Growing up, I watched a lot of movies. Movies make or break our minds. Influence us in ways we cannot imagine. Thus, it is important that we watch empowering and inspiring movies. Here is my story of how two different movies shaped and influenced my mind.
We all know the story of Cinderella. But just for everyone’s sake let’s recap it. This story is about how, after her father’s death, her wicked stepmother turns her into a virtual servant in her own house. The prince then falls in love with her due to her kindness and charisma, leading to their marriage and Cinderella’s freedom from servitude and torture. Before I go ahead, a reminder – this movie was released in the year 1950.
Now, let’s talk about another movie, one of my personal favourites, Moana. This masterpiece of a movie was released in 2016; it tells us a story about a girl who travels above and beyond the great ocean to save her family and her tribe.
Cinderella was kind, compassionate, hopeful, sweet, a dreamer, optimistic and good-hearted. Whereas Moana’s character is headstrong, capable, strong-willed, determined, courageous, hardworking, responsible and kind. Cinderella is kind but helpless, whereas Moana is kind AND resourceful. I might get cancelled for this, but I think Cinderella was not street-smart or resourceful.
The movie could have been empowering in so many ways – Cinderella could’ve found a job and become financially independent. With her enhanced skill set and charismatic aura, that would not have been tough. Instead, we see her endure the torture for years, instead of standing up for herself, until a man saved her from her toxic household.
The movie was made in 1950, gender equality was not a prominent theme. But now that we are aware, do we want our kids to watch such unempowering films? Do we want young girls to see such movies and believe that they need a man to save them in any way? It’s important to become aware of what we consume.
I would like to compliment Disney on evolving the spectrum and awareness of movies in different areas related to equality over the years. We can see the progress of Disney in the last 60 years. On a personal note, I grew up watching Cinderella and I watched Moana as a young girl. Cinderella made me feel unrealistic, I found myself hopelessly waiting around for my prince charming to come and rescue me. But Moana opened my eyes to another world and another perspective on how women don’t need a man to complete them or save them. That they are enough, they are complete on their own. That women are independent, capable, and self-reliant. It blew my mind because I had never had a point of view like that. At that moment, I felt inspired, motivated and unstoppable.
So, it is extremely important to take note of what we consume. And what our friends, kids, and mothers consume. Even a film can influence our minds so deeply, we won’t even know it.