Jedda (1955)

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Plot summary: Jedda is an Aboriginal girl born on a cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia. She has been raised by Sarah McMann, the wife of the station boss, Doug. Sarah raises Jedda as her own, teaching her European ways and separating her from other Aboriginal people. A young “half-caste” stockman named Joe is in love with Jedda and wishes to marry her, but Jedda is struggling with her own attraction to an Aboriginal man named Marbuk.

Trigger/content warnings: This blog entry contains discussions of death, racism (including slurs and blackface), misogyny, the sexualisation of children and sexual assault. Indigenous readers are also advised that this entry contains names and images of Aboriginal people who have died.

In this entry, I discuss how the Australian film Jedda represents the teenage title character’s race, gender and sexuality as inextricable from one another, and the possibility of representation being exploitative.

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Bring It On (2000)

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Plot summary: High school senior Torrance is ecstatic to be named captain of her prestigious squad, the Toros, and eager to lead them to their sixth national cheerleading championship – until she finds that all of their routines were stolen from an inner-city squad, the Clovers.

Trigger/content warnings: This blog entry contains discussions of misogyny, homophobia (including some slurs) and racism.

In this entry, I discuss the representation of cheerleaders as athletes, verbal ass-kicking, race and gender in the 2000 cheerleading comedy Bring It On.

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A Little Princess (1995)

main Plot Summary: 1914. When her adoring father enlists to fight for the British in the First World War, Sara Crewe is sent to a New York boarding school, where her kindness and imagination transform her classmates’ lives for the better. However, Sara’s belief that all girls are princesses is tested when word comes that her father was killed in action.

Trigger/content warnings: This blog entry contains discussions of the death of a parent, the separation of children from parents, cultural appropriation, racism, colonialism and classism.

In this entry, I look at princess culture, cultural appropriation, race, class and innocence in the family film A Little Princess. (The content under the cut contains spoilers.) Continue reading “A Little Princess (1995)”

Girlfight (2000)

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Plot Summary: Diana, a troubled Latina teenager from Brooklyn, decides to become a boxer, despite the scorn of both her father and men involved in the sport. When she masters the sport, she is presented with a dilemma when she must enter a bout against her boyfriend, a fellow boxer in her weight class.

Trigger/content warnings: This blog entry contains discussions of racism, suicide, domestic abuse, misgendering and fear of attacks/murder by men.

Girlfight is a sports drama film that deserves to be a classic. Released at the turn of the millennium alongside other independent films about young people mastering sports not traditionally considered appropriate for their gender (such as Billy Elliot and Bend It Like Beckham), Girlfight is an electrifying look at a girl of colour who learns to value herself and demand respect through mastering a sport. (The content under the cut contains spoilers.)

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Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

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Plot Summary: In Western Australia, 1931, children with mixed Aboriginal and White ancestry are forcibly removed from their families and incarcerated at the Moore River Native Settlement, to be trained as servants for White people. Sisters Molly and Daisy and their cousin Gracie escape the settlement. Their aim: to walk the 1500 kilometres home to Jigalong, across unforgiving terrain, pursued by the authorities.

Trigger/content warnings: This blog post includes discussions and/or mentions of forced removal of Aboriginal children, rape, racism, child abuse, sexual assault, racism and suicide. It also includes names and images of Aboriginal people who have passed away.

Rabbit-Proof Fence was a smash hit when it was released in Australia in 2002. For me, it’s one of the ultimate girl power films, and all the more powerful for having been based on true events. (The content under the cut contains spoilers.) Continue reading “Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)”