Take Your Daughters to See Captain Marvel. Your Sons Too.

Let them see they aren't alone for the times they were told they were "too emotional" or "too defiant."

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Well, it’s finally happened.  After ten years, Marvel has launched a film starring a female heroine, breaking a streak of male-led solo and team movies.

Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, a human-turned-alien warrior, who seeks to understand her true identity and her personal power. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and inspired heavily by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s comics, the movie is a prime example of resilience in action and what it means to persevere.

From the moment we meet Carol, she faces challenges.  She has compassion and determination but faces the boundaries of others’ judgments and expectations.  She’s shamed for expressing feeling and minimized for asking questions. 

According to others, her drive to challenge the status quo makes her a trouble-maker, her empathy makes her weak.

Carol resembles the challenges we all face and our ability to overcome each challenge with the spirit of resiliency. Because Carol isn’t just the strongest hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; she’s also the most resilient.

Resilience is different from strength: strength is about standing firm while resilience is about adapting and recovering.  An oak tree is strong and tall, but stormy winds can still uproot a strong tree.  A palm tree is rarely uprooted because it bends.  It sways and adapts and reorients all while never being uprooted.  Resilience is about bouncing back time and time again.

“Resilience is different from strength: strength is about standing firm while resilience is about adapting and recovering.”

Captain Marvel is a movie about resilience.  It’s a movie about the delicate dance between accepting ourselves fully and challenging ourselves to grow.  Carol learns to overthrow the identities she was given, identities defined by other’s expectations, and chooses who she wants to be.  And as she learns to accept and ground herself in her new identity, she recognizes herself as a work-in-progress, taking ownership of her mistakes and working consistently towards growth.

So take your daughters to see Captain Marvel. Let them see they aren’t alone for the times they were told they were “too emotional” or “too defiant.”  Teach them the power in femininity, not in spite of.  Show them what it means to live resiliently, continuing to overcome even when the game feels rigged.

And take your sons to see Captain Marvel. Let them see what it means to be resilient, not just strong.  Show them how to connect with emotions and recognize that feelings can strengthen us.  Encourage them to listen to what it might be like to live different lives, and how to celebrate empathy rather than idolize pride.

Let’s teach our children and ourselves the power of resilience, of continuing to challenge ourselves to grow rather than ever feeling we’ve arrived.  Let’s show what it means to connect humbly rather than to overpower heartlessly. Let’s insist on relationships that honor vulnerability and community.

“Let’s teach our children and ourselves the power of resilience, of continuing to challenge ourselves to grow rather than ever feeling we’ve arrived.”

And let’s demand media that shows honest characters living authentic lives. Captain Marvel is a great step in the right direction.

Higher, Further, Faster, baby.

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