Davidson Reflects on Netflix’s “Moxie”

by Cara Davidson

Public Relations Manager

Netflix released Moxie, an original film, on Mar. 3, leaving feminists feeling empowered. Directed by Amy Poehler, Moxie is about teenage girls standing up against sexism and rape culture at their school. The movie adapts Jennifer Mathieu’s 2017 novel and features many groups of minorities while criticizing oppression seen in our modern society. 

Vivian, a timid teen, starts an anonymous paper around her school entitled Moxie after she finds her mother’s old revolutionary feminist papers, songs, and clothes. Vivian’s paper features information such as instructions for how to show feminist solidarity, direct callouts of sexism at the school, and students’ stories regarding their experiences as women. A small group of young women congregate to talk about Moxie and raise awareness of the sexism at their school via their shared Instagram account. The voices of females echo throughout the school thanks to Vivian and the support of her growing group of friends and peers. 

Moxie includes diversity and a break from Eurocentric norms by featuring BIPOC and the LGBTQIA+ community. Vivian’s best friend, Claudia, is Chinese and comes from a strict and traditional Chinese household. Her struggle with conservative parents and living up to their norms highlights some of the struggles that the AAPI community faces. Other members of Moxie include Lucy, an Afro-Latinx woman played by Alycia Pascual; and CJ, a transgender woman played by Josie Totah. Other strong voices that stand out in the moxie club are two Black women: Kiera, played by Sydney Park; and her best friend Amaya, played by Anjelika Washington.

Moxie not only features diverse, powerful women, but also touches on rape culture and speaking out against sexual assault. Many women and some men around school listen to the stories of their classmates and story and begin share their experiences with sexual assault, toxic masculinity, and misogyny.

Moxie also includes a love story that captures the high school experience and challenges gender norms. The love story breaks the gender norms that men are expected to be hypersexual and women to be more conservative with their bodies. Moxie presents the idea that gender does not dictate attitudes or behaviors and does not characterize any gender as good or bad.

While Moxie is undoubtedly a powerful feminist movie that condemns oppression and the hate we experience today, some controversy arose from Moxie’s seemingly perfect diverse world. While the movie has representation from many groups including Latinx, BIPOC, AAPI, LGBTQIA+, and the female community, the majority of the struggle and power stems from the only white girl in the group. Each side character has an interesting background and story, yet Moxie mostly focuses in on Vivian’s fight for equality, and a the popular white girl’s story about rape. Every female has a struggle, but the white women’s struggles are amplified. Moxie features many different ethnicities and gives power and strong voices to people of color, but perhaps the writers should have gone further with it. I would have liked to see more about the background of the women of color in the movie. While I did love this movie, I think the writers could have tried harder to highlight the importance of everyone’s background and give more power to people of color.

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