In defense of Moxie

Amanda Hirsch
8 min readMar 6, 2021

Unlike many reviewers, I loved it, and here’s why

Warning: contains spoilers

I’m reading a lot of negative #Moxie reviews, and they’re pissing me off. I loved Moxie, and no, it’s not just because I adore Amy Poehler, who directed the film. As an ardent feminist who tells women’s stories for a living, I believe that some of the critiques I’m reading are truly misguided.

In The New York Times:

“‘Moxie’ is a CliffsNotes guide to fighting the patriarchy. In its hyper-condensed view, all you need is a tank top, a Bikini Kill song and a mass walkout and voilà! The struggle is over.”

This is so unfair. Where in the movie does it suggest that “the struggle is over”? The members of a high school’s feminist club give each other a platform for sharing their stories and calling out injustice — and a rapist. The movie makes it clear, given the insidious misogyny evident in their school (and, by logical extension, their world), that these girls will be fighting an uphill battle — the struggle is certainly NOT over. But unity can give them strength.

Intersectional feminism and peanut butter

Other reviews argue that the film isn’t actually as intersectional as it wants to be — that diverse characters are given short shrift or are secondary to the white cis girl’s central narrative. For example, in Refinery29:

“The movie acknowledges that past generations of feminists, represented by Poehler herself, have been woefully oblivious to their white privilege, and stresses the need for intersectionality. Having said that — literally and often — the story continues to revolve around Vivian’s struggle. Moxie uses its supporting characters as symbols of inclusivity, suggesting that they matter just as much without ever proving it by digging into any of their stories.”

I won’t disagree that this is a story about a white, cis, girl, first and foremost, so in that sense, the stories of characters of different backgrounds do come in second to her narrative. There is no question that we need more stories that center non-cis, non-white, differently

Amanda Hirsch

I write about raising women's voices, power, and motherhood.