Yes, we women rock! I am an old movie buff. I have always loved films. I grew up the road from Hollywood. Last year two films which were true stories uplifted all of us and showed how we women ROCK or ROCKED our world in a big way, and finally acknowledged women who had done great work. The two women empowerment films I am writing about are: Hidden Figures and The Eagle Huntress.
First, Hidden Figures (the actual story) took place when I was a child and then became a teenager when Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) were “computers” using their outstanding math and engineering skills at NASA to make the American space program possible. The fact they remained “hidden figures” until a few years ago, is stunning to me. Growing up I had NEVER heard about these women who were keys to the success of the space program. I was still fed the b.s. that women could not do math, even though my high school math teacher was a woman, and yes, I had my issues around math, until I had to teach it myself to adult GED students. When Dorothy Vaughn had to steal a Fortran book from the library to learn the computer language for IBM computers, I remembered stories that a Caucasian friend from South Carolina told me how he had to check out books for his black friend because there were two different libraries in the South. One for white folk, one for African Americans. Years ago, I also remember trying to learn Fortran myself, and not “getting it”.
This was an interview with Octavia Spencer about this film on NPR in early January:
The fact that these three exceptional women are African American showed me their tenacity, as well as their intelligence. They were fabulous examples of women working together. They along with the other women who were “computers” and then became computer programmers showed me and ALL of us women how powerful we are when we WORK TOGETHER, cooperating- not competing. Also for the open-minded men who watch this film, men get to learn how truly amazing we women can be. That also showed up in the Women’s March last week, where many men were present along side us women.
Not only did this film inspire me and others who see it, it has become part of one of the outings for young African American women to see in groups. The groups are from all over the country and are called Black Girls Code. The goal it to take at least 1,500 young black women to see Hidden Figures to inspire and encourage these young women to learn math. Fox Studios who distributes the film is helping to support this project. This story was also on npr.
The film the Eagle Huntress was a beautiful film that showed how young adult women are powerful, too, particularly with supportive parents. This documentary showed the strength of a 13-year old bright girl called Aisholpan from Mongolia who had a dream to become an eagle huntress. In her culture only men had been allowed to become eagle hunters. She was able to show the nay-sayers how capable, courageous, and strong she is.
At this film it was great to see young girls and women with their mothers and grandmothers at the small theater where this film was screened. The fact that both of these films were about women and our courage came out in 2016 is a great sign to me. Hollywood films are often escapism and massive budget films. These two stories are relevant to ALL of us today.
These are two films that remind all women and the men who love us that WOMEN ROCK and that ALL of us are needed to solve the problems that exist in our world today.
I know I will use both of these films to empower me when I am feeling hopeless or thinking that I and this world lack courage to do the right thing. When I am doubt, too, I love to listen to this song: