Seeing Myself in Hidden Figures

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Viri Reyes, Staff Writer

When I sat down to watch Hidden Figures, I didn’t expect it to leave such an impression on me. I originally went to see it because I love space and when I saw three women were in the leading roles, I was hooked.

Hidden Figures, which has already $145 million, has been nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress, and Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay. They deserve to win because this movie spoke to me on a much larger scale than just great acting.

I went in thinking that this movie was just fictional. Never had anyone told me that three black women made it possible for a man to orbit around Earth. I had no idea that Katherine Johnson, Dorthy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson even existed.

As I watched this movie, I saw how these women had to navigate the racism and misogamy of their time. And even though I’m a teenager in 2017, I also saw myself. The scene that stood out to me most was when the fierce Mary Jackson pleaded her case to a judge, asking to take engineering classes at an all white school. To see Jackson completely poised and restraining herself from saying what she really wanted to say was really powerful. She had prepared herself for every question the judge put in front of her.

I can relate as a minority woman. I have had to restrain my extremely feisty side when a white man is looking down at me because of my skin color and because of where I come from. I saw myself in her because I too, have to always think ahead because maybe the man I have to deal with¬†might think, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

As a minority myself, I spent a lot of my childhood watching movies of amazing people accomplishing unbelievable things. There was always one huge problem; I never saw myself in them. All I ever saw was a white man doing the impossible in a science lab, or a white man being recognized for something. Never a woman, and especially not of color. After watching these three women hold the space program together, it really showed me – a Latina who has thought of going into the field of astrology- that a women can do this. I can do this.

This film goes beyond telling the untold story of the hidden figures behind the space program. It shows future generations of minority children that anything is possible.¬†Little girls need to know that they can be scientists, and that they’re more than capable to do a man’s job. This movie proves that to them.

After I finished watching the film, the little girl inside of me was reminded that being a minority means being able to do everything. It reminded me of how important and powerful women are to society.

To see stereotypes be crushed, especially in a time when segregation and gender roles were at their peak, just illustrated how anything is possible.

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