Hidden Figures

Taraji P Henson

There’s recently been a massive push to encourage more women, as well as other underrepresented groups, to get involved with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). And if you still know anyone that’s all “who cares”, cut them out of your life.

But first, make them watch Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures is the fictionalized account of three real-life, badass African-American women, Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe), and their incredible roles at NASA during the space race.

Acting aside (although the three leads are amazing), the story is frustrating, eye-opening and inspiring. It’s a clear example of intersectionality as these women deal with being looked as less than both because of their race and their gender even though THEY’RE SMART AF.

They were literal human “computers.” That’s what they were called: computers. You know how you can just pop calculations into a calculator or into a program or possibly just into Google? They did those by hand. With pencil and paper. And with their BRAIN.

And you know what? All of Langley’s human computers were women.

Hidden Figures

But these three had the added obstacle of being segregated in “West Area Computing” and all the additional modes of segregation that went along with it. You quickly learn though, that not only were these ladies smart AF but they were strong AF. I won’t get into what exactly happens in the film as it’s stronger to see it than for me to describe it. However, Taraji P. Henson’s incredibly moving monologue about what it takes for her to do her job is worth a mention.

Also worth a mention are the examples of supportive men in this movie. Not all of them, and some took a little push, but there are a few men involved who were able to look past themselves and say “I know you are smart AF and strong AF and I’m gonna either help or not stand in your way.” And it was wonderful.

So if you have a young, science minded girl, show her this movie. You have a young boy who wants to know how to give support, show him this movie. You know someone who takes for granted how far we’ve come and how we should continue to do better, show them this movie. You have a free movie ticket, go. see. this. movie.

Steph Garcia