If you have never watched Steel Magnolias, I highly recommend that you do. If you watched it years ago, I highly recommend you watch it again.
I remember watching Steel Magnolias for the first time when I was in highschool. The plot didn’t really resonate with me. Why would it? I was still seeing myself as Andie Walsh and longing to be pretty in pink.
I had recently turned the page on my Samantha Baker, Sixteen Candles chapter of my life but still longed to be part of the Breakfast Club narrative. Yes, John Hughes flicks molded the psyche of young adult Julie.
Little did I know at the time, I’d be watching Steel Magnolias one rainy afternoon twenty-five-ish years later writing a blog post about it.
What is a steel magnolia? Well, that term is definitely southern in nature. There’s no disputing that. I think, however that title can be applied to women of all regions of our country. Women hailing from all nations around the world.
Simply put, a steel magnolia refers to a woman who exhibits femininity but is also a force to be reckoned with. I see myself strong on the steel with a petal or two of magnolia.
As I watched the 80’s moive, I was hit with wave after wave of emotions.
I was saddened when I watched the relationship between Julia Roberts character, Shelby and her momma. At the same time, I saw qualities of the mom I aspire to be in M’Lynn. Then, there’s Truvy, oh how I wish I were as quick witted as Dolly in that role. Her one liners are priceless and delivered as only Dolly could. How did I not appreciate the layers of complexity in these relationships all of those years ago? It’s simple really. I wasn’t a mom yet. I hadn’t yet longed for or mourned the relationship that Shelby and M’Lynn have.
I enjoyed Daryl Hannah’s character but didn’t really identify with her like I did the others.
Clairee Belcher is noteworthy but that Ousier Boudreaux, now that is a woman after my own heart. Well, after the heart of a much older Julie. I loved that character. Rough around the edges, with a heart of gold. A force to be reckoned with, a steel magnolia.
It’s awe inspiring the way characters in a good movie or a well written book can bring you to your knees. The way they can make you ugly cry. The way they have the ability to make you laugh until you cry or even snot slinging mad at times. The ability to invoke that array of emotions whether you are the writer or the actor, that my friends is pure talent.
You know who is more awe inspiring than those kinds of characters? Real life steel magnolias. I know many. The lives of my “steel magnolias” are best sellers and definitely worthy of five stars. Strong women, forces to be reckoned with. They are cancer survivors, young mothers, stay at home moms, young women juggling careers, husbands and passions, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, mothers who adopt, women who care for foster animals and nurses. Women starting over, abuse survivors, women bloggers from other countries, oh my lord, the list could go on and on. I think I’ll stop there because by now you’re thinking of the steel magnolias in your life. My words past this point are mute. WAIT! Before you totally zone out, I challenge you to write a letter to one of your steele magnolias this week. Yes, handwrite a letter! Let her know that you’ve been watching her. That you admire her and tell her why. I’ve already started mailing mine. Join me will ya? Who are your steel magnolias?