Weekend Thoughts: Hidden Figures

photo: Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox

Over the weekend, John and I went to the movies. You’ve read here before that our movie time is my most favorite date. Our movie dates go in spurts, depending on what’s playing at the theater. Even though we have some of the same tastes in movies, there have been plenty of times when I’ve gone to a movie against my will (hi Star Wars). Despite our movie differences, we both knew we really wanted to see Hidden Figures and I’m so glad we did.

I want to preface this by saying, this post isn’t a movie review. I’m not a movie critic but there was something about this movie that encouraged me to want to share with my readers. I won’t give any spoilers – though if you simply google Katherine Johnson or Mary Jackson, you can pretty much figure out what happens. This post is more about the underlying message I gained while watching it. The message was so clear to me, it almost brought me to tears it brought me to tears.

Let’s get the superficial stuff out-of-the-way first. I LOVED the wardrobe. From the hair to the makeup,  I just loved it. I’d love to figure out the lipstick Taraji was wearing in most of her scenes. Also, Kevin Costner. Is it me or does he look the same as he did in The Bodyguard?

OK. Enough about that stuff. Let’s talk foreal.

I grew up in Virginia and I went to college in Virginia. I cannot tell you how embarrassed I am that I didn’t know this story. Most of the movie took place at Langley Research Center, which is located in Hampton, Virginia. Hampton, is not far from where I grew up. In fact, Hampton is where I went to my first concert. The reality is that for most of my life, I was educated in the state of Virginia and there wasn’t one mention of this story. I never heard of this story until 2015 when Katherine Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

As we were watching this movie, I couldn’t help but notice a theme. The theme is something I picked up on almost immediately and was most prevalent for me.

A quote by Alice Walker.
The inspirational message behind Hidden Figures

That message for me was: demand to be in the room.

During the time period that Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Vaughan and Mrs. Jackson worked for NASA, it was a much different time than we exist in now (sort of). I say sort of because, sure we’ve had improvements and progress since the 1960’s but it’s quite evident that we’re repeating the mistakes of the folks who came before us; it’s like we’ve learned nothing. But today’s post isn’t about how far we’ve come or not come; I could go on all day about that.

photo: NASA

Today’s post serves as encouragement for everyone to demand to be in the room and ask for what you need. The truth is, no one is going to root for you better than you. We all know what we’re capable of achieving and there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t have the life we want to live. The women in this movie were confident, smart and demanded nothing less. They were faced with adversities that we couldn’t dream of today and yet, they kept going.

So here’s to being in the room and demanding nothing less.

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5 thoughts on “Weekend Thoughts: Hidden Figures

  1. Jensen

    Such a great movie, other than this film I can’t ever recall going to a movie and seeing half of the audience applaud at the end. That being said it hurts my heart to know end to know that the atrocities that film brings attention to went on just over sixty years ago.

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  2. Marla

    I’m reading the book right now (I’m a book before the movie kind of person). Margot Lee Shetterly is an excellent writer. She makes no apologies, goes after the truth, and writes a compelling story that needs to be told again and again and again and then again. This is my third book on the similar intersection of women, science, and society–Rise of the Rocket Girls and Girls of Atomic City being previous reads. I’m overwhelmed by the fortitude of the women in Hidden Figures. I’m inspired by the grace under pressure and the steadfast determination to be in the room in every way inspite of race, gender, marital status, and motherhood. I truly hope that these revelations make their way into the Smithsonian and Cape Canaveral and Space Centers around the country. We wouldn’t even have these programs without the women of science who have gone before. These women are an integral part of our history. I can’t wait for the movie!

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