8 Insightful Things Men Can Learn From ‘Little Women’

So, your girlfriend has been pestering you to see the latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Little Women. Lucky you, because not only is the star-studded, Greta Gerwig-directed film an instant critical darling (though we personally prefer the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder), but it’s also an ahead-of-its-time primer on loving and living with headstrong, independent women.

For the uninitiated, the story follows the March family in and around Civil War-era Concord, Massachusetts. Marmee is the matriarch, the father of the family is at war, and the couple’s four daughters are feisty females coming of age at a time when feminism wasn’t even a thing. Tomboy Jo wants to be a writer, matronly Meg is jonesing to get married, Beth is shy and sweet yet sickly, and precocious Amy is a budding artist. As these four young women find their way in the world, they forge relationships with men who are far more sensitive, supportive, and encouraging than you’d think they’d be given the time and place (and the patriarchy).

While Little Women in both literary and cinematic forms has been plagued by labels of “chick lit” or “chick flicks,” it is, in fact, a revolutionary look at gender norms, the fight for women’s equality, and the ways men can either help or hinder that cause. Rather than preachy, its message is nuanced, heartfelt, and relatable to any human, regardless of gender. In honor of the conversation-starting new film, we’ve unpacked 8 things men can learn about the “fairer sex” from Little Women.

Cover Photo: Columbia Pictures

Making a real man: 17 Chivalrous Acts We Want to Bring Back

Mandatory Movies: What To Watch When You Need To Man Up

Follow Mandatory on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.