Feisty Female(s): Ruth Jamison, Idgie Threadgoode, Evelyn Couch and Ninny Threadgoode
Year we got to know them: 1991
Best known for: Giving us the feminist rally-cry “Towanda!!” encouraging women to take control of their lives, showing an (albeit slightly veiled) story of women in love, and giving women a little bit of hope and friendship in the truly stellar Fried Green Tomatoes.
Why they deserve a second look:
Idgie is a kick-ass butchy lesbian who won’t settle down or play by 1930s social rules and Ruth leaves her abusive husband to be with Idgie. Ninny brings hope and friendship through storytelling to a depressed Evelyn, giving Evelyn the motivation to change her life. All of the women are outstanding examples of strength and standing up for yourself, and every time I watch this movie I just feel good. I don’t think it’s over the top corny or sentimental or gushy. It just makes me happy.
Although I’ve read that the book is more blatant about the lesbian relationship between Idgie and Ruth, the film made even elementary-school me understand what was going on. And for a financially and critically successful mainstream film in 1991 to touch upon women in love, it broke barriers and is still considered a breakthrough LGBT feminist film.
Sure, all we see is an innocent kiss…
…and according to the director the food fight scene is supposed to represent, well, sex…
…it still portrays a unique and loving relationship between the two women. And with the friendship between Ninny and Evelyn that lifts them both up, this film is filled with outstanding feisty feminist females. Fried Green Tomatoes truly did help shape me into a feminist before I even knew what the word meant.
Seriously, if you haven’t seen it throw it in the Netflix queue, call up your girlfriends and have a good old fashioned slumber party to remind yourself just how important friendship is.
And, just because I think this is hilarious, a great Idgie/Ruth fan vid to one of the greatest songs ever recorded.