The Power of Hidden Figures: Feminist and Antiracist Values in American History

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About this sample


Words: 538 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Words: 538|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Hidden Figures is a powerful and thought-provoking film that sheds light on the struggles faced by three African-American women who played a pivotal role in the development of the American space program. Set in the 1960s, the movie highlights the challenges of segregation and the fight for equality in the workplace. Through the stories of NASA mathematicians Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, as well as engineer Mary Jackson, the film showcases their determination to prove their worth and ability to work alongside their white male counterparts.

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Katherine Johnson, the main protagonist of the story, is portrayed as an intelligent and diligent employee who not only excels at her job but also takes care of her children and maintains strong friendships. However, she is depicted as shy and insecure in her romantic relationships, adding depth to her character and making her relatable to the audience. Despite facing constant obstacles and societal pressures, Johnson refuses to give up and continues to fight for her dreams.

The movie effectively conveys its feminist and antiracist ideology through the characterization of Johnson. By creating a character that the audience can empathize with, the filmmakers successfully highlight the importance of gender and racial equality. This is exemplified by Johnson's choice of clothing, as she wears different dresses to work while her male colleagues stick to the same white shirts and black ties throughout the film. This contrast symbolizes the clash between Johnson's ambitions and the attempts to suppress them.

In contrast to Johnson's resilience, the character of Paul Stafford, an engineer, embodies the negative aspects of society, including racism and sexism. From the beginning, Stafford dismisses Johnson and questions her qualifications. However, when she proves herself capable, he reluctantly seeks her assistance but still harbors prejudice towards her. It is only towards the end of the film that Stafford realizes his mistake and attempts to make amends by bringing Johnson coffee as a sign of reconciliation. This transformation illustrates the possibility of societal evolution and the elimination of biases.

The film emphasizes the significance of Johnson's presence in the space program, as her calculations play a crucial role in ensuring the safe return of astronaut John Glenn. This pivotal moment highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion, as it is the contributions of women like Johnson that make progress possible. By presenting this scene, the film promotes the feminist ideology that women have valuable insights and solutions to offer, even in the face of skepticism from men.

Hidden Figures effectively promotes feminist and antiracist values by showcasing the lives of real individuals who made significant contributions to the American space program. By creating characters that the audience can connect with and by portraying the senselessness and inhumanity of racism, the film encourages viewers to embrace equality and challenge discriminatory beliefs. It serves as a powerful example of how cinema can influence minds and promote progressive ideas.

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Overall, Hidden Figures is a compelling and impactful film that not only educates viewers about the historical achievements of African-American women in the space program but also encourages them to embrace feminist and antiracist values. Through its engaging storytelling and relatable characters, the movie successfully conveys the message that progress requires the inclusion and recognition of all individuals, regardless of their race or gender.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Power of Hidden Figures: Feminist and Antiracist Values in American History. (2024, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“The Power of Hidden Figures: Feminist and Antiracist Values in American History.” GradesFixer, 12 Feb. 2024,
The Power of Hidden Figures: Feminist and Antiracist Values in American History. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Feb. 2024].
The Power of Hidden Figures: Feminist and Antiracist Values in American History [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 12 [cited 2024 Feb 29]. Available from:
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