEY QUINN IN BIRDS OF PREY
Played by: Margot Robbie
Harley Quinn’s first major appearance was in Suicide Squad as Joker’s girlfriend, who is covered in tattoos, is overtly sexual and often talks about “belonging” to her boyfriend is the peak of male fantasy but Birds of Prey gives her a rehabilitation. In the film, she trades her heels for sneakers, is sexy but not sexually objectified an distances herself from her boyfriend and is absolutely irreverent.
Played by: Gal Gadot
The female superhero universe is not that big. And, chances are you have probably read half a dozen stories on why Wonder Woman is not a feminist film. But, the Patty Jenkins-directed film portrays Wonder Woman as the classic superhero who fights for peace and justice in a gritty manner and showcases why tenderness and the tenacity is a sign of strength. Plus, the sequel is going to be out this year in June. And, we can’t wait for it.