No matter how loudly we speak about women’s issues and try to bring in a situation in this world where people across the gender or sexual spectrum are treated equally, we have to admit that patriarchy is still the order of the day. Throughout history, women have been subjugated to pre-defined gender norms set by society, and as men have been running things all this time, the role of women has always been reduced to something less important.
It is essential in today’s world to make the discourses of feminism available to women who might not otherwise have access to academic or statistical studies. Thus, to drive home the message and to be sure that it reaches all across the world, feminism must find its way into entertainment. Films and TV shows have the deepest impact on the masses. Thus, when feminism percolates into such media, there is a higher chance that society will be more aware of the numerous aspects of the idea. With all that said, here’s the list of really good feminist movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
12. Moxie (2021)
Directed by Amy Poehler, ‘Moxie’ follows 16-year-old Vivian (Hadley Robinson), who is fed up with the misogyny that exists in her school, one that has taken the form of bullying. And when she finds her mother’s feminist zines, she decides to make a rebellious zine, titled “Moxie,” of her own where she, and her friends, can expose the sexism and rape culture that persists in their school and is being forcefully buried by the principal who doesn’t want to get involved. While it takes time, the girls soon manage to address the issues, and more students join the movement to make it a huge success. To get a better idea of how things occur, you can watch ‘Moxie’ here.
11. Lady Bird (2017)
Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ is a poignant coming-of-age film that subtly emerges as a powerful feminist narrative. Saoirse Ronan’s titular character, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, navigates the challenges of adolescence, showcasing an authentic and relatable journey of self-discovery. The film disrupts traditional gender norms by portraying Lady Bird’s rebellious spirit, ambition, and quest for independence. It refrains from conforming to stereotypical female tropes, allowing Lady Bird to shape her identity beyond societal expectations. Through its nuanced storytelling and emphasis on female agency, ‘Lady Bird’ emerges as a modern feminist classic, portraying a young woman’s pursuit of autonomy and authenticity in a world that often attempts to confine her. Feel free to watch the movie here.
10. Period. End Of Sentence. (2018)
‘Period. End of Sentence.’ is a compelling short documentary directed by Rayka Zehtabchi that powerfully champions feminist themes. The film explores the stigma surrounding menstruation in rural India and the transformative impact of introducing low-cost sanitary pads. Through the lens of women taking charge of their own reproductive health, the documentary not only addresses a critical social issue but also celebrates female empowerment and solidarity. By shedding light on a taboo topic and showcasing women breaking barriers, ‘Period. End of Sentence.’ stands out as a potent feminist work, fostering awareness and encouraging dialogue on women’s rights and health. Feel free to stream it here.
9. Persuasion (2022)
Adapted from Jane Austen’s 1817 novel, ‘Persuasion’ is a captivating period romance directed by Carrie Cracknell with a screenplay by Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow. The film features a stellar cast, including Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Mia McKenna-Bruce, Richard E. Grant, and Henry Golding. The plot revolves around Anne Elliot, who, eight years after being persuaded against marrying a charismatic man of modest means, unexpectedly crosses paths with him again. As the opportunity for a second chance at true love arises, the film delves into whether Anne will embrace this newfound possibility or let it slip away once more. You can watch the movie here.
8. Tallulah (2018)
In this 2018 Sian Heder film, Elliot Page plays the eponymous character, who, upon finding a baby neglected by her mother, takes her away for a better life. The two of them land up at the house of Carolyn, Tallulah’s former boyfriend’s mother. Tallulah tells her that the child belongs to her son. The three of them take on a wonderful journey together, and their lives turn out to be happier than before. The film explores the various facets of these two female characters beautifully. They are eager to claim their place in the world and to live by their own rules. You can watch the film here.
7. Enola Holmes (2020)
From director Harry Bradbeer comes this very interesting and visually appealing mystery drama based on Nancy Springer’s ‘The Enola Holmes Mysteries’ novel series. Enola is the youngest sibling of the Holmes brothers and in the film, we see how she sets off on a quest to find her mother, who goes missing on Enola’s birthday of all days. In the endeavor, she finds herself trying to save the young Viscount Tewkesbury from people who are trying to kill him. While she juggles her two missions, she gives us a clear picture, by breaking the 4th wall and talking to us (the viewers), of how her mother trained her in so many different things and made her realize her true potential as a woman, during the patriarchal Victorian era. If you are looking for a feminist adventure flick, ‘Enola Holmes’ serves as a great option. You can watch it here.
6. Seeing Allred (2018)
The first documentary on this list, ‘Going Allred’ is a detailed account of the very important work done by women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred. Throughout the years, numerous cases of sexual harassment against women have been taken on by Allred, and it is her brilliant efforts in court that have delivered justice for many women and also inspired the #MeToo movement that shocked the entire world. Legendary comedian Bill Cosby’s case was largely swayed in the direction of the victims because of the way Allred rallied the women who have suffered at the hands of the comedian under one wing. Besides such cases of sexual exploitation, the famous lawyer has also been very vocal in supporting LGBTQ rights. Through the documentary, we get the picture of a woman who is fighting against all odds to take down some very important people who’ve caused serious damage to society in more ways than one. You can stream the film here.
5. Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022)
A Hindi-language drama directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is loosely adapted from a chapter in Indian journalist/author Hussain Zaidi’s book ‘Mafia Queens Of Mumbai’ titled ‘The Matriarch of Kamathipura.’ The film is set in the second half of the 20th century in Mumbai (then known as Bombay). It centers on Ganga Harjivandas, aka Gangubai Kathiawadi, a simple girl who was forced into sex work but turned the tables in her favor and becomes the “madame” of the brothel where she once worked and a powerful figure (a mafia don) in Kamathipura which is Mumbai’s red-light district. She became a voice for the women of the place and looked into their issues, becoming almost guardian-like. A brilliantly portrayed visual spectacle, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ stars Alia Bhatt as the titular personality, along with Vijay Raaz, Ajay Devgn, Shantanu Maheshwari, and Seema Pahwa. You can stream the film here.
4. Knock Down The House (2019)
‘Knock Down The House‘ is a very important documentary of our times. This Rachel Lears-directed project focuses on four strong women who decided to fight in the 2018 United States elections. The women in question are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia. Despite Ocasio-Cortez being the only winner, the fact that these four women decided to go ahead and challenge the status quo is something to be very proud of. They have created an atmosphere where women are not afraid to challenge the people in power and enter offices from where they can make some serious changes in society. You can check out the film here.
3. Becoming (2020)
Directed by Omar Naim, this documentary film is partially inspired by the book of the same name by former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama. In it, we get to hear from her unplugged for the first time as she takes us on the journey of her life, right from where she grew up to where she ended up and the situations and the conditions that molded her into what she has become. A true-to-form feminist film that addresses one of the most powerful women the world has ever seen in more ways than one, ‘Becoming’ is a must-watch, and you can stream it right here.
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2. Feminists: What Were They Thinking (2018)
‘Feminists: What Were They Thinking‘ draws references from a book called ‘Emergence,’ which was published in 1977, and interviews certain women who were mentioned in that book in the first place. ‘Emergence’ has a series of photographs of regular American women who are seen to be embracing the concept of feminism. The documentary revisits these women to understand their view of the world at this point in time. Further, the documentary uses interviews to discuss how artworks from films have gone on to strengthen the feminist movement in America. With socially vital documentaries such as this one, Netflix is doing a very important job of spreading the message of feminism throughout the world. Women in less-developed countries, who as of now are still being grounded under the machinations of a patriarchal social structure, can benefit a lot from such documentaries being readily available online. You may stream the film here.
1. War Against Women (2013)
Whenever there is a war, the weakest members of society tend to suffer the most. The poor don’t get enough to eat as food resources become scarce and costly; women are often raped during conflicts. This powerful 2013 documentary focuses on how rape is used as a weapon during armed conflicts in war zones all around the world. By raping the women of the place they are invading, the armies instill fear deep into the hearts of people who have now come under their control. Thus rape becomes a symbol of conquest, and it has to be treated not only as a sexual crime but a crime against the very essence of civilized humanity. The documentary covers places like Bosnia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and also documents how these crimes normally go unpunished. You may stream it here.
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