12 '90s Movies To Watch When You Need Some Girl Power In Your Life
You can’t deny that the rallying cry of ladies in the ‘90s was “Girl Power!” Maybe that was simply the result of early riot grrrl values bleeding into the mainstream for purposes of materialization, I don’t know. Or maybe the ‘90s allowed women to start telling their stories outside of simple rom coms (and, when they were rom coms, they were helmed by slightly more complex heroines than we’ve seen in the past). Either way, you’re probably craving to check out some of the '90s films that epitomized “Girl Power!” now that we’re stuck in the grim, women-unfriendly times of 2016.
From magic-obsessed youths to popular girls gone bad (or incredibly good), I've rounded up some of the most low-key inspiring and occasionally badass girl power films from the era. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll appreciate how feminism fits weirdly perfectly into a lighthearted teen comedy. No matter what your preference, there’s definitely a ‘90s heroine that will inspire you to act, to fight, or just to make up with your bestie after she posted that really unflattering picture of you on Instagram.
So scroll down for an inspiring selection of female-fronted flicks that should help empower you... and wish for a time when our biggest concern was fighting to be Baby Spice during recess.
1. 10 Things I Hate About You
The lead protagonist is a fierce, uncompromising, rage-filled bad b*tch who enjoys Thai food, feminist prose, and angry girl music of the indie rock persuasion. The only person who even comes close to taming the so-called shrew is a swoon-worthy Heath Legder, but the cinematic gem that is Kat Stratford never betrays her true self.
2. The Craft
"Teen witches" practically goes hand-in-hand with "girl power," and, even if the witches in question turn against one of their own in a snake-laden final battle, I still think fondly back to the days where they drank of their sisters. Sigh.
In which a brilliant, book-obsessed child properly utilizes telekineses to help derail the evil dictator of her school, eventually rallying the student body to be rid of her and finding a safe haven with the lovely Miss Honey. I mean, that's literally the whole story, but you should still watch it again.
Long before she put on her pink heels as Elle Woods, Reese Witherspoon's Tracy Flick was ambition personified.
5. Romy And Michele's High School Reunion
There have been few pop culture friendships more important than Romy and Michele's, and we rally behind them every time they tell off their high school tormentors.
6. Sister Act
If anyone could facilitate unintentional sisterhood, it was going to be Whoopi Goldberg having to hide out as an nun... and weaving in some seriously fine tunes in this week's sermon.
7. Spice World
OK, this one was a gimme. It's the era's poppy embodiment of how cool it is to be a girl, and any type of girl. You are never too old to spice up your life by watching this kind of hilariously bad variant on A Hard Day's Night.
Accidentally killing your best friend isn't really a great win for feminism, and trying to cover up that kill by battling against your other friend is also not very women-friendly. But nobody can deny that Courtney Shane is a force to be reckoned with, and, hey, the Donnas are in this spiritual successor to Heathers.
Cher Horowitz really has a golden heart underneath all that Valley Girl slang and Calvin Klein clothing. We can forgive her for being totally clueless, because she really does end up using her popularity for a variety of good causes, from matchmaking to make-overing to, wow, legitimate volunteerism.
10. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
It doesn't have the same feminist potency as the show, but Kristy Swanson's proto-Buffy definitely gets a few decent stabs in... literally.
11. Now And Then
A fine document of a double decade-long friendship filled with every actress that has ever mattered, from Christina Ricci to Thora Birch... and that's just in the flashback scenes.
Winona Ryder trying to find herself through her weird obsession with Catholicism is definitely an interesting plot point, but let's be real. It's Cher who ends up stealing the show, as is the rule when Cher is in a movie ever.
Hopefully, you have some thoroughly modern methods to stream these classic films. Otherwise, it's time to dust off the VHSes and flashback to those fine feminist days.
Images: Columbia Pictures; Giphy (12)