As a Literature student, you are often viewed as one of two people. Either a stuffy, pretentious person obsessed with the classics or an indie, hipster type who only reads ‘obscure’ poetry and yet still loves Quentin Tarantino. However, there is definitely more to being an English student than that, I know this because I am neither of those people. You can love the classics and obscure literature as well as being into popular culture. In fact, I would argue that popular culture is what should be studied as it is more relevant to our time and popular and therefore says more about the culture of the moment. And so, here are some films that are very mainstream but inspire me both academically and personally.
Legally Blonde (2001)
‘What, like it’s hard?’
I know it has its problems but I’m ready to declare that this film is a modern feminist classic. Smashing the stereotype of the ‘dumb blonde’ this film destroys the idea that women can either be pretty or smart, interested in fashion or academic and celebrates the complexity of the modern woman. It has Reese Witherspoon in it who is a queen herself, it’s funny and thought provoking. But most of all its inspiring to watch someone come into their own and show the world that women can do anything, even in a pink miniskirt.
Yes, the old, animated one! I grew up watching Mulan because my big sister was obsessed with it and I think it molded us both into who we are today. This film is a great early example of women breaking down stereotypes and being completely badass. What also makes it great is that it’s one of very few examples where the woman is not sexualised at the same time…Black Widow from the Marvel Universe comes to mind. Mulan is a brave, strong, clever and morally driven character. Top that off with some absolute bangers in the soundtrack and a tiny dragon and you’re golden.
Never ever has a film encapsulated what it means to be an awkward teenager trying things for the first time like this one. Booksmart follows two young girls on their graduation night, trying to do all the crazy things they didn’t during high school because they worked too hard. It is slightly far-fetched at times but hilarious and heartwarming. It inspires me because it reminds me of myself and makes me think how much I have developed personally since coming to university.
I really hope you watch some of these films if you haven’t already and love them just as much as I do!
– Yzzy (Fourth Year English Literature and Hispanic Studies)