When I first watched the trailer for Moxie, I was immediately intrigued. A movie about the femininst movement led by high schoolers, that is something I wish I could do. The movie just launched on Netflix on March third, and I watched it as soon as I could on its release date.
The movie, based on the novel written by Jennifer Mathieu, focuses on Vivian (Hadley Robinson), who is going into her junior year at Rockport High School. She had previously tried to stay in the background during her high school career, but after numerous events pile up, such as rankings the girls in the school were given in highly offensive categories (i.e. “most bangable”, “best rack”, and so many more) and with influence of her mother (Amy Poehler) who was previously known to have a history of protesting for feminism; Vivian creates an anonymous figure in the school, “Moxie.” Moxie is established through pamphlets that Vivian creates and distributes around the school without anyone figuring out she was behind the act. In the pamphlets she creates throughout the movie, she calls out what is wrong with not only the behavior of certain boys in the school, but also educators who act in and ignore sexism. The pamphlets also give events for people to look forward to and show unity for a movement to show people that girls are more than they believe.
I loved how the film brought attention to certain aspects of sexism in a school system that people might not be aware about. The school system, whether or not people are willing to admit it, is sexist. One of three main examples is with the dress code. One girl is sitting in class wearing a tank top who has a bigger cup size compared to another girl sitting next to her who has a smaller cup size but is also wearing a similar tank top. The class is about to begin but, the principal walks in, scans the students, and focuses her attention on the girl in the tank top with a bigger chest and asks her to “cover up.” The student questions why and the principal still insists on her covering up but, when she points out the girl next to her in almost the same shirt and informs the principal that she has nothing to cover up with, she is sent home for the day, all for wearing a tank top with a certain body type. The dress code is put in place which blames women for boys behavior. The next example has to do with girls sports. In the movie, the football team is praised; they get pep rallies, full crowds at their games, and top notch equipment. But they have only won around two or three games from their season. The girls soccer team, who has won all but one or two games, and is making their way to the championship, only have mothers in the stands for their game and old and worn jerseys. This shows the unwavering favor of boys sports no matter the circumstances, saying that in the sports world, men should be valued more. The last example shows the attitude towards the treatment of women. A new student, Lucy, is being harassed by the quarterback; he insults her, stops her from talking, takes her drink and spits in it, and more. Lucy brings the issue to the principal, saying that she is being harassed by the quarterback, and she instantly has to clarify that she is being harassed by him. When Lucy is trying to explain the situation she is cut off by the principal, saying that she sees it as more bothering than harassment, and if she says that he is harassing her then she will have to do a lot of paperwork that she does not want to do and sends Lucy out the door. The principal is sticking to the unfair standard to girls that boys will be boys and that they should suck it up and deal with it.
Along with the message of women acting for better treatment, and anyone, even of a younger age, can make an impact on the movement, the soundtrack of the movie helps to embody the spirit and attitude they are putting forward. 90’s punk rock, more specifically, Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill, is the anthem of the movie. The song helps to embody what the girls are trying to prove, along with the lyrics sending a positive message to keep your head up.
While I did appreciate the aspect the movie brought to sexism in the school system, I feel there was a lack of accountability. The people who were ignoring the issues and continuing sexism throughout the school were not shown to acknowledge the wrong in their actions or learn from them. There was a lack of resolution to the bigger issue of the story and I found that frustrating; I was waiting to see change, but at the end of the movie, there were no definitive actions that proved it would happen. However, I enjoyed the movie, and I would give it four out of five stars.