Moxie is a film adapted from the book of the same name and released on Netflix in the month of March 2021. March also happens to be Women History Month which the United Nations declared in 1955.
The movie follows teenage girls finding their voice in a school with many misogynistic behaviours and systems. For example every year there is a list which ranks the girls in school under various categories, one being Most Bangable. The movie is highly influenced by the band Bikini Kill’s song Rebel Girl which features many times throughout the movie.
Moxie has received mixed reviews: praise for taking to task the topic on gender equality and criticism for having a ‘boring protagonist’ and relying heavily on tokenism. But it is still a good way to spend two hours introducing gender equality to your son and daughter or maybe even yourself.
While many believe a lot more could have been done with the movie, one thing really stood out for me. When a supporting character Lucy,who is repeatedly being harassed by a popular boy in the school, while the principal refers to his dangerous behaviour as ‘annoying’, the protagonists of the film, Vivian asks Lucy to keep her head down, saying he’ll find someone else to target. Lucy in return replies, she will not keep her head down but hold her head high.
I’ve heard this ‘keep your head down’ statement before. From elders, from friends and others. Confrontation and holding bad behaviour accountable is what most of us shy away from. Research shows that we instantly go into fight or flight mode when someone disagrees with us as it triggers our sympathetic nervous system.
But believing that holding our head down in the hope that the same incident won’t repeat with us and move onto someone else is a dangerous belief. It is far from courageous. Whether we decide to hold someone accountable for inappropriate or dangerous behaviour today or tomorrow, it is increasingly becoming clear that dealing with it is the only way forward if we want to live in an evolved and respectful society. As we know, the more we brush under the carpet, the lumpier it gets. Society sometimes seems like a lumpy carpet.
Being courageous as I like to see it, is the same way renowned researcher and author Brene Brown says about vulnerability, “having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.” Showing up by having those difficult conversations, showing up by standing by a colleague, family member or friend even when nobody else feels brave enough to stand with you.
You may never receive an accolade, prize or a single clap of appreciation but when you stand up for something, you’ve unknowingly set into motion a series of actions which will eventually lead to change allowing you to keep your head high!
About the Author
Bianca D’Costa is an expert in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. After graduating from St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai in Political Science, Bianca D’Costa worked in hospitality for 5 years with Emirates airlines, learning and experiencing multiple cultures while working with people from across the world. This experience gave her an understanding of personal and workplace best practices for inclusion.
At Serein, Bianca heads employee engagement and wellness trainings with global teams. She implements these by studying and researching various forms of art that showcase diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) from where we can learn to be more empathetic. In the present mandatory WFH situation where teams are struggling with burnout, wellbeing and team bonding issues, Bianca designs interactive online content, employee wellbeing trainings, employee engagement sessions that build inclusive work environments.