There are very few movies out there that make the cut when it comes to feminist approval. This is not a list of them, and no, I am not going to recommend that you make your daughter watch Thelma And Louise.
These movies do not all promote the healthiest of female body types, they are not all void of male characters, and yes, many of them do involve quite a bit of sexuality. So, it is up to you to decide when you feel that your own daughter is mature enough to handle these themes.
These movies are movies that I would not want my daughters to leave home without having watched. Some of them empower, some warm the heart, and some teach great life lessons. They all have something special to offer to young women.
1. Mulan (1998). Of course number one is Mulan! It is pretty much the best Disney has ever pulled off. I have watched it with my daughters more times than I can count. It teaches individuality, responsibility, ingenuity, camaraderie, loyalty, and self-love. I honestly do not know what more I could ask for in a film to show to my girls.
2. Mama Mia (2008). It is a beautifully independent story about mothers and daughters. Yes, it contains a lot of sexuality, but quite honestly, kids tend to miss it in the midst of all of the music and the sparkles. My mother insisted on taking me to see this film in the theater and I broke into tears in the first scene at the mere sight of the beautiful Greek islands where it was filmed.
3. Practical Magic (1998). The loyalty, and triumph, and strength of community that are in the focus of this film have kept it on my list of favorites for almost twenty years now.
4. Home For The Holidays (1995). This movie came out the year that I graduated from high school, and I fell in love. I think that young people, especially, can relate to how lost we all feel in the midst of our crazy families, yet love them to death none-the-less.
5. In And Out (1997). This is a movie that I am always surprised to find that a lot of people have missed. It is absolutely beautiful in the way that it portrays the value of everyone’s individual uniqueness. There is a moment in the film, when all of the older ladies from the town are sitting around telling their secrets, that brings me to tears every time.
6. Say Anything (1989). It took me a while to understand what this film means to me, because unlike most of the world, I never found it very romantic. The dynamic of the main character and her father is the part of the story that really gets me. This is a fantastic coming of age film.
7. To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (1995). This is my favorite Swayze movie of all time. Yes, it is about three drag queens traveling across the country. It is also about women and the things that they go through, and the lives that they live, and the importance of sticking together.
8. Pump Up The Volume (1990). This one is definitely for an older audience. It has some pretty mature content. The film speaks to the validity of youth, its power, and the message that young people have to share.
9. Never Been Kissed (1998). To begin with Barrymore looks beautiful, and very healthy in this film: a fantastic example for young women. Additionally, the premise of the movie and the moral, are both heartwarming and meaningful.
10. Heathers (1988). This is another film that requires a little maturity to understand. The film contains sexual content, and the message that it conveys is one that I still find pretty unsettling. This film is still very relevant for young women today.