film / tv / streaming / politics / web / celeb/ industry / video / love / lists / think pieces / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / politics / web / celeb

November 3, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | PaEHba Day | November 3, 2008 |

As part of Paheeba Day, my fellow Pajibettes and I decided to compile a list that would serve a two-fold purpose. First, it would give our readers a glimpse into what made us Pajibettes the kickass, fiercely fantastic women we are today. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it would work as an addition to the brilliant “Films for Lil’ Pajiba” guide Grandmaster Rowles gave us last year, by giving our readers a few movies that work not just as films for children, but as films for young girls. These are films no young Pajibette can grow up without watching. They all feature strong, proud, independent female characters who think for themselves and refuse to take crap from anyone. They have dreams that go beyond finding the perfect man or buying the perfect pair of shoes. They don’t let the world around them change them—rather, they change their world.

These are films that make us proud to be women. These are not perfect women, but neither are we. And in a world where every Hollywood film geared towards the female population seems to proclaim that you are nobody without the trendiest accessories or aspirations to a job in the fashion industry, these films remind us that there is more than one way for a young girl to grow up into a woman of substance.


The Sound of Music (1965): The Sound of Music is my mother’s favorite film. My earliest movie memory comes from watching it early on a weekend morning, all wrapped up in the covers and staring wide eyed at the pretty colors and smiling at everything while my mother sang along and pointed out her favorite scenes. I remember being thrilled that the main character shared my name, being terrified by the Nazis and enchanted by the landscapes. As I grew up, this movie remained a staple at our house and while my brothers turned away in disdain at the “girlyness” of it, I remember eating it up every single time. It became such an intrinsic part of my childhood that I can’t imagine growing up without it. Every time I felt afraid of something new, I would hum “I Have Confidence.”

Every time I was sad, I remembered “My Favorite Things.” Every time someone was confounded by me, I remembered “Maria.” I want “Something Good” to be my wedding song. I know that if I ever have a daughter, I want her to watch this movie and love it as much as I do. Yes, it’s light and fluffy in parts, but unless you have a heart of stone you will leave this movie happy. I dare you not to. —Figgy

Spirited Away [Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi] (2001): Spirited Away is a thing of beauty. Hayao Miyazaki’s story of young Chihiro’s voyage into the spirit world is one of the most beautiful animated films I have ever seen. The film follows a young, plucky little Japanese girl as she is thrown into a completely unfamiliar world of spirits and fantasy where she has to learn how to survive by her own means; while desperately seeking a way to rescue her parents. She is terrified at every turn, but what makes Chihiro so special is that she never lets her fear of the unfamiliar stop her — she clenches her small fists and overcomes some terrifying obstacles, armed with nothing but her courage and her desire to do what she thinks is right. The message is wrapped up in some of the most gorgeous animation you will ever see (the scene where the spirit-crowded train goes through the flooded plain seems plucked right out of a dream), a world crowded with fascinating characters and places, hauntingly beautiful music, and a great sense of humor. And trust me, it’s a hell of a good break from the Disney army of princesses and adorable animals. —Figgy

Note: While I prefer to watch the un-dubbed, subtitled version of this film, the English dub is flawlessly done and will definitely make it more accessible for young children.

Anne of Green Gables (1985): Based on the 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, this CBC television movie has been seen and loved by probably every young Canadian girl under the age of 35. It tells the story of an 11-year-old orphan named Anne Shirley (Megan Follows) who is adopted by an elderly brother and sister in the small town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert (Richard Farnsworth and Colleen Dewhurst) were surprised to see Anne, as they had requested young boy to help them with farm chores, but the spirited and precocious girl is able to charm them into keeping her at Green Gables.

Anne Shirley is a prime DildOscar candidate-in-training. She is the original kickass fiery redhead (much to her chagrin; she hates her red hair and freckles, and dreams of being a raven-haired beauty like her “bosom buddy,” Diana).

When a popular boy in her class has the audacity to pull her braid, she doesn’t just giggle and bat her eyelashes at him, she cracks her mother-effing slate over his head. In a time when women seldom pursued academics, Anne doesn’t hide her intelligence; instead, she is proudly at the top of the class. Mind you, she is not a perfect young lady, often letting her temper get the better of her, or being led astray by her overactive imagination, oh—and accidentally getting her best friend drunk. However, her kind-hearted nature (supplemented with melodramatic apologies as needed) generally keeps her in the good graces of the townspeople.

Like any young girl, Anne endures loss, heartbreak, indignity, fights over fashion choices, and a horrible hair-dying mishap. For a character that was written a century ago, she is amazingly relatable, and a pretty damned good role model. —meaux

Annie (1982): My “Annie” spoke with a Spaniard accent and she sang “MaƱana” instead of “Tomorrow.” My older brothers taped a soccer game over it and I didn’t see it again until a few years ago when I caught it on TV in its original language. For some reason the whole thing seemed ludicrous. In the cynical eyes of a 23 year-old woman the whole story seemed far-fetched. They wrote FDR into the story? And more importantly, FDR had a rollercoaster? Is that Albert Finney playing Mr. Warbucks? Isn’t Warbucks a proper name for Republican candidates? Anyway, I still think Annie is a great film. And yeah, it’s a musical, and it’s cheesy and it brings nothing new to the table. But the orphans broke into song. And Annie has craaaazy curly red hair, and Miss Hannigan bathed in booze, and Punjap saved the day with his turban. You can’t deny a girl the Annie experience, even if when you’re older you think Miss Hannigan was a horny slag and there was definitely something going on between her and her brother Rooster. Don’t question it and just enjoy it. After all, it’s a John Houston film. —Sofia

The Parent Trap (1961): “Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah!” This one has been one of my favorites since I was very young. Two girls meet each other at camp. They look exactly alike, so they hate each other on sight. Pranks ensue and they’re forced to live together in the time-out cabin. That’s when they figure out that they’re twins, separated at birth by divorcing parents.

More pranks ensue. The girls switch places so they can each meet the parent they didn’t grow up with. They hatch a scheme to get their parents back together. In classic Disney fashion, everything ends happily. What’s not to love about this kind of movie; it’s fun and light and happy. Everyone needs some happy endings growing up, especially when you start figuring out that life is not one big happy ending. Not only that, but girls need family movies, and movies that can be watched with family. This is probably one that your mom grew up watching as well, and probably doesn’t hate. And yes, Lindsey Lohan owes her entire career to the existence of this film, because she got her start in the remake of it. Watch this one instead; Hayley Mills is way cooler. You can also watch her in the terrible sequels they made in the 80s! They’ve got triplets! —lizzieborden

PaEHba Day | November 3, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

Brutal Language of Love

Fantasy Girls

The Pajiba Store


Privacy Policy