I had a column ready to go today and I accidentally deleted it. It now sits in that dimension where missing socks from the dryer go and I don’t think it is coming back. I have decided to share a previously published column that I enjoyed. After this I will be taking a month off of my writing duties for personal reasons and I will be back full force in June. This column was originally published in January 2014. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I will see you in June!
Alexandra Elaine Michaels xoxo
I know I usually focus on one character but this week we are going to mix it up a little. I am going to list a few movie bad girls that are not only self-empowered but really have a quality that I find inspiring and who make me want to be a better person by the lessons I’ve learned from them. I will give you the character, the movie and the trait I admire. I hope you’ll re-visit or watch some of these movies for the first time. Enjoy. These bad girls are a special breed.
“Hairspray” (1988) (2007)
Tracy Turnblad is not your average teen. She comes from a family that doesn’t have much money although she isn’t really aware of it and this girl loves life. She is the girl that is not in the popular cliques but she doesn’t really notice this either. She isn’t envious of the other kids. The only thing some of them have that she desires is a spot on a local dance show that airs after school everyday. Tracy manages to get on the show and then the fireworks fly. Tracy being the girl she is (she likes everyone for being themselves) makes friends with some of the black kids in school and she realizes they are not being treated equally only because their skin is dark. Tracy wages a small war for equality in a city full of prejudice and stands strong even risking jail time because she so firmly believes in helping people she knows are being oppressed. She knows that it is a new day and it is time for change and fairness for all. She is about to break the line between black and white whether Baltimore is ready or not. In this day and age wanting fair treatment for all is something special and the subject is just as relevant now with the issue of gay marriage in the spotlight. In ten years the subject of people’s discrimination will be something different, but we will always find adversity in the world, sometimes in our own back yard. Imagine a teenage girl with the fortitude to push forward against the status quo because she knows it is the right thing to do. She is a girl that stands proud and rightly so. If you see someone being treated improperly you can help to create that change. Standing on the sideline won’t accomplish a thing.
Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan
“The Help” (2011)
Skeeter is a young woman living in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights movement. She has recently returned home from college with a journalism degree. She takes a job with the local paper writing a column on housecleaning tips, a subject she knows absolutely nothing about. She persuades her friend Elizabeth to let her maid assist her with her column. Elizabeth reluctantly agrees. Skeeter begins noticing the dismal way the maids are treated by her “friends” and much to horror she will discover, even her mother who gave into peer pressure and fired her childhood maid Constantine who helped raise her and was family to Skeeter. She gets the idea for a book. A book that will detail the relationships between the maids and the white families they work for. The maids helped raise her friends and her friends have taken on the attitude of their parents towards these black women. Skeeter sets out to befriend some maids so she can get material for her book and sadly for the snotty women of Jackson the maids are going to talk not only about how they are treated but are going to give readers a peek behind closed doors at the lives these bitchy and snotty women really lead, giving away embarrassing secrets that prove not all the glitters is gold. Skeeter gets her book published and the women whose stories are in that book are up in arms. Their names have been changed but they know it is them. That is Skeeter’s insurance for the ladies that helped her. If they retaliate the real names can be given out for public humiliation. Skeeter leaves Jackson for New York to pursue her writing career (her life in Jackson is done after the book, but she can look at herself in the mirror because she knows she did right by the ladies who helped her) She not only gave the maids a voice, she gave them the money she was paid for the book because without them it would never have happened because the book is indeed their stories. She also reminded the rest of the town that before they stand in judgement and feel superior that perhaps they better take a look in the mirror first. It is another case of treating people (the maids) like people with feelings and emotions and reminding others (her “friends”) that they are not perfect and should think before they act. Again this is a case of standing for what is right and treating all people like people (and in Skeeter’s case putting a few in their place) We know right from wrong and giving the oppressed a voice and platform where they can be heard is a beautiful thing. We all have feelings and emotions and should be treated as such and we should try not to feel superior to others because of race, orientation, financial situation or beliefs. We are all different and that is one of the things that makes this world a beautiful place.
“Erin Brockovich” (2000)
Erin is a real life hero. She is a single mother of three that just wants to earn a living and support her kids. Through a series of events she ends up working for attorney Ed Masry. In the course of her work she is given the files for a real estate case where Pacific Gas and Electric is offering to purchase the home of Donna Jensen, a resident of Hinkley, California, the town where PG&E is located. Erin finds medical records in the file and begins to investigate. Something is very wrong in Hinkley. The more Erin digs the more horrifying it becomes. It turns out that the corporation told the townspeople that they would be using a safe form of chromium when in fact they are using hexavalent chromium which can cause all kinds of health problems, including cancer. It has gotten into the groundwater in Hinkley and now the residents are getting sick. The corporation claims they did nothing wrong. Now Erin, a woman with nothing more than an average education, a wardrobe that would make a nun blush, a mouth like a sailor and a sharp sarcastic wit is a about to work side by side with Ed Masry and bring a multi-billion dollar corporation to it’s knees and a town full of innocent victims to their feet as they make PG&E accountable for their actions. Erin is about to make history and change these people’s lives forever. She is a kind and compassionate woman who is going to fight for the little guy. The message here is one person can make a difference. It doesn’t take special training or skills. It is looking in yourself and knowing what it right and standing up for it, never backing down. If one woman could do this what would happen if we all stood up when we saw injustice?
There are so many more ladies I could talk about but we will stop at 3. Three very different types of film, three very different ladies, one common factor. Standing up for others because it is the right thing to do. If you have seen these movies watch them again. If you have never seen them, watch for the first time and enjoy. Make it a girls movie party night. Have snacks, wine and cheese or even a potluck dinner and enjoy some entertainment. Then have a discussion about these ladies with your girlfriends. You will surprise each other with your insights and thoughts. Until next time Embrace Your Inner Bad Girl because being an inspiration to others feels so damn good.