The year was 1996 and the women were Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton. The song was Lesley Goreâ€™s â€œYou Donâ€™t Own Me.â€ The movie was an epic ode to female empowerment, and it was called The First Wives Club. Today marks 20 years since its release, and the filmâ€™s sarcastic, brilliantly colorful feminist undertones couldnâ€™t be more on point. After being jolted and cheated on, Brenda (Midler), Annie (Keaton), and Elise (Hawn) band together to form a coalition in order to seek justice from their egotistical, manipulative dogs of ex-husbands. Itâ€™s irreverent and oh so true, and even if you arenâ€™t a die-hard Gloria Steinem devoteeâ€”she even has a cameo in the filmâ€”any woman can appreciate the First Wives Club â€œhear me roarâ€ campaign. Really, youâ€™re not alone if youâ€™ve secretly danced and sung along with the ladies at the end: â€œAnd donâ€™t tell me what to do! / And donâ€™t tell me what to say!â€ Take them or leave them, lean in or lean out, these women are ones we all wanted to emulate after the movieâ€™s releaseâ€”and today we still totally do. So drop your wedding band in a class of champagne, toast to chick flicks and independence, and heed these seven shreds of real-life wisdom from The First Wives Club.
1. Success is the best revenge. â€œLadies, you have to be strong and independent, and remember, donâ€™t get mad, get everything.â€ â€”Ivana Trump
2. Always tell it like it is. â€œIâ€™m saying this to you with love, compassion, and the spirit of true sisterhood: You are full of shit!â€ â€”Brenda
3. Donâ€™t make excuses for your vices. Â â€œI drink because I am a sensitive and highly strung person!â€ â€”Elise
4. During a breakup, indulge to your heartâ€™s content. â€œBye-bye, love; hello, Pop-Tarts.â€ â€”Brenda
5. Making false justifications to yourself will lead you astray (and maybe toward overinjecting). â€œPlastic surgery is like good grooming; itâ€™s like brushing your teeth.â€ â€”Elise
6. Face the facts. â€œAaron is so terrific, weâ€™ve been married for 25 years, and Chris is just perfect, lesbians are great nowadays and, well, the marriage is going to be really fine, Aaron and I, you know weâ€™re temporarily, sort of, just a little bit . . . weâ€™re separated.â€ â€”Annie [Boisterous laughter from Brenda and Elise ensue.]
7. Sometimes mother isnâ€™t always right. â€œWell, what if I found someone else, mother? I mean, itâ€™s possible . . . maybe?â€ â€”Annie â€œOh, honey, youâ€™re 46; a woman your age has a better chance of being slaughtered by a psychopath.â€ â€”Annieâ€™s mom