A View of Female Protagonist and Femininity as Illustrated in The Movie Moolade and Spirited Away

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About this sample


Words: 957 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 957|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Across cultures, women often play an important role in film as strong heroines as well as enduring and capable role models. The presence of strong, independent, and morally astute women is one of the prominent themes in many of the films viewed throughout the semester. In Moolade, the main character Collé is tough and steadfast in her beliefs, despite the amount of adversity she faced, and independent in a patriarchal society that is always trying to tell her what to do. In Spirited Away, Chihiro is not only a role model of tremendous courage when facing new and scary things but also very self-sufficient while exceeding all of her oppressors’ expectations. The fact that one film is animated while the other is not does not hinder the connection between these two characters as courageous, honorable, and independent women that model a very strong message about female empowerment and agency. Together, they represent women who do their own thing without listening to those who don’t want them to succeed, they show immense courage in the face of adversity, and above all else, they do what’s right.

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The first trait that they both represent is their strong sense of independence. In the film Moolade, Collé is one of very few who do not believe in female circumcision and had not undergone the procedure. This makes her not only an outsider to the group but a minority as someone protesting against a cultural norm. Her decision to protect young girls from the procedure is one that is not supported by anyone in her society, but she continues to do her own thing without listening to anyone who protested against her. The lack of support she receives from the rest of her community requires her to become entirely self-sufficient in her fight against what she believes is wrong. Her independence and her ability to single-handedly challenge tradition and praxis is what distinguishes her as a stronger and superior female character amongst the rest in the film. Chihiro, much like Collé, is a very independent heroine who often times also has to face her challenges on her own. From the beginning she is often abandoned by those who are supposed to shelter her and she is left alone in a scary new place with many trying to harm her. Despite her childish innocence that might often make success difficult, when facing a new challenge Chihiro was essentially on her own. Singlehandedly she was able to accomplish so much, from facing off with Yubaba to taking care of the stink spirit. Those expecting her to fail never come to her aid and her individual achievements without any help prove that, like Collé, she is very much a role model for feminine independence.

Collé and Chihiro also act as moral compasses throughout their respective films in societies where there is a lot of corruption and evil. Collé is an example of moral superiority in that, despite many threats against her and her separation from the rest of the community, she still fights for her beliefs. She believes that the circumcision of very young women is morally wrong and she fights back against her oppressors. Her strong will to fight for something she believes in, despite extreme opposition, shows the major strength in her sense of right and wrong and shows just how far she’s willing to go to do the right thing. Chihiro demonstrates this from the very beginning. When her parents wanted to eat the food that obviously wasn’t theirs, Chihiro protested and tried to keep them from doing it. When No Face had gotten out of control and began tearing up the bath house because Chihiro let him in, she accepted responsibility and then went out of her way to fix the problem that she had caused. She even gives him the leftover half of the magic food that the stink spirit had given her that she was going to use to free her parents. Despite the fact that her biggest concern and goal was finding and freeing her parents, she often puts her personal issues aside for a moment to help others in need. In this way she shows that even in troubling times it is important to always do the right thing.

Finally, these two characters represent extreme courage in the face of adversity. As previously mentioned, both characters faced a lot of opposition and oppression in their stories. Collé’s oppressors were men who were willing to go to any lengths to keep their patriarchal society in tact as well as women who were willing to giving up all individuality and the safety of their health in order to keep those men happy. Chihiro faced a similar threat of losing her individuality to Yubaba, a mean and greedy witch who turned her parents into pigs and stole her name. Despite how terrifying their situations became, both were set on their respective goals and remained strong and courageous throughout the entire ordeal. It is also important to note that it is very common for Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Spirited Away, to portray his female protagonists as extremely courageous. In an interview that he had done, Miyazaki said, “When we compare a man in action and a girl in action, I feel girls are more gallant” (Kikan). Chihiro’s character is entirely shaped around the opinion that girl can be just as courageous, if not more courageous, as boys.

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Ultimately, these two characters demonstrate important and virtuous traits that portray females in a very good light. Their strength, determination, morality, independence, and courage are excellent qualities that make them fantastic women role models and strong examples of female empowerment and agency.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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A View of Female Protagonist and Femininity as illustrated in the Movie Moolade and Spirited Away. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“A View of Female Protagonist and Femininity as illustrated in the Movie Moolade and Spirited Away.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
A View of Female Protagonist and Femininity as illustrated in the Movie Moolade and Spirited Away. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
A View of Female Protagonist and Femininity as illustrated in the Movie Moolade and Spirited Away [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 11 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
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