Steel Magnolias is a 1987 play written by Robert Harling. There was also a 1989 film adaptation of the same name. The play and film are about the bond a group of women share in a small-town southern community, and how they cope with the death of one of their own.
The story is based on Robert Harling’s real life experience of the death of his sister, Susan Harling Robinson, in 1985 due to complications from Type 1 diabetes. He changed his sister’s name in the story from Susan to Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie.
As the title suggests the main female characters can be both as delicate as the magnolia flower, and as tough as steel.