10 Incredible Feminist Shows to Watch on Netflix 

Nujhat Jahan:

Netflix and binge-watching can be educative and a source of endorsing feminist awareness as well. There are shows on Netflix Netflix and binge-watching can be educative and a source of endorsing feminist awareness as well. There are shows on Netflix which depict the everyday struggle of women, their glorious history and tries to convey a bold message about feminism for its millions of subscribers. Let’s take a look at some of the finest feminist Netflix shows available for us:

  • Queen’s Gambit

Queen’s Gambit is a Netflix mini-series centering on the incredible game of chess. It portrays the journey of Beth Harmon, an orphan who becomes the leading Chess player in a male-dominated sport. This series blends the beauty of learning chess and the rise of a female grandmaster. This show does not force feminist plots unnecessarily, rather it shows how the protagonist grows as an excellent chess player to take a strong place in the chess world. Beth never wanted to get recognition for her gender, but she wants people to appreciate her for her talent in chess. It also shows us the journey of Beth as a human- her struggles as an orphan, dealing with drug addiction and how she enjoys chess as a form of art. A teenage girl who was initially taken lightly by male chess players ends up becoming a master of the game whom everyone respects and appreciates.

 

  • Orange is the new black

The first season of Orange Is the New Black was premiered on Netflix in July 2013, at a time when the binge-watching culture was not so popular. Still, it managed to attract a wider audience for its unique way of portraying the life of marginalized female inmates, especially black women, Latinas, lesbian and bisexual women. This show is based on the real-life story of Piper Kerman who served 15 months in prison for drug-dealing and money-laundering offenses. The show perfectly builds up characters through flashbacks. The last few seasons show prison riots and peaceful protests by the inmates. It also shows how female inmates are sexually harassed by prison guards and how difficult it is for women to live an incarcerated life without proper prison facilities. Moreover, the privatization of prisons and corporation’s involvement are also depicted throughout the series in a women-centric way.

  • Feminists: what were they thinking?

This is a Netflix documentary by Johanna Demetrakas based on the famous book Emergence by Cynthia MacAdams who took inspiring photos of bold and independent women during the second wave of feminism. Cynthia tried to establish a connection between those photographs and the power of feminism and gave this approach a new view through interviewing those women in the photographs. This show links the past struggles of feminists with their current situation. It tells us that although women have done tremendously well in breaking the traditional gender norms and roles, they still have a long way to go for achieving complete emancipation. 

  • Dumplin’

Dumplin’ is a refreshing movie on Netflix that emphasizes the importance of body positivity. the story revolves around Will, the overweight daughter of a former beauty pageant, Rosie and their love-hate relationship. Rosie calls Will Dumplin’ and she doesn’t like it. This movie is different in the sense that it doesn’t use silly body-shaming jokes or dialogues. It rather focuses more on the importance of body positivity and the flaws we have in our conventional beauty contests. It surely creates awareness for the audience who knowingly or unknowingly is responsible for body-shaming comments on others.

  • I am Not an Easy Man

I am Not an Easy Man is a 2018 comedy-based French movie. Although humorous, this movie presents the consequences of traditional gender roles in a straightforward way. Damien, a chauvinist enters an alternate universe after getting hit on his head. This universe is different and female-dominated. Men are the subordinates here. High-paying jobs are occupied by women and Damien has to work very hard to prove his potential. This movie also points out the technique of the male gaze used by movie directors to draw public attention that very often demeans the female body and character. The application of the male gaze is reversed in this movie. All the sensual scenes in the movie are shot with a male actor in the focus. I am Not an Easy Man is undoubtedly one of the finest movies in recent time to mix comedy with a feminist perspective.

  • She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry 

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a 2014 documentary film that is based on the women’s liberation movement in the USA from 1966-1971. It tells the events of second-wave feminism in chronological order. It covers interviews of 30 prominent activists from the liberation movement. How women had to fight for an organization, a better health care system, gender equality in the workplace and birthrights, etc. are shown in the film. It uses some real-life footage of the movement as well to give us an idea of the integrity of participating women.

  • Period: End of Sentence

 

Period: End of Sentence is a short documentary based on a true incident of a small village near Delhi, India. India is a country where even talking about menstruation is still taboo like many other South Asian countries. A girl is forbidden to enter any religious institution during that time of the month. Even while buying sanitary napkins, they have to do it with complete secrecy as if it were a crime to have periods every month. This documentary tells us the story of transforming this public shame into a microeconomic success where women from the small village produce sanitary napkins with their own machine and break the prejudices.

  • Unbelievable 

Unbelievable is a short series based on a true event of a rape victim. It tells the story of a young woman who was raped and later was denied justice in allegations of false accusations. Marie, the main character is a girl who had a traumatic childhood and spent her early life in a foster home. When she approached the police after the rape incident, they interrogate her very harshly as her foster mother and ex-boyfriend suggest that she might be lying about the crime. She was repeatedly asked questions about the rape, how it happened and what she did after it. This clearly shows how a rape victim is again traumatized by the justice system. Later Marie was charged with false accusations despite telling the truth from the very beginning.

  • Cable Girls 

Cable Girls is a Spanish series on Netflix which aired from 2017 to 2020. It depicts the life stories of four women in the 1920s when women were not allowed to work outside or go outside without the permission of men. These women coming from different households started their job at a telecommunication company and changed their life. It shows how difficult it was for women to work in a male-dominated society. It also reflects women-independence through the characters of a brave mother, a daughter of a strict father, a woman who is searching for a new identity, and a young motivated girl. This is a show which surely serves the purpose of entertainment with a strong social message. 

  • Knock Down the House 

Knock Down the House is a documentary based on four inspiring women who started a revolutionary movement in the USA through their unique election campaign. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilele, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin carried out their grassroots campaigns without the influence of any political power or corporations involvement. This documentary portrays how their personal tragedies – family struggles, witnessing the condition of a broken health care system, becoming a victim of environmental disasters, and injustice against the Black people have shaped them into powerful ambassadors of social justice and movements.

About the writer:

Nujhat Jahan likes to write on contemporary criminal and feminist issues with great passion. Her educational background in Criminology has given her a broad base from which to explore and evaluate several issues. She believes in bringing a positive change in the minds of the readers through her writings.

 

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