It’s that time of year again, when the shadow of New York’s Stonewall Inn riots in 1969 passes through our thoughts and we are reminded of that fateful June night when the uproar began.
Forty-two years later, we take pride in ourselves in June and say thanks to those brave people who said, “Enough.” Their limit-setting has led to the twinges of empowerment we feel today — that perhaps we are limitless in our quest for what is possible and just.
I’m approaching my 30th birthday, so I wasn’t even thought of when those history-changing events went down. But I am proud to say that, in my lifetime, things have in fact gotten better for individuals’ rights.
We owe this evolution (risky word choice) in part to the way in which we were raised, to the enlightenment of our parents that was passed on to us. But as much as I have lived my peaceful, open life standing on the shoulders of my predecessors, I also give credit to five films for helping to shape me into the person that I am today. They played a role in my emotional development and social character. I’ve seen thousands of movies many times, but in my youth, I watched these five films over and over.
With pride, I give you my list, plus my comments.
1. Steel Magnolias — Maybe this film explains why I enjoy gossip and witty Southern repartee and why when I’m at the gym it looks like “two pigs fightin’ under a blanket.”
2. 9 to 5 — I am for equality in the workplace, I often overlook details (rat poison), I can be timid and naïve, and I do enjoy a good empowerment ditty.
3. Batteries Not Included. Jessica Tandy is appealing to me as an actress. I have hope. I stand firm for something that I believe in. And I even can get caught up in a fantasy (i.e. little UFOs coming down from outer space to save my apartment building).
4. Tootsie. Thanks to this movie, I won’t let a man talk sass to me. I know how to use a cattle prod, and if I ever need a boost, I can turn to those iconic words “Go Tootsie Go!”
5. Driving Miss Daisy. I love the musings of a rich Southern Jewish woman. I like a good automobile, and, yes, “I do make water.”
So here we are in Pride month 2011. With humility, I say “thank you” to those brave souls of the Stonewall Riots, and as they said in Steel Magnolias, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me!”