Southern Girl Academy: Movies

You’ve heard of art imitating life and vice versa, and when it comes to Southern women and the heroines that portray them, you couldn’t get a more accurate representation that what takes shape on the silver screen. Movies as they are more commonly known, and at one such point – talkies. But I digress. I could sit here and prattle on about the most iconic of all Southern movies– both old and new: like Driving Miss Daisy, Smokey and the Bandit, Ghosts of Mississippi, Sling Blade and True Grit (written by our own Charles Portis, thankyouverymuch.), but I won’t. Instead, I want to talk about the leading ladies in some key Southern films.

First, Southern women have the tendency to come across as frail. Let me assure you, this is a front. We Southern women are a strong bunch, both physically and mentally. Here are just a few lessons we can learn from the Southern ladies of the big screen.

How to get what you want: Gone With the Wind

The quintessential Southern lass: Scarlet O’Hara (played by the lovely Vivian Leigh)

Scarlet was driven and determined to get what she wanted, regardless of who stood in her way. And her prize was a man. And then money. But mostly a man. (Or a man with money) And a beautiful dress was a priority to help catch him. But when faced with no money, she went so far as to have one made from her mother’s drapes. That takes both initiative and brains. We Southern ladies are no dummies.

Taking matters into your own hands: Fried Green Tomatoes

How many times has someone done something to you and that little switch in your brain flipped? A calm, cool and collected Southern lady has a number of options, the first being to smile and coo an insult so sweetly that the recipient will be left questioning whether or not you intended to be mean. Another option is to smash into that car that cut you off and scream “Towanda!” at the top of your lungs.

Sometimes a lady has to take off her proverbial starched white gloves and put on the boxing gloves. Or in this case, the driving gloves.

This movie is a tale of friendship in both of the parallel stories being told. Women bonding over love lost, broken friendships and death. There’s even a surprise ending involving cannibalism. I’m not going to lie; we Southerners do love a good Bar-B-Q, but really? Southern ladies draw the line at eating people.

Grace under pressure: Steel Magnolias

Dealing with grief can be a bitter pill to swallow, but these ladies do so with grace, charm and a healthy dose of snark. As fragile as the magnolia blooms for which they are named, sometimes they seemed to be forged from steel. Although she was beside herself with grief over the untimely death of her daughter, M’Lynn moved forward and helped her son-in-law pick up the pieces and raise her grandson. And, in epic Southern fashion, a new child was born of a friend and named for the beloved lost daughter. Like most, we honor our family by having their names live on.

From grace and strength to poise under pressure to simply getting what you want, Southern ladies know best. So the next time you need a lesson on how to be a proper Southern lady, look no further than your DVD collection.

Kelli Marks rambles on her blog about her life with pups, her obsession with baking and this little habit of building houses. She likes it when you stop by. She also pokes fun at the mundane and ridiculous though a pseudo-alter ego at Kelli Hates.

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6 Responses

  1. It has always bothered me that a Brit played Scarlett O’Hara. And don’t even get me started on Nicole Kidman’s (an Aussie) awful accent in Cold Mountain.

  2. i’m ashamed to admit that i haven’t watched all of these movies. how can i consider myself a southerner without this basic initiation? i’d better get on netflix. =)

  3. Love all these! They are definitely a must-have in my dvd collection!!!
    I need to watch, “Fried Green Tomatoes” again.
    I was wondering where, “Thelma & Louise” and “Beaches” would go?

  4. I cannot imagine there will ever be a more perfect move made than Steel Magnolias.
    The writing, the names, the emotions, the imagery.
    “All gay men are named Mark, Rick or Steve and ALL gay men have track lighting”
    or
    “Sammy Dwayne Desoto, What is this in my Frigidaire?”
    or
    “Her colors are pink and pink.”
    or
    “Daddy always said an ounce of pretention is worth a pound of manure.”

    I may have botched the wording on some of these, but you get the idea.

    Oh, and let’s talk for a minute about the fresh-off-the-hot-rollers hair.

    • You should have written this post! You obviously know more about these movies than I do. My hubs controls the remote and I can quote “other” movies, like The Big Lebowski, The Hangover and SuperTroopers. I’m not proud of this.

  5. I love this post as much as I love all these movies. I wish I had written it. Well done!

    I love Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoes — “Face it, girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.”

    The Southern Girl Academy is the bomb!

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