I was 10 years old when the 2000 film version of Charlie’s Angels was released. When I found out a movie featuring three smart, strong, successful, and wildly fierce and independent women was coming out, I knew I had to see it. I’ll never forget how excited I was when my mom told me we were going to check it out! As a young girl who dreamed of being my own version of a smart, successful, and independent woman someday, the three Angels, Dylan (Drew Barrymore), Alex (Lucy Liu), and Natalie (Cameron Diaz), were my sheroes. In Charlie’s Angels, they kicked butt. They beat the bad guys. And they looked so chic in their designer clothing doing so. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
Although the Angels had silly moments, challenging ones, and times when their vulnerabilities put them in some rough spots, one of the things that always resonated with me is that they never apologized for who they were. They dared to show their strength and share their voices, knowledge, and insights as they pleased. They were open to love but weren’t desperate for it. And they were certainly no damsels in distress.
Whenever trouble was coming, they worked together to navigate how to move through the challenges that were ahead. The Angels were modern-day feminists who introduced me to being a feminist during a time in my life when I was still figuring out who I was as a girl. I didn’t know what feminism was all about back then, but I knew I wanted to live in a world where I could stand up for myself, have a voice, and exist in environments where women and men had equal rights and opportunities too.
I wanted to be someone with a life and career of my own, who wasn’t limited in my options and opportunities because of what others thought a woman should be instead. The Angels taught me that I could live in a world where women were standing up for themselves, protecting others, and weren’t held to the constraints of who “society” thought they should be. They just did their own thing.
These powerful women defined who they were on their own terms, and gave other women like me, the space and permission to do the same. And though some may question if they were truly considered “feminists” seeing as they worked for an anonymous male named Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe), I know that they had an impact on my life for sure. Watching them plan, strategize, and stand up for others who couldn’t always protect and defend themselves was inspiring. When I left the movie theater after seeing Charlie’s Angels for the first time, my heart was so full. I wanted to be just like Dylan, Alex, and Natalie. And though I’m not part of a crime-fighting group of incredible women like the sheroes who were on screen, I’ll always appreciate them for modeling how cool it was (and is) to be a feminist.