Netflix’s the Dumplin movie is pure female empowerment and self-love. Of course, it is a coming-of-age story in the world of beauty pageants in deep Texas, so expect a lot of sequins and hair spray. ( We are here for it.) The movie is based on the New York Times best selling YA novel Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. The author’s Puddin‘ is the companion novel.
Meet Dumplin’, a self-professed plus sized teen girl named Willowdean Dixon (Danielle Macdonald). Dumplin is her given nickname by her beauty queen and pageant judge mother played by Jennifer Aniston. Willowdean suffers from what all of us women suffer from: low self-esteem. As women from a young age, we are constantly being bombarded with inauthentic and unrealistic expectations of beauty. For us women, our entire self-worth can be unraveled by how we look in a swimsuit.
Willowdean finds herself with the “bikini bug,” which is to say she wants to fit into the All-American-standard of beauty. Surprisingly, when Willowdean finds love and acceptance from her boyfriend, she self sabotages and is in disbelief that anyone could see her worth. Her new man is “Bo,” a private school hottie and jock who she meets while working at a fast food joint. Bo like the viewer can see Dumplin’s radiance and beauty regardless of her size. However, Dumplin’ has her own journey to take, so she enters her mother’s beauty pageant. Dumplin’ the movie a kind of “protest in heels.”
Below are 9 things we can all learn from the Dumplin’ movie.
9. “Every Body is a Swimsuit Body!”
It is 2020. By now, we should all be promoting positive vibes to all kinds of women’s bodies. In any pageant, there is always the swimsuit portion. Willowdean enlists her friend to use the act as a teachable moment: every body is beautiful. It’s a powerful point in the movie in showing sisterhood and solidarity for one another. As Willowdean expresses if it’s not your body, it is not yours to comment on.
8. Dolly Parton Cures All Wounds
“Figure out who you are and do it on purpose,” are the wise lyrics of Dolly Parton who plays an integral role in Dumplin’s world. Her aunt Lucy lives by Dolly and there are many delightful Dolly-isms sprinkled through out the film. Dolly is strong feminine role model to Willowdean. She instructs her in how to be bold and unique. It is the country music superstar that inspires Willowdean’s talent portion of the pageant. Willowdean with the help of her friend ventures to a drag bar and builds the courage to hone her singing voice and stage persona. Not to mention, Dumplin is a great sunny soundtrack. And don’t forget with a little sequins, we can overcome our greatest fears and insecurities.
7. Listen to Your Auntie
Willowdean finds a kindred spirit in her aunt Lucy. Lucy shows Willowdean that confidence and Dolly is key. We all need these sorts of positive relationships in our lives. Find the people who have your best interests at heart and who believe the sun sets out of your ass. No matter what.
6. True Friendship is What Matters Most
Sometimes it is quality and not quantity. Will as her friends call her, has done well in surrounding herself with friends that get her and bring out the best in her.
Speaking of friendships, don’t take them for granted. Be sure to read 9 Things to Do if You Want Your Friendship to Get Deeper.
5. Figure Out Who You Are and Screw What Anyone Else Thinks
Part of being a teenager, is discovering who you are. Dumplin shows us that it is okay to make mistakes. So be flashy and bold. Dress how you want, date who you want, and be whoever you want. And if anyone has a problem, you can always retort “Bless your heart.” As anyone who lives in Texas or the south knows, that is one way to tell someone what you really think of them.
4. Even If You Don’t Think So, You’re a Beauty Queen Too!
You’re worthy and deserving. Willowdean couldn’t believe someone as attractive as Bo could love her. As women, we are our worst critiques. The most valuable lesson you can learn in life is to love yourself. And why not? You’re a rock-star!
3. Y’all Don’t Judge Now
Everyone is going through something. Everyone is battling their own demons. Willowdean demonstrates empathy for the characters that give her a hard time, like her mother. When we learn more about people, we can better understand where they are coming from. It’s all about growth.
2. “If You Want the Rainbow, You Have to Put Up With Rain.”
No one said high school was easy because neither is life. Not to mention, if you were like Dumplin and your teen years were hard, you can expect big rainbow in adulthood. Hang in there.
1. Do You Girl
“Sometimes half of doing something is pretending that you can.”Willowdean in Dumlpin’ by Julie Murphy
Everything you do, do it for yourself. As women, we need to explore our autonomy. Whether it is engineering a beauty pageant or pursing a degree, make sure that your ambitions are your own. Now go get it girl! Fake it until you make it. Go binge Dumplin’ now.