Beauty in the Movies: Mermaids

Looking back at images of beauty that have made a great impression on me throughout my life, I’ve noticed that there are films which have left a permanent mark on what appeared as beautiful to me, both in ways that I could relate to, and also in admiration of the beauty of others. As Netflix likes to tell me, many of my favorite films feature “strong female leads”, which is true. Unfortunately, they make very few movies that fall in to that realm. In fact there is this thing called the-Bechdel-test which is a way of gauging the prevalence of female representation in movies. It was created by a very smart woman named Allison Bechdel. You can read all about it here, but the basis of the test involves asking these three questions about any movie:

1. Are there two or more women in it who have names?

2. Do the two women ever talk to each other?

3. Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?

When you first read these questions you think, “God that’s silly, of course tons of movies must answer all three of those questions positively” and then you stop and think for a minute and go “wait, oh my god, that sucks, why are there no movies for women that don’t revolve around men or shopping? AHHH” and then you get really upset until you go watch Mermaids and Cher sings and cheers you up, and you remember that there are some good movies for us females.

We should promote and encourage more films that explore all aspects of female existence to be made. Because really, as much as relationships are a part of life, there are so many more topics to cover, and women really seem to just get pigeonholed into these love-sick shopaholics, and we are all so much more than that aren’t we?

So anyway, my point is, every week (on Friday because it’s movie night, duh!) I am going to post about one of these great movies that actually show the diversity of women, and also gives us inspiring images of beauty both in and out. So send me your suggestions too! I’ll make fun collages, it will be great!

Now let me get to Mermaids, this movie had a profound effect on my life when I was 7, I wanted to be Cher, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci all at once. I loved this movie so much, and still do, that I’d like to share a little anecdote.

Here is a picture of my sister and I in matching outfits (my mother claims this only happened a few times, but I think it happened more) you can see by my sister’s dress that the skirt is supposed to be loose and A-line. Well, I wanted to be just like Cher, so in this big family photo, I decided to knot my skirt in the back so it would be tight like Cher’s right before my dad snapped the photo. I was a pretty bad ass kid. Nobody even noticed, but I was happy, and I still get a kick out of looking at it.

Mermaids centers around the story of Rachel Flax, a single mom who moves to a small Massachusetts town with her two daughters (Ryder and Ricci) in 1963. She cuts sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie cutters, wears fabulous outfits, and actually has a realistic relationship with her kids. Winona Ryder’s character, Charlotte, falls for the hunky groundskeeper (Jake from Sixteen Candles) at the nearby convent, and struggles with questions of religion, sex, and abandonment by her father. The movie also covers Kennedy’s assassination, an adorable Christina Ricci as a swimming champion, Bob Hoskins making an amazing night-light, and so much more.  There is a great soundtrack too, my favorite camp counselor used to have us sing The Shoop Shoop Song (Does he love Me?) on the bus, it was the best summer.

So if you’ve never seen Mermaids (or even if you have) I highly recommend checking it out, and if you find yourself as inspired by Cher’s sexy, fun, 60’s looks in the film as I was, here is a little shopping guide to help you get the look:

Puckered Sleeve Dot Cardigan
$24 –
More cardigans »

Cornelli Cardi
30 GBP –
More Miss Selfridge cardigans »

$650 –
More Marni tops »


darla bracelet
25 GBP –
More bracelets »

Black False Lashes
$6 –

Have a great weekend everyone!


Filed under Beauty in the movies

11 responses to “Beauty in the Movies: Mermaids

  1. I love the idea of posting about movies with strong female leads. I’m ALWAYS looking for these movies and almost never find them. It’s almost shocking how few there are. I also always want to see movies with women in action roles. But most of them are very sexualized. What are your thoughts on “Kill Bill”? It was so violent, but maybe she was a little less of the typical action heroine!

    • Kate, I had such mixed feelings about ‘Kill Bill’, on the one hand you have a female lead taking on a typically male role, in a Tarantino film no less, but at the same time I wished her character was more developed so we could at least better understand all the violence. I am so excited to start looking for kick-butt female movies, I hope it will make me watch things that I wouldn’t normally have chosen too. We need more movies with strong and interesting female characters, I hope I can find some!

  2. haren

    I love mother/daughter films.

  3. lizzy

    Thank you for the collage! That pink and black polka dotted dress has always gotten me. I’m loving your mix of illustrations and photos with your personal pictures. How about “Fried Green Tomatoes” for a future post? Have I revealed too much about myself by saying that?! Whatever, its no secret.

    • Are you kidding? I should have thought of fried green tomatoes, of course that should be on there! All you have revealed is that you have good taste Lizzy!

  4. cecilia

    steel magnolias! the world needs more blush and bashful. love the collage, and the photo, and mermaids. great pick.

  5. Megan

    Don’t forget I Capture the Castle. I just finished re-reading the book. So good. And it’s companion movie, Cold Comfort Farm.

  6. Sheila

    As a girl did you roll up the hem of your jean (Denim) skirts so the inside of the skirt was showing? What did you parents say when they saw the picture?

  7. Vicki

    What did your parents say when they saw this picture? When you were a kid did you ever roll over the bottom of a Denim (Jean) skirt or dress? I remember that I did this.

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