The last three weeks have felt more like months, and I’m through with it. The violent misogyny. The patriarchy. The written laws and unspoken norms that have left women without a safe harbor. The insidiousness of powerful men who do everything they can to strip us of the self-determination that we’ve clamored for ourselves. I’ve spent all my other emotions. The only one left is rage.
And so, this list was born.
The idea caught on immediately (extra special thanks to Riese and Kayla for helping me compile the list!). We just needed cathartic release. Memories of funny, smart, angry women who banded together. Women who found deep strength in their friendships. Women who fought back. Women who stopped giving a shit. Women who righteously and gleefully killed their predators, ruined powerful men’s lives and careers. Women who stared down their monsters and fucking won.
A quick note about rankings: We’re here to talk about girl power and kicking ass! Accordingly, I split friendship and misandry into two categories. Since this is Autostraddle, after all, I also gave gayness its own category (it’s rated relative to the other movies on the list). The one exception is Tangerine which has groundbreaking trans performances, but both trans women characters are straight. I changed their “gay” category to “trans representation.”
Every category is ranked out of 10 points, for a total of 30 per movie. The most important thing to know is that this is all tongue-and-cheek. The numbers are fun. None of it should be taken as definitive. We are all on the same team, here to release our collective stress by watching (fictional) men go down in burning flames!
Friendship: 8/10 Misandry: 6/10 Gay: 0/10 Total: 14/30
John Tucker is one of those “Big Man on Campus” asshole high school guys who thinks he can get away with anything, until his girlfriends Heather, Beth, and Carrie realize that he’s dating all three of them at once. They devise a plan to give him everything he’s got coming to him. The whole “he cheated on all of us and now we will come together to ruin him” theme is repeated elsewhere on the list, and while John Tucker is a lot of fun in that middle school sleepover way, it’s probably the overall weakest entry. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Unless you’re harboring a long lasting crush on Sophia Bush in mid-00s Juicy couture tracksuits, not even a little bit.
19. Legally Blonde
Friendship: 6/10 Misandry: 5/10 Gay: 3/10 Total: 14/30
How can you not love Elle Woods? Glorious, unapologetic “I will prove everyone who ever doubted me wrong” feminist rage, unexpectedly wrapped up in a sugary pink bow. For bonus points, Elle also befriends her Ivy League dumbface ex-boyfriend’s current fiancée, eventually convincing her to leave him in the dust. That sound your hearing? It’s my “awww, the men are crying” laugh. Did I mention Elle’s also a survivor of workplace sexual harassment? While all the powerful white men in the movie eventually get what’s coming to them, it happens more by happy coincidence than a specific revenge plot of Elle’s making, which brings it further down on the list. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Three points for having a lesbian character, Enid Wexler. Too bad she doesn’t have anything to do beyond a couple of memorable one-liners.
18. The Other Woman
Friendship: 7/10 Misandry: 7/10 Gay: 0/10 Total: 14/30
Here we come to a cross between John Tucker Must Die (ranked lower on this list) and The First Wives Club (ranked much, much higher). Instead of high schoolers, adult women find out that the same “business bro” soulless man has been cheating on all three of them. They join forces in a pretty funny romp to give him, his due. If you are a fan of that specific aesthetic where rich, middle-age women wear designer clothes and drink white wine with their friends while plotting the demise of men, this is FOR YOU. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? I’ll be real with you, I’d probably give it negative gay points if I could. One of their revenge schemes involves making fun of an older drag queen and though I didn’t remember it from first viewing, it’s a thoroughly cringeworthy moment in retrospect.
Friendship: 5/10 Misandry: 8/10 Gay: 1/10 Total: 14/30
Jennifer Lopez trains in spandex leggings and eventually beats the living daylights out of her abusive husband who stalks her with the intention of killing her. She’s willing to go through it all to protect her daughter. The ending fight scene is one of the most clear cut examples of a cathartic release against predatory men that I can think of on screen. You’ll squeal with delight at every punch thrown. Through it all her best friend, Ginny, has her back. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Did you miss it when I said JENNIFER LOPEZ IN SPANDEX LEGGINGS? Okay then.
Friendship: 10/10 Misandry: 4/10 Gay: 1/10 Total: 15/30
I could try and explain the plot to a Charlie’s Angels movie, but why bother? It’s full of mad dash, nonsensical plot twists and slapstick girl power comedy. That’s the whole point! We’re looking for unbridled joy and lots of high kicks in the face of men! Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle delivers on that, and then some. You will laugh, you will stuff your face with popcorn and Reese’s Cups, you will feel better about the world. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Eh, I’m giving it one gay point because, generally speaking, the Angels are classic gay Halloween costumes. And Demi “GI Jane” Moore’s sexy rasp voice is…. a whole thing. Also, because Kristen Stewart is going to star in the reboot.
Friendship: 6/10 Misandry: 6/10 Gay: 3/10 Total: 15/30
Chicago may not be an obvious choice for this list; after all, Roxie Hart’s husband Amos is a sad sack who most likely didn’t deserve the deceit and pain that she leaves him with. But, do you know who did deserve it? Every single one of the men in the “Cell Block Tango.” It’s right in the chorus of the song – they had it coming all along. Pull up a chair and watch the black leotard clad women of Murderesses’ Row sing to you sweetly about all the men who simply had to die. Each kill is better than the last. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Queen Latifah plays the matron of a 1920s women’s penitentiary, is that gay enough for you?
14. Ocean’s 8
Friendship: 8/10 Misandry: 5/10 Gay: 3/10 Total: 16/30
Capitalism is sexist, and that’s just a plain fact. Pay inequality, unfair labor practices that don’t accommodate the needs of working mothers, all of that. Maybe you are going to tell me that a group of eight women robbing the Met Gala isn’t exactly feminist Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give the poor. You’d be right. But, guess what? They look so good doing it. (They also get to outsmart the inferior men around them at every turn.) Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? It’s never explicitly stated, but as Kayla rightfully argued in her review, you can watch all of Ocean’s 8 with the belief that Lou and Debbie used to date and at no point will the movie tell you that you’re wrong. Also: Cate Blanchett on a motorcycle. You’re welcome.
13. Practical Magic
Friendship: 8/10 Misandry: 8/10 Gay: 1/10 Total: 17/30￼
You know the phrase “Sisters Before Misters”? Well in this case, we are talking literally. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock play sister witches who are the nieces of Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest – imagine it as a bit like ‘90s era Sabrina the Teenage Witch, except everything in double and two thematic shades darker. The foursome stage one of the most memorable dance scenes in “Chick Flick” cinematic history. Oh, and Nicole Kidman’s abuser? Don’t worry, he really gets his in the end. Actually, he gets his multiple times. But, shhhh! I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? All witches are gay.
12. The Craft
Friendship: 6/10 Misandry: 9/10 Gay: 2/10 Total: 17/30
I love The Craft. I assume you already LOVE The Craft. If for some reason you haven’t already pledged allegiance to the badass high school mean girls coven of the ‘90s, let me enlighten you: The attempted rapist? He dies. The abusive stepfather? He dies, too. The street harasser? Yep, dead. Basically any man who in anyway harms any of these teen witches doesn’t make it to the final credits. As well it should be. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? All witches are gay. Especially teen witches with black lipstick, mini-skirts, and a “Fuck Men” attitude.
11. Citizen Ruth
Friendship: 5/10 Misandry: 6/10 Gay: 6/10 Total: 17/30
A mid ‘90s satire that skewers both sides of the abortion debate might be exactly what you are looking for as we hold our collective breath to see if our new Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and sets women’s reproductive health in this country back 50+ years. Whoops! Sorry! I got a little too real there. Back to fantasy! Ruth Stoops (Laura Dern) finds herself caught between two groups, one pro-choice and one pro-life, who both are willing to pay her to have (or not have, as the case may be) her baby. The entire comedy centers around the question: Will a woman ever get to decide for herself about what to do with her own damn body? Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? The movie depicts the pro-choice group (and its leader) as moon goddess worshiping lesbians. Whether you’re intended to laugh with the stereotype or at it, I’ll leave up to you.
Friendship: 7/10 Misandry: 9/10 Gay: 4/10 Total: 20/30
For a movie that’s supposedly about some guy named Max, Mad Max: Fury Road surely runs on a lot of angry, kickass, feminist energy! Max runs in into Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who is on a mission to save a group of imprisoned women known as “The Wives” from their abusive, all-powerful, tyrant of a captor. Furiosa’s everything you could want in an action hero. She’s fearless. She never blinks. She leads team of women across the desert and into many nightmarish bloody battles. When they think it’s over, they go back into the mouth of hell one last time to free everyone else, too. Because we aren’t free unless we all are free. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? There’s a naked woman and she’s the head of an all-women clan that call themselves the Vulvani. Draw your own conclusions.
Friendship: 10/10 Misandry: 10/10 Gay: 2/ 10 Total: 22/30
I’d be shocked if anyone heard the words “friendship & misandry” and didn’t think of Thelma & Louise immediately. It’s the gold standard. If it was even a smidge gayer, it would’ve flown to the very TOP of this list. Bored with her life and the men in it, Thelma joins her friend Louise for a weekend fishing trip. The two find themselves on the run after a man attempts to rape Thelma, spurring Louise into deadly action. Thelma & Louise is so perfectly tuned for this moment that in the middle of the Kavanaugh hearing, an actual chunk of the film’s 27-year-old dialogue went viral on Twitter. Thelma and Louise chose their freedom in the face of every societal message and impulse that told them to make themselves smaller, and in doing so inspired a generation of women. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? This is generous, but I’m giving them two bonus points for inspiring my favorite Janelle Monáe music video.
Friendship: 8/10 Misandry: 5/10 Trans Representation: 9/10 Total: 22/30
This indie comedy/drama follows transgender sex worker Sin-Dee Rella on as she rejoins her life on the outside at Christmas, after a 28 day jail sentence. Over donuts her best friend, Alexandra, lets it slip that Sin-Dee’s boyfriend (and pimp) Chester has been cheating on her with a cisgender woman. What follows is a frenetic day in the life as Sin-Dee and Alexandria set out to find Chester and teach him a lesson. The deal with Tangerine is that when I cried, I wept. But when I laughed? I doubled over. That’s true art. Here’s the trailer.
OK, Let’s Talk Trans: Tangerine was so well received by critics that its production house mounted the first ever Academy Awards campaign for openly transgender actresses, Kitana Kid Rodriguez and Mya Taylor. As far as representation goes, it’s the strongest entry on the list.
Friendship: 8/10 Misandry: 7/10 Gay: 8/10 Total: 23/30
There are times when we talk about mediocre white men who have become violent, radicalized, and dangerous at the prospect of giving up the smallest amount of their unearned privilege and we call them “monsters” as a metaphor. Then there are movies like Ghostbusters, which takes that same white man and turns him into a literal monster – well, a possessed ghost, to be specific – that can be be fought and won by a team of nerdy women united for a common cause. Ghostbusters turns nearly every gender stereotype in film on its head. The “dumb blonde” damsel in distress waiting to be saved? He’s now a man. The villain in need of defeating? A GamerGate style, weak ego, whiny man-baby who quite frankly needs to be stomped out. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Director Paul Feig has famously played coy on the record as to whether Kate McKinnon’s Dr. Jillian Holtzmann is actually gay, but some things cannot be hidden or contained. Kate’s unexplainable sexiness as she licks her double fisted guns before tearing ghosts to bits? That’s one of them.
Friendship: 10/10 Misandry: 8/10 Gay: 6/10 Total: 24/30￼
When you’re talking about best friends who come together and ruin the lives of the men who discarded them, I hope you start with this movie first. I’m biased because The First Wives Club has been one of my favorite movies since I was 10 years old, but I dare anyone to watch the final scene of Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler singing “You Don’t Own Me” in coordinating off-white ensembles and not fall in love. After their mutual friend dies by suicide, the First Wives realize that the emotional abuse of men comes with steep price. Together they destroy their ex-husbands careers and lives, one-by-one. In retrospect, that doesn’t sound like the premise for a comedy, but I promise it’s one of the best of its decade. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Diane Keaton’s daughter, a first lieutenant in the Wives Club, is a lesbian and it’s a gentle running gag throughout of the movie (to be clear, they never laugh at her – the straights are the butt of jokes). A pivotal scene comes together at a lesbian bar. The real reason I’m ranking this movie so high for gayness is that when I was a wee baby little Carmen, it gave me my first glimpse at Lea DeLaria, who hits on Goldie Hawn.
Friendship: 8/10 Misandry: 9/10 Gay: 8/10 Total: 25/30
Speaking of girl gangs coming together, let’s talk Foxfire. Five high school girls join up to confront the teacher who has been sexually harassing them. Then, after getting suspended when that confrontation turns violent, they lean on each other and their friendship to see them through. They also steal a car in retaliation against a group of teenage boys who attempted to rape one of them, and hold one of the girls’ fathers, who has been physically abusing her, at gunpoint. If you’re ready to rage against the misogynist violence that teen girls are subjected to in this country, there are worst places to start watching. Here’s the trailer.
￼But Carmen, is it Gay? Let me quote our Editor in Chief, Riese Bernard, “This movie was so gay that it even turned Angelina Jolie into a bisexual. It was on the set of Foxfire that Angelina met her first girlfriend, Jenny Shimizu.” That’s pretty effing gay.
4. 9 to 5
Friendship: 10/10 Misandry: 9/10 Gay: 6/10 Total: 25/30￼
This is probably controversial, but my favorite part of 9 to 5 is actually the first 30 minutes. That’s when you get to meet the overtly sexist, completely heinous, waste of skin boss who belittles and sexually harasses his women employees. The entire time you think, “Damn this man really deserves to be shattered. His whole word should be blown up.” – which makes everything that happens next oh so sweet. I was very close to giving this movie ten points for misandry, but the boss actually escapes capture at the very end. BOO. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Three points for starring out lesbian actress Lily Tomlin. Another three because, well, Dolly Parton. Seems fair to me.
Friendship: 8/10 Misandry: 9/10 Gay: 9/10 Total: 26/30
Well, this movie is BONKERS, and I say that lovingly. Sissy (Uma Thurman) was born with incredibly large thumbs, so obviously she becomes a hitchhiker? Which leads her to New York, where she becomes a model for a feminine hygiene company run by a flamboyant gay man who goes by The Countess. The Countess introduces her to the Rubber Rose Ranch, which he also owns. Except the cowgirls who work at the ranch violently take the land back! And it all ends with a showdown against U.S. government! Here’s the trailer.
￼But Carmen, is it Gay? Incredibly gay. Across the spectrum gay. The camp aesthetics are gay. There’s the aforementioned gay mogul and obviously a land full of women. Also, Sissy and the ranch head (whose name, I kid you not, is Bonanza Jellybean) hook up!! Gay gay gay gay gay.
ETA: After the publication of this article, it came to my attention that Keanu Reeves’ character in this film participates in redface tropes. I don’t have personal recollection of Keanu Reeves from my original viewing of the film – sometimes I block out men, sorry! – and my extensive research before compiling this list did not alert me to this fact. Nevertheless, it’s something you should be aware of. Knowing this information earlier would have ultimately effected this film’s ranking.
2. Set it Off
Friendship: 10/10 Misandry: 7/10 Gay: 9/ 10 Total: 26/30
This list is filled with fights against misogyny that boil down to “this man is bad and he must therefore go down.” And hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! But Set it Off is here to remind us that for feminism to be worth anything, it must be intersectional. These women aren’t just fighting off one “bad man” (though there is a terrible white cop antagonist), they are uprooting the ways that systematic sexism, classism, and racism work in service of white supremacy. Those are pretty heavy themes for a bank heist action film. And they nail it every time. Fair warning? Keep a box of tissues ready, this one is a weeper. Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Queen Latifah’s Cleo is the stud heartthrob for an entire generation of black lesbians, so I’m gonna go with “duh.” At one point she also “makes it rain” money on her girlfriend, dressed in expensive designer lingerie, while she’s dancing on top of a car. Is that ideal behavior? Probably NOT. But what we are ranking here is gayness, and it is indeed most definitely that.
Friendship: 10/10 Misandry: 8/10 Gay: 8/10 Total: 26/30
After breaking up with her girlfriend, Jane (Whoopi Goldberg) answers a newspaper ad from Robin (Mary-Louise Parker), a real estate agent living with HIV. Together they plan a cross-country road trip from New York to LA. Along the way, they pick up Holly (Drew Barrymore). Holly’s been living in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Nick. After a violent confrontation, the three women leave Nick barely alive, or so they think, as they head to California. Everything that happens after that is honestly one of the most beautiful tributes to adult friendships between women that I’ve seen. As the movie’s tagline goes, “Women On Top. Boys on the side.” Here’s the trailer.
But Carmen, is it Gay? Obviously, Whoopi Goldberg is playing a lesbian, so that’s gay. She also falls head over heels for Mary Louise Parker, and falling in love with your straight best friend is also very gay. Their friendship, while never tipped towards romantic on screen, becomes more deep and complex as the movie unfolds. It’s clearly treasured by both of them. Unvarnished emotional intimacy between women? G-A-Y.
Let’s plan a movie marathon! Tell me all about it in the comments.￼