Tough Broads or… She Doesn’t Need a Man

Feeling frustrated by the progress women have made in the United States?  Politics got you down?

  • Amazingly, in 2017, 104 women hold seats in Congress, making up just 19.4% of the 535 members.
  • According to the AAUW in 2015 women in America were paid 80 cents for every 1 dollar that men earned.  The pay gap is significantly worse for women of color.

vintage housewife

American women have truly come a long way but we still have real ground to cover.

As a huge classic movie fan I look back 70 or 80 years and see so many beautifully strong leading ladies who fought for quality roles and broke the purely domestic molds.  They portrayed intelligent and independence women, virtues not highly prized for women of the 30’s and 40’s.  Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, and Greta Garbo…Women, I suggest we take a page from these fabulous sisters.


First Roz.  Rosalind Russell’s dynamite role as Hildy in His Girl Friday is ahead of its time.  She stands toe to toe with cocky Cary Grant and gives as good as she gets.  She’s an independent, competent, and confident career woman who loves what she does.  I want to have a little more ‘Hildy’ in me.


And then there’s The Women.  Just take one look at this cast.  Need I say more?

No men were needed in the casting of THIS film.



Next, we have Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind. Not exactly THE ideal role model (the man eating, the lying) it’s true but definitely a tenacious woman with a will of iron and survival instincts like no other.


And then we have Joan Crawford in… just about every role she plays.  In Mildred Pierce she provides for her family single handed.  She is a survivor.  She is FIERCENESS personified.


In the little seen gem, Reunion in France, Joan Crawford transforms herself from a self absorbed clueless wealthy snob into courageous French patriot. By the end she totally schools the Nazis, making them tumble in her wake like playthings.


Hey, honestly while I’d love to be pals with Roz, Joan (in any role) scares the living bejeebers out of me.  Of all the gals listed here she’s the woman I’d be most afraid to cross and most certain would beat the living daylights out of me if I wronged her.

And if you haven’t checked it out yet Feud: Bette and Joan on FX is a television event no classic movie lover should miss.  Review  Hot stuff!

Next, we have Bette Davis as Margo Channing in All About Eve, a force to be reckoned with.


Bette Davis was a brave woman who stood up to the studio system, suing Warner Bros to be let out of her oppressive contract so she could pursue better roles.  She didn’t win her lawsuit but she was the foremother of a revolt that led to the eventual dismantling of the system in which stars were little more than property of the studio moguls.  Read More. 

Later, Olivia de Havilland boldly took on the studio system and won. More.


…And anything Kate is in… well, you know she’ll be self-sufficient, strong, and intelligent like Kate truly was.   Check out Woman of the Year, The African Queen, Little Women, Stage Door, and Holiday.

And Garbo, my love…

Well, take a look at Queen Christina and you’ll be inspired by a woman of courage, leadership, and strength.

Garbo: “We need new wine in the old bottles!”   Amen!


Often still working within stereotypical gender roles these actresses crafted characters of integrity, bravery, and persistence.

A woman’s place is in the home?  I think not.

Click here to read another blogger’s excellent review of Crawford’s stellar performance in Reunion in France.


One thought on “Tough Broads or… She Doesn’t Need a Man

  1. Thanks for the Reunion in France shout-out! I adore Joan Crawford in this (and every other) role. It truly is a film that deserves to be better known.

    This is a fabulous list of strong women. If I were to make my own list, I’d probably choose exactly the same women.

    Liked by 1 person

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