The Cavalier Daily
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I have become a little feminist woman

How a coming-of-age novel doubles as a life lesson on growth

<p>Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.</p>

Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

After watching the most recent “Little Women” movie, I got to thinking about what the story really means to me. I was first exposed to this story at age four or five when I was bored at my grandma’s and begging for some entertainment. She had ingeniously pulled out the 1949 version, featuring classic actresses like June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor,  and my sisters and I fell in love. 

The story is simple, yet within this simplicity, it holds so much depth and love. The overarching themes revolve around sisterhood, independence, self-love and pursuing your passions — all of which are arguably more encouraged today than they have ever been. This story was revolutionary in the 1860s, pushing for the empowerment of women — both in the private and public spheres — by telling the story of four sisters getting to know themselves and each other. 

Jo is bold and the most outspoken about female empowerment, explicitly stating that women should be out there living life like the men in the story. Meg is the most OK with being confined to the stereotypical view of what it meant to be a woman at the time, though she, like Jo, also desires the true respect that many men did not show women at the time. Beth is the selfless and caring sister who hopes that everyone can get along and care for each other in whatever capacity they can while Amy is the most direct about wanting to follow her ambitions, knowing full well that a man may be necessary to propel her from point A to point B. 

These girls serve as important embodiments for who I want to be when I grow up. I want to be respected and passionate, yet respectful and caring. I want to be able to enjoy the same opportunities as men, yet still be hardworking and do all I can to get to where I want to be. 

While originally published in 1868, “Little Women” still preaches what people are actively fighting for in popular movements today. It vouches for the equality of genders, but still understands that each individual offers different strengths, perspectives and passions.

Many groups at the University, such as the Young Women Leaders Program, seek to accomplish a goal that author Louisa May Alcott sets in “Little Women” — that women should experience the freedom to do as they wish, just as men do. We live in a world that is coming to accept the equality of the genders more than ever before, and I’m thankful to have been exposed to such positive depictions of women at such an early age.

Sure, at age five, I probably wasn’t thinking too much about the feminist message behind the movie, yet I was enamored by the stark differences between the girls and how each character was painted as unique and lovable in their own way. I was also fascinated by the ways they cared so much about their family and how all four sisters truly believed in the path they wanted to follow for their lives.

Flashing forward to the present day after watching different versions of the same classic story, I can see that at the intersection of love, freedom, equality and passion is also the ability to change, develop and love yourself through it all. I am someone that is so horrible at change — I dread it, run from it and savor any sort of consistency as long as I possibly can. 

However, this story is proof that change is necessary for growth — that the discomfort associated with leaving your comfort zone isn’t always bad.  Jo, for instance, extols the need for society to grow and accept women for the strong, loving and powerful beings that they are. In a more overarching sense, Alcott also implores us to self-reflect and consider how to develop and change alongside the rest of society.

Beyond inspiring my present, I feel as though the pages also ask me to think about how far I’ve come and where I want to go. It’s beautiful in the way that each girl comes to understand their hopes and desires for their own lives while also taking into account how their loved ones fit into their broader plans and ambitions. 

For someone with sisters, trying to figure out how I need to grow both for myself and in relation to my sisters and my family has been tough. However, “Little Women” has helped ease my fears of change and taught me to embrace it with the hope of growth. It shows that, of course, women should be valued, respected and understood but also that we should reflect on what we want to do with both our present and future on this difficult yet amazing earth. 

Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist at The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at 


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