Wednesday 13 January 2021

Eep was the Heroine I needed to See

If I followed a timeline of new release films, I'd say I came late to the party when it came to watching The Croods when it first released back in 2013.

Looking back, I don't think I came late at all, I don't think I would have been able to comprehend the message I needed to understand, all those year ago. So I watched The Croods just this month, the first one and than the second one. I was struck with an important message about womanhood and matriarchy as I followed the journey of this family. If you haven't yet watched the film, sorry for the spoilers, but maybe you need some of this insight before watching these films.

The Croods family is the last "cave" family left in the known world and the way they survive the truly prehistoric, dangerous world they live in, is to stay in their dark, empty black cave. The family has survived for the most part, because of Grug the very strong caveman father whose sole mission on earth is to take care of his family. Undoubtedly Grug's strength is so necessary in this world they inhabit, but his strength is completely born out of fear. His wife Ugga is strong, so is Gran, and Sandy the baby of the family. Thunk the son is a actually very much a modern day teenage boy, who complies with his father, is lazy, and will eventually (in the second film), become addicted to the window (something we'd understand to be an ancient TV). And then there's Eep! 

She's the oldest sibling, with her fiery red hair and tiger skin halter dress, she's filled with the wonder and desire to step out of the cave, in to the unknown. Her father calls it curiosity, in essence it's independence and wonder outside of fear. 

Everyone of us have experienced the pull of independence within our teenage years. Those years felt full of pushing and pulling, as our parents still tried to reign us in but we yearned to fly. But For Eep there's more. It's not just the pull of teenage years, Eep is the foil for her father Grug. In fact, Eeps curiosity saves the family as the continents shift and the world as they known it changes. Eep pushes her family to think differently, and eventually she leads them to a boy she meets named Guy. He's advanced in thought, and ideas, he's very much a modern guy (excuse the pun). But in opposition, Eep is filled with both inner and outward strength. 

She's the heroine I needed to see when I was young, the one millennial girls never grew up seeing. 

She saves the day and saves the guy, in this poignant scene I cannot get enough of. Her holding Guy with her one hand and a rope in her other as they dangle across a bottomless hole about to be murdered by a monster. 

While the patriarch has dominated the scene, it is not another male who will become the protagonist of survival, it's a woman, it's Eep. She is the future, and she is the rightful leader. Everything points to this, her father has to learn to see it.

In the second Croods film, the wives and daughters led by Gran - who loves talking about the tribe of warrior women she used to lead, ultimately save all the men. This is not a way of saying women do not need men, it's a way of saying, we have to be who we were created to be. 

Some women are born to be leaders in various capacities, and some men are needed as leaders as well. It's about learning to work together, and being humble enough to accept that female leadership is Divinely Ordained and historically rejected. And perhaps the bigger narrative in the Croods is the one beneath the surface in the first film but glaringly obvious in the second, matriarchy is needed within this world. When it is not given space, it will grow regardless, and when it grows it will be a holy force for Life. The empowerment of women to be who and what they were created to be, should be coupled with teaching men how to live with that empowerment and to see it as a force for the goodness of this earth.

With fresh heroines like Eep, our daughters are witnessing what it means to be fully yourself, (I love how happy she is when Guy calls her heavy - a truth we need to internalize that beauty standards are shaped by culture and exposure). These were not the kinds of heroines I saw growing up, and perhaps it shaped my generation's thinking of what it meant to date, and what kind of guy we were all looking for. This is changing (yes please!) and it needs to. The world is changing, our generation is changing and the divine calling for the next generation will be a different one. God is trusting us to model; equality, togetherness and co - rulership on this earth. Grugg is needed, but so too  more than ever, is Epp...


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