Have you ever had a stress dream? I have a lot of stress dreams. They take many different forms, some of which include: being unable to find something, being unable to finish something, being unable to run away from something. But I think the stress dream that I have the most frequently, and the one that always upsets me most, is the one where I’m fighting someone and hitting them with all my strength, but all they do is laugh at me.
If I were ever able to sock that stress dream combatant in the face, that would be my analogy for the plot of Girlfight.
Diana is trapped in a situation that devalues everything about her. She’s not white, she’s not wealthy, and she’s not feminine. Everything around her tries to disempower her, and she rails against it. It’s when she decides to take control of her body, shape it into a powerful tool, that she discovers some small amount of happiness.
But, like punching the stress dream combatant in the face, hers isn’t the perfect answer. She lashes out against everyone who has wronged her, and with incredible force. She beats her father in a fury, and rages against the feminine and ‘slutty’ Veronica. She doesn’t do everything right, and that’s the point. She shouldn’t have fought her father. She shouldn’t have beat up and talked trash about Veronica. But when everything around you is so hurtful, it’s easy to want to hurt everything back. The film asks questions, but doesn’t give us answers. Instead, we’re left with the frustration and anger of the disempowered, and the righteous satisfaction of seeing the people who’ve wronged us hurt.