Here are top movies with strong female characters that you can watch with your kids.
Movies are a fantastic medium to educate our children. They can learn so much from movies—the good, the bad, and the ugly. So, they must learn and pick the good while pruning away the negative influences of movie viewing.
There is a lack of real women portrayals in movies, more so in the Indian film industry. All that we expect as a society from a female lead is to look like a million bucks, pout, flutter her eyelids, and act helpless—and not to forget to shake whatever her Mama gave her. Thankfully, recent movies like The Dirty Picture, Queen, Piku, Pink, Manmarziyaan, and Thappad present the female standpoint in the films, but still, a lot left desired.
To find movies for kids with realistic female characters, a parent has their work cut out.
Here’s presenting nine movies for kids with honest and inspiring portrayals of women.
Technically not a princess, Mulan somehow makes it to the stereotypical ‘Disney Princess Club.’
Set in China’s paternalistic society, all that is expected of Mulan is to be a pretty, dumb doll who would make a suitable bride to a worthy Chinese man. And that, my friend, is how a ‘good’ daughter makes her family proud.
Thankfully, Mulan has a mind of her own and a steely gut despite her dainty exterior. She is extremely respectful, loyal, and obedient to her parents at the same time. When attacked by enemies, Mulan steps in and does the unthinkable act of saving China and its Emperor.
Coming from the caliber and genius of Hayao Miyazaki, this Japanese animation movie tackles two topical issues: feminism and environmentalism.
Miyazaki’s movies have always had feminist undertones. Dubbed in the voices of Tina Fey and Betty White, this gorgeous ‘under-the-sea’ themed movie is the tale of a goldfish ‘Ponyo’ who longs to be an actual human girl and Sosuke, a five-year-old boy.
All the female characters are presented realistically—like Lisa, Sosuke’s mother. She has an identity and life apart from her marriage and her role as a mother. She works at a nursing home. She completely trusts her child, Sosuke, to make independent choices and decisions in life. She is not a perfect mother and is at peace with it. She understands her limitations and the delicate balance of work-life on her health.
Faced with sexism right in her own family, Matilda bears the brunt, with her parents unfavourably choosing her brother over her every single time. Things aren’t any better at school either with an evil monster of a Principal, Miss Trunchbull. But in her teacher, Ms. Honey, she finds support and solace.
Matilda teaches girls to be stand up for themselves. She is interested in books and learning and least worried about dolls or catching and keeping a man.
Matilda is an outstanding role model and epitomizes intelligence, poise, kindness and goodness, courage, and charity. These are the traits we should inculcate in our future generation.
Oh, and she has magical powers!
Hailed as Disney’s original feminist, Mary Poppins is a kick below the belt to the male supremacy, patriarchy, and not to forget the utter stupidity prevalent in Great Britain in the 1960s.
The movie’s high point, the ‘Sister Suffragette’ song, is about women’s voting rights and freedom.
A covert revolutionary, Mary Poppins, is a powerful feminist icon. Her ‘gentle yet stern’ nurturing side, balanced personality, impeccable grace, and manners—Poppins is also an expert in reverse psychology who also possesses magical powers.
Even though this movie has been remade in 1999 and 2014, the original 1982 version remains the undisputed best.
Based on the comic strip ‘Little Orphan Annie,’ the protagonist is progressive and a true feminist icon. She knows how to handle anybody and any situation with intelligent tact, effortless grace, and an indomitable spirit.
“The Sun’ll come out tomorrow,” is her optimistic mantra as she triumphantly cruises along with life, going from rags to riches.
What I particularly loved about Annie is her ability to bring about a phenomenal transformation, not just in her own life but also in those around her.
Chak De India
This movie is a breakthrough movie in Hindi Cinema with its portrayal of powerful women characters.
A movie for slightly older kids thanks to the profanities, Chak De India! is an endearing and motivating story of Kabir, a former Indian Hockey Captain and now coach to the National Women’s Hockey team comprising 16 young women from various Indian states.
The movie stirs strong patriotic sentiments alongside addressing serious issues of racism and sexism. It also helps instill the values of confidence, team spirit, perseverance, and determination.
This fantastical coming of age movie starring the likes of Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie is unlike any other. Sarah, the female protagonist, is a level-headed teenager who does nothing stupid or lame, typical of the adolescent phase. She goes through the challenging transition phase into adulthood by confronting her fears and using her psyche’s powers. This movie is dark and more suitable for older children or young adults.
The Disney film is the story of a cute bunny called Judy Hopps, who aspires to be a tough cop. She is met with hurdles right from the word ‘Go.’ Be it her parents, friends, colleagues, or boss, she has to fight preconceived notions and fixed mindsets before finally realizing her dream. The movie is positive on so many levels and with many relevant messages ranging from feminism to diversity to racism and more.
* Originally published on Women’s Web