The story surrounds a sixteen-year-old girl, Vivian, who goes to a public high school called Rockport. The only notable fact about Vivian is that she doesn’t have an interesting personality in any way, she is a typical shy teenager who likes to stay at the back of the class to avoid talking to people.
She’s neither involved in any extracurricular activities nor does she have remarkably good grades. In short, Vivian is used to being invisible and would prefer to be like that until she graduates.
On her first day of the senior year, Vivian and her best friend Claudia walk into the school, ready to face the trenches, one last time before they finally graduate. But before they even get to the class the recent news about a superlative list, makes their ears.
As it turns out, the jocks of Rockport make a list of girls in their class who they think are best at something. Having been made by hormonal teenage boys, the list consists of titles like the best buttocks, best racks, and many other categories.
In fact, the popularity of the list has grown so much that students make bets and predictions about who will be on the list.
This year, Vivian has been put in Mr. Davis’s English class alongside the school douchebag and the captain of the male football team, Mitchell. He is the mastermind behind the superlative list, and is the one who picks out what girl gets what title.
Being the star player of the biggest team in the county, Mitchell has grown to be a proper bully. He isn’t scared of causing trouble as the school principal worships the ground he walks on and considers him the best student Rockport has ever had.
The class starts and we are introduced to a new girl named Lucy. Unlike Vivian, she is bold, and is not afraid to speak her mind. When Mr. Davis asks Lucy about a summer reading he assigned, she in turn, questions him why they are learning about an insignificant part of literature to define American history. Instead, in her opinion, the students should be learning about books written by slaves, immigrants, and people who actually have struggled the most for America.
By her speech is interrupted by none other than Mitchell, who argues that she cannot redefine the greatest piece of American literature as something insignificant. He goes as far as to call her claim barbaric and makes fun of her opinion. Before the argument proceeds any further, Mr. Davis interrupts them and diverts the conversation.
In the back, Vivian is fascinated by the way Lucy speaks her mind, but her thoughts are interrupted by a classmate named Seth. He used to be one of the dorky kids in middle school but has grown taller and attractive over the last summer. Vivian tries to hide it, but she cannot help but fawn over him.
After school, Vivian and her mother Lisa go to the grocery store, conversing about how her first day was. The former doesn’t forget to mention the commotion that happened between Lucy and Mitchell. As they chat, they bump into Lisa’s friend from work named John, who Lisa seems to like.
Later at home, Vivian works on her college survey where she has to write about a cause she cares for. As someone with not many opinions about things, she struggles to find a topic she cares about.
At one point, she remembers Lucy’s words and tries writing about what she said earlier in school, but her thoughts are limited to just one sentence. In the end, she gives up and texts Claudia. In no time, Vivian forgets all about the survey, deciding to restart it when she actually has a topic she wants to write about.
The following day at school, Lucy is getting a soda from a vending machine when Mitchell approaches her out of nowhere. He stands too close to her liking, offering to buy her a drink to make up for being rude yesterday. In turn, Lucy says that she is good, but Mitchell does not take rejection well. He snatches the soda out of her hand and spits into the drink before handing it back to her.
Intimidated by his tall stance and confidence, Lucy cannot do anything but watch him walk away. Vivian witnesses all of this happening from nearby and Mitchell notices as well. However, he doesn’t care, confident that no matter who sees his wrongdoings, he is not going to get in trouble.
After a while, Lucy sits in front of the principal in her office, reporting what Mitchell did to her. She revisits the events and claims that she is being harassed but in turn, she is asked to not use that word too loosely. Mrs. Shelly marks this as a minor argument between two students and asks Lucy to solve her differences with Mitchell.
It is clear to her that no matter how awful Mitchell is as a person, he is an asset to the school and thus has an unfair privilege. As a disheartened Lucy makes her way to her next class, she bumps into Vivian, who also asks her to forget everything. In a fit of anger, Lucy asks her why she should forget things and not Mitchell when he is clearly at fault.
After school, Vivian is with Lisa talking about women and feminism in general. This is when she finds out that her mother and her friends were rebels in college. They never tolerated any kind of sexism and always fought back with protests. Vivian discovers some of the flyers from that time and is amazed by how progressive, cool, and rebellious her mother was.
Then comes the following day when the entire high school is attending an event at the gym. Suddenly, everyone’s phones chime as their screens flash with this year’s superlative list. Most girls are unhappy that the list highlights parts of their bodies for everyone to see.
Lucy scrolls down the list and finds her name, and it is obvious that Mitchell made this to humiliate her, but when the matter is taken to Shelly, she yet again, dismisses it.
Vivian, amongst the crowd is the most infuriated. It suddenly hits her that the list is a disgusting attack towards all women in the school and has to be stopped. She rushes back home in a fit of rage and starts creating a flier in protest of casual sexism.
In the flier, she categorizes Mitchell as the biggest loser and asks everyone who hates the superlative list to draw stars and hearts on their wrists. The flier is named Moxie, as a shade to what the principal calls the highschoolers.
The next morning, Vivian keeps the pile of copies in the women’s bathroom, waiting for people to see them.
As the word starts going around, Mitchell also gets his hand on the flier and berates Lucy, assuming she is the one who made them. Slowly, Lucy and Vivian start talking about the movement which initiates the start of their friendship.
The next day, Vivian draws stars and hearts on her wrist but feels disheartened when she sees no one else is doing it. Just as she is about to wash it off, a girl named Kiera and her friend join her with all kinds of stars and hearts drawn on their wrists as well. Soon, she starts noticing other people, like Lucy and even Seth, taking part in the protest. Lucy creates a hashtag on social media which is soon flooded with girls supporting their movement.
The same day, Mr. Davis’s class is interrupted by Shelly’s arrival, because a girl named Kaitlynn is wearing a tank top which violates the school’s dress code, hence, she is asked to cover up.
Kaitlynn protests that one of the jocks and a girl with a smaller build are wearing similar clothing but they do not get in trouble. Feeling humiliated, the poor girl simply walks to the principal’s office. It is clear that none of the girls in the class are happy about what transpired but they ignore it.
Later that day, Vivian and Claudia go to their first ever high school party and as expected, they feel completely out of place. After walking around the house for a while, they discover a quiet room with several girls from their class.
They are there to discuss who Moxie is and how they support what she is doing. Most girls think it is Lucy while Vivian quietly watches them make their assumptions.
After spending time with the girls, Vivian feels motivated to start another Moxie project, this time to protest the dress code which only girls seem to be a victim of. In her next flier, she asks everyone to wear tank tops on Tuesday and show support for the movement.
The girls rile up and start preparing for Tuesday, except Claudia, who comes from a conservative family and won’t be allowed to wear something revealing to school. She feels especially lonely since the Moxie protests started because Vivian has been spending most of her time with Lucy and the other girls.
The day of the protest comes and everyone in the school has their shoulders revealed. It is impossible to send every girl home like Shelly did with Kaitlynn which makes the protest a complete success. In class, Mr. Davis tries to comment on the matter but is intimidated by a student filming him.
Now that their protests are starting to actually be fruitful, the Moxie girls gain confidence to do more. Hence, in a sporting event the next day, when Mitchell is announced the year’s athlete, Lucy takes a stand for the female athlete of the school. Kiera has been working the hardest and has earned several awards for their school but just because men’s football is more popular, Mitchell should not get the best athlete title.
According to Lucy, Kiera should be nominated alongside Mitchell and the two should get a fair chance at winning. Her demands are fulfilled which initiates a Moxie campaign to get Kiera the title she deserves.
After the event, Vivian notices Claudia ignoring her which eventually causes a massive argument between them. Claudia feels like Vivian hardly talks to her anymore while the latter is upset Claudia doesn’t care about Moxie and its cause.
Just as Claudia storms off in anger, Vivian is approached by Seth who invites her on a date. The two go to an unconventional dating spot, a funeral home. Although skeptical at first, Vivian is pleasantly surprised that she is enjoying herself. At the end of the date, Seth drops her off at home.
Inside Vivian’s house, her mother Lisa is waiting for her with a smirk on her face which clearly tells her that she saw what happened outside. Vivian admits that she likes Seth and promises to bring him over sometime.
The following day during recess, the Moxie girls gather in the girl’s locker room to discuss Kiera’s campaign. As they chat, Mitchell’s girlfriend and one of the popular girls, Emma, also walks into the room. The girls happily invite her in, but she hesitantly declines.
For the rest of the day, the Moxie girls put up posters, spread fliers and give several speeches around the school to vouch for Kiera to get the best athlete award. But during recess, Claudia notices the janitor taking off the posters because Moxie is not enrolled as a school club yet. She takes care of the technicality and enrolls Moxie officially before all posters are taken down.
When Vivian finds out about this, she says sorry to Kiera for assuming she doesn’t care about Moxie’s motive. Then comes the next day when the students are supposed to finally cast their votes. Vivian and the girls are so confident about their win until Mitchell appears in the morning announcement out of the blue.
As it turns out he has been given a chance to speak to the students and endorse himself before the voting starts. The girls think it is entirely unfair because they were not given any such chance.
In the evening, everyone gathers at the football field for the announcement. Everyone holds their breath, anxiously waiting to hear Kiera’s name, but Mitchell wins the title instead.
Disappointment is clear in the girls’ faces when they see poor Kiera tear up in front of everyone. To add fuel to Moxie’s anger, Shelly praises Mitchell for being a fair competitor when he clearly had the upper hand because of his speech.
In the following scene, Vivian arrives home drunk and angry, and finds her mother with John. She instantly recognizes him as the guy from the grocery store and isn’t happy about him being at their house. However, before she can protest, she throws up and has to be taken to her room.
When she comes back to her senses, Vivian creates yet another flier design calling out principal Shelly for unfair treatment of students. She even buys hundreds of stickers that humiliate Shelly and pastes them on school lockers and cars.
Once the fliers and stickers are posted all around the school, Vivian is called to Shelly’s office and held accountable for her actions. Enraged, she asks Shelly if she likes being a woman, but the principal has no answer to that. In turn, she inquires who the creator of Moxie is. Now that the movement is affecting the principal’s name, serious investigations are being made into the matter.
After Vivian’s chat with Shelly, she takes a chance to steal the best principal award on Shelly’s table. Word about the stolen trophy spreads quickly and if found, the person who did it is said to be expelled.
At night, Lisa talks to Vivian about her being drunk the other day. As punishment, she must have dinner with John and invite Seth as well. The next morning at school, Vivian finds the other Moxie girls laughing and talking about how proud they are of Claudia.
As it turns out, she was suspected of being the initiator of Moxie and was thus suspended. While the girls think that she made a bold move, Vivian is furious. She knows that Claudia has strict parents and her getting suspended means a lot to her family.
She immediately rushes to her best friend’s house where Claudia says that she knew Vivian was the first Moxie this entire time. The principal was about to find out about it before Claudia put her foot down and lied to save her best friend. A bitter feeling of guilt washes over Vivian but before she says sorry, Claudia asks her to go away.
Suffice to say that when Vivian returns home, she is not in the mood for a dinner date. She makes verbal attacks at John all night and even goes as far as to call Seth misogynistic. Lisa follows Vivian to her room, inquiring what is wrong, which is when she finds out that her daughter has started a feminist club and might get kicked out of school because of it.
The following morning in school, Vivian finds a note in the bathroom addressed to Moxie. In the letter, a girl claims to have been assaulted by someone in the school. She keeps her name anonymous but wants Moxie to spread her story as she has been terrified to speak up until now.
The letter gives Vivian a motive to revive Moxie, without fear of being found or suspended. At night, she packs the principal’s award and makes her way to the school. She then paints the word Rapeport on the ground and throws the award to the wall, shattering it in pieces. Then, she takes the protest a step further by posting about the letter she found, and asking everyone who supports the assault victim to walk out of class tomorrow.
Word goes around fast, and the school authorities take full precaution to stop the protest. Anyone who tries to walk out of the classroom in support of Moxie is supposed to be suspended without consideration.
When the time comes, the students are nervous, knowing that one wrong move can ruin their chances of getting into a good college. Right then, Mr. Davis shows his support through the star and heart drawn on his palms.
This acts as a positive push and soon, everyone except the jocks starts walking out of the class. In the next five minutes, almost all of the school is outside supporting Moxie and its cause.
Adrenaline takes over Vivian as she stands up on a platform and announces that she started Moxie and is not afraid of admitting it. In turn, Lucy claims that she started the hashtag on social media and is a part of Moxie as well. This is followed by the girls admitting their role in growing Moxie over the past month.
Suddenly, Emma speaks up and claims that she wants to add something to the conversation. Everyone is shocked because she is the one girl who the jocks liked and gave attention to.
They are even more surprised when she says that she wrote the letter to Moxie about being assaulted. According to Emma, last prom, she went out with Mitchell, who forced himself on her. She couldn’t do anything at that moment and was too scared to tell anyone. all this time she has lived in fear, but the Moxie movement has given her courage to speak up because her voice matters.
Somewhere else, the principal finally calls Mitchell to her office, indicating that he is now going to face consequences for what he has done.
After a while, the girls of Rockport celebrate Moxie’s success, by organizing a giant blowout party.