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24 March 2021

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Film Review: Moxie

A springboard for discussion about sexism in schools

Moxie is available to view on Netflix

Moxie is available to view on Netflix   (Click to enlarge)

Amy Sage, Bristol Socialist Party

Netflix's new film Moxie, based upon a book of the same name, might provide a springboard for further discussions around sexism in schools but does not, as one reviewer put it "offer a blueprint for a revolution."

Vivian, fed up with the blatant sexism in her school and the 'boys will be boys' attitude taken by its staff, is inspired by new girl Lucy who is not afraid to point it out. After discovering her Mum's Riot Grrrl gear - a subculture that combines feminism with punk music - she starts an anonymous 'zine' which quickly grows into a small-scale 'revolution' throughout the school.

The film's premise is an interesting one and offers a fresh take on films of a similar nature which tackle sexism and misogyny in American high schools. One example from the film is the annual list published on social media which rates the school's girls against criteria including 'best ass' or 'most bangable': a label which feels even more despicable at the film's conclusion.

Moxie certainly does a good job of highlighting the many issues girls face at school, particularly around gaslighting and sexual harassment, but unfortunately falls short in bringing attention to the broader social issues that cause them.

The discrimination, sexism and abuse faced by women are rooted in the inequalities inherent within the capitalist system.

Outdated gender norms are perpetuated by the big businesses that own and control the media, beauty and fashion industries. To them, women's bodies are simply yet another commodity to be exploited for profit.

In order to fight against the women's oppression Moxie draws attention to, we must also fight capitalism. This fight requires the involvement of all members of the working class, men included. While Moxie does, in Vivian's love interest Seth, show that men can very much be a part of the feminist movement, it does not make any attempt to link the movement to the broader fight against capitalism.

Moxie also fails in its effort to be truly inclusive. Attempting to show that the feminist movement should be intersectional, casting black, Asian, trans and disabled actors into key roles, the film ultimately centres around a white protagonist, making their inclusion at times feel no more than a token gesture.

Yes, there are some attempts to highlight the various forms of double oppression faced by different groups of women, pointing out, for instance, that a black female being voted as 'best ass' perpetuates the objectification of black women's bodies based upon racial stereotypes. However, Moxie fails to really explore these any further and instead, at times, goes backward by relying on tired Hollywood tropes such as the 'sassy' black friend, or the shy Chinese girl with the overbearing Mum.

Ultimately, Moxie is an interesting watch that does tackle an important and pervasive problem and, for young girls dealing with sexism in their own schools, provides a useful starting point for discussion. However, anyone watching this film expecting something truly impactful or revolutionary is bound to be disappointed.

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In The Socialist 24 March 2021:


Protest

Protesting is not a crime

Defying the anti-protest restrictions

Police attempt to silence mothers

Police invade student homes


NHS

NHS pay: 15% now

Fighting NHS privatisation

Haringey: Hands off our GP practices


Elections

Battle for a fighting, anti-austerity Liverpool mayor

Why I am standing for TUSC

Help fund the Socialist Party's stand as part of TUSC


Fighting Sexual Harassment

Fighting sexual harassment and gender violence on campus

Justice for Blessing Olusegun

Film Review: Moxie


Paris Commune 150 Years

150th anniversary of the Paris Commune


2011 Pensions Strike

Lessons of the 2011 pensions strike: when workers showed their power


Workplace News

PCS elections: increased support for Broad Left Network

Engineering workers strike against 'fire and rehire' in Leicester

'Sleep-ins' ruling must lead to a huge campaign for social care workers' rights

Shrewsbury Pickets win: Convictions overturned

Sparks continue protests against deskilling

Beal High school strike as management refuse to negotiate over fair sick pay scheme

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Support victimised bus driver reps and Socialist Party members Declan and Moe

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Campaigns

Save John Carroll - fight is far from over!

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Online meeting - Ending violence against women, the socialist approach

Socialist Party regional conferences meet online


Readers' Opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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