In a world ruled by a patriarchy, sometimes you just need a feminist fix. While movies with badass female leads can be hard to find, if you look in the right places, you can find a movie that leaves you empowered and ready to retake the world that you deserve.

  1. Set It Off (1996) – With Queen Latifah as the leader of a group of bank robbers, the story unfolds akin to any crime movie. With a tagline of “It’s about crime. It’s about payback. It’s about survival.” With a cast that includes Jada Pinkett Smith, you’ll want to strap on your own boots and take down the patriarchy on bank at a time.
  2. Salt (2010)  – Starring Angelina Jolie as a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy, this movie proves that a woman can kick just as much ass as any James Bond can. Following the plot of a typical action movie (but with a female as the lead who isn’t just eye candy for the male characters), Jolie’s character, despite her own unmistakable beauty, is a relatively normal person with normal habits and normal motivations.
  3. Chocolat (2000) – When Vienne (played by Juliette Binoche) and her daughter first moved to a tiny conservative French village to set up a chocolate shop right before Lent began, she was met with some inevitable pushback. Her biggest foe, the Comte de Reynaud (played by Alfred Molina), is especially cruel, spreading rumors about her and convincing townsfolk that her chocolate shop is the root of all temptation and evil. She perseveres, ignoring the nagging wind that pulls her from town to town and slowly convinces the townsfolk that she comes in peace. Johnny Depp, with a blond ponytail, and the fabulous Judi Dench are both involved, so this movie can’t go wrong.
  4. Mona Lisa Smile (2003) – Featuring a cast that include Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ginnifer Goodwin (among many others), Mona Lisa Smile takes place at a women’s college in the 1950s. When Katherine Watson (Roberts) takes a job there teaching art history, she’s met with students that already know the textbook in and out, but have never really explored what art means and what effect it has on them. Each character is well developed with their own personality and motives. This movie looks at perspectives of college-age women in the 1950s – those who challenged it and those who followed it for better or for worse.
  5. The Help (2011) – Also set around the same time, The Help explores what it’s like to be a black maid to white children in the 1960s. A twenty-something white woman (played by Emma Stone) who grew up with a maid for a mother-type figure decides to write a book on their experiences. Octavia Spencer, who plays one of the maids that the movie is centered on, won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for this movie, and for good reason. The book that this movie is based on is equally as emotional and strength-driven.
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Watch one of these for a little boost in your feminine esteem. The world may get you down sometimes, but the women in these movies will empower you and keep you going through the hardest times.

What movies do you watch to pump you back up?