While reading the instructions for this assignment, the movie Hidden Figures was the first thing that popped into my mind because of how much self-worth and perseverance the women portray after constantly being shut down by men. After learning about the issues dealing with feminism, sexist gender roles and so on, I am much more aware of the gender inequality presented in movies that I would not have noticed before taking this class.
Hidden Figures is a very fascinating and eye-opening movie that pushes the audience to realize that anything is possible no matter what color or gender you are. The setting of this movie was taken place in the 1960s when men had a great amount of power over women and in addition, women of color had no say at all. An insanely talented and intelligent colored women named Katherine Johnson was working for the company NASA with a team of women taking on the task as “human computers”, segregated from the rest of the company. The NASA Space Task group needed a human computer who was able to do analytic geometry and Katherine just so happened to be the perfect match. When Katherine entered her new work environment, she found herself in a room full of men who were shocked and confused to see a woman walk in, as if she mistakenly entered the wrong room. In no time, Katherine impressed the whole Space Task group by doing a math equation on the black board that no one had the guts to try and figure out.
As everyone was very impressed with her, she was still rejected from the board meetings and was not able to put her name on the mathematical reports because of the simple excuse that she is a woman. Once they no longer needed her because they were ready to launch the spaceship and her presence of doing math calculations was not useful anymore, they directed her back to where she was from the start, segregated from the NASA building. Before the spaceship was going to be launched into the orbit, the astronaut needed to make sure the landing and re-entry points were exact so that no mistakes were made while in the air. The only person he trusted to verify this important task was Katherine, so she was quickly brought back in. She did final calculations and had the final say on whether the spaceship was ready for take-off because she knew what she was doing more than any of the other men, and of course, she had all her numbers on point and they were ready for take-off.
There were a lot of comments and actions shown in the movie that showed the disrespect and inferiority that women had. As I already mentioned, Katherine was not allowed to join any of the business meetings because “there is no protocol for women attending the meetings” which is very unfair because what is said in the meetings is crucial for her to know. As well as when Katherine met a young man at a barbeque and told him where she works and what her position was, he was surprised because he thought “only a man can do that”. When Katherines section of the company had succeeded at their first launch around the earth and the boss applauded them, he said “thank you gentlemen” and everyone carried on without realizing that they are not only men and the word “gentlemen” is a said habit that should not have been used. When Mary, Katherines close friend, had mentioned that she wanted to be part of the group of engineers working at NASA, they unfortunately told her she had to finish her schooling at a high school that only accepted males and sadly, it was the only school that offered the specific classes that she needed. It was a very cruel time that they were living in because your achievements depended mostly on your gender and not whether you have the will power and intelligence. It is very aggravating and irritating to think that it is not because you are not good enough that you cannot accomplish something, but it is because you are a female.
My favorite part about this movie is the self-worth that these women have by speaking up when they thought something was unfair, no matter what the rules are. They fought and made sure that things were done correctly because gender should not be a reason for any decision. Katherine spoke her mind and gave it her all to prove that she should attend the business meetings until she was finally able to present herself at the meetings, which she was. When Mary was rejected from the high school because she was a female, she did not give up then and there, she brought her case up with the judge and before you knew it, she was one of the students at the engineering high school. These powerful women in the movie have such a positive effect on the females that feel like they are inferior or not “good enough” for people’s expectations.