Image courtesy of PopBuzz
By Kat Kaderabek
Netflix’s newest female empowerment manifesto comes in the form of Moxie, an intersectional women’s empowerment film about gender double standards women encounter in high school. The film follows quiet and shy Vivian as she embraces her former-rebel mother’s female empowerment crusade by creating an anonymous zine entitled “Moxie.”
Throughout the film, viewers are able to see the dubbed “most obedient” Vivian find her voice in a world that doesn’t want to hear it. Vivian, along with a diverse group of friends, collectively bring to light their issues with the double-standards, racism, and homophobia present in their highschool.
An enjoyable and easily relatable film, Moxie is a great example of intersectionality in feminism. It features an extremely diverse cast, incorporating roles that range in sexuality, race, and even gender. The importance of representation is fully captured in the film as it also discusses matters of Black hair, gender-neutral bathrooms, and white-male privilege.
While some may classify this movie as an “anti-men movement,” the film does show several male characters of admirable behavior and stature. The values of respect and consent are heavily emphasized throughout the film and are vividly seen in the romantic-interest character, Seth Acosta, who is played by Nico Hiraga.
Other characters, like Mitchell Wilson played by Patrick Schwarzenegger, embody ego-centric, demanding, and expecting stereotypes associated with high school jocks. So while the movie breaks down and disintegrates many female stereotypes through various representations, it sticks to pigeonholing outgoing sports players into the category of brainless, manipulative rapists.
The movie is as much a manifesto as it is an entertaining film. Beneath the politics and messaging lies a film about standing up for what you believe in – the plot follows this typical trope with a similar and predictable ending.
In conjunction with its powerful messaging comes the girl-power, hard-rock soundtrack of Moxie. The film features old and new feminist bands from different generations and keeps them almost consistently playing throughout the movie. Such an example is the iconic band, Bikini Kill, whose music inspires Vivian to channel her frustration in a spur-of-the-moment creation of the Moxie zine. The full playlist for total enjoyment can be found here.
Overall, Moxie is a great addition to the feminist movement as it shows the true values the movement holds and highlights the double standards present in society, mainly regarding dress-code standards, female opportunities, and oppressive persons of power. Specifically, Moxie shows the feminist movement in Vivian’s high school butting up against another female in power, Principal Shelly, played by Marcia Gay Harden.
The culmination of their differences comes in a scene in which Principal Shelly explains the unequal treatment of two candidates vying for a scholarship. She said, “if you want a seat at the table, all you have to do is ask.” There is much to say regarding her antiquated philosophies on women and their positions. Moxie makes it clear that there should already be a place for women at the table.
The relatively unknown female cast of high schoolers is balanced out by other feminist icons such as Amy Poehler, who directed the film. After star Josephine Langford also plays a minor role in the film. Regarding the main cast’s debut performance, it was incredibly relatable and real. The characters were exceedingly brought to life by the cast, who themselves have most likely experienced the challenges the movie addresses. Overall, Moxie is a great movie to grab your girlfriends and watch during a Girls’-Night-In. It is sure to start conversations that need to be had today regarding society’s unequal treatment of women, people of color, and the transgender community.