Happy International Women’s Day, betches! On this, most badass of holidays, it’s important to take time to recognize the strong, empowering women who paved the way for a new generation of women to keep fighting for change and equality (so, like, call your mom and tell her you love her). To help get you started, here’s a list of 10 of the best feminist Netflix documentaries you can stream right now if you too want to feel the passion of rallying at the Women’s March without leaving the comfort of your bed.
1. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
When discussing the women’s movement, it’s v important to start at the inception of what we know as popular feminism today. This documentary focuses on the leaders and history of the feminist movements of the 1960s-70s. Just because they hadn’t come up with the Pussy Hat yet, doesn’t mean these women didn’t know how to host a solid protest.
2. The Hunting Ground
The Hunting Ground delves deep into the all too disturbing reality of campus sexual assault. This documentary sheds a light on the corruption of many universities trying to protect their image and favoring money over justice for their students, while also highlighting the brave students who spoke up, took a stand, and fought for their stories to be heard. Also, this is the documentary that brought us that STUNNING Lady Gaga song, “Til’ It Happens To You,” so like, get ready to shed a tear or two.
3. Gaga: Five Foot Two
Speaking of the Queen, Lady Gaga’s documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, is a super intimate and vulnerable look into Gaga’s life. It follows her through the heartbreak of breaking up with her fiancé, writing her Joanne album, dealing with chronic pain, and eventually slaying the fucking Super Bowl. If you’re looking for a fierce and resilient role model, look no further than Stefani Germanotta. YAAAAS GAGA!
4. Paris Is Burning
Ahem…*picks up megaphone*…Feminism isn’t feminism unless it’s intersectional, y’all! If Ru Paul’s Drag Race is your favorite reality competition (if it’s not, it should be), then Paris Is Burning is a must-watch. This 1990 documentary explores the elaborate and extravagant “drag ball” competitions, focusing on the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender performers who used drag as an expression of personality and gender identity in a celebratory and inclusive space. Brush up on the origins of vital drag vocabulary, such as “mother,” “realness,” reading,” and “voguing” before your next 2am romp through the Hell’s Kitchen bar scene.
5. Seeing Allred
Gloria Allred is one of the most famous attorneys in America, and a certified HBIC of leading the crusade against the war on women. This documentary features interviews with Allred, as well as many of her loyal supporters and harshest critics, and focuses on how her own personal trauma led her to turn her survivor status into a beacon of hope and action for other women in sexual violence cases. Come for the icon, stay for the conversations about Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. Let’s just say ya girl doesn’t hold back.
6. Hot Girls Wanted
Hot Girls Wanted takes a look inside the exploitation of young women in the world of amateur internet porn. It’s a startling look into how easy it is for teens and young women who are already so plugged into social media and technology to get lured in by the appeal of using their bodies to make a little extra cash. Also, this documentary was produced by Rashida Jones – aka poetic and noble land-mermaid Ann Perkins – so you already know it’s going to be good.
7. A Ballerina’s Tale
If you don’t already know who Misty Copeland is, your homework is to watch this doc ASAP. As the first black principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater, Copeland is a serious inspiration to girls everywhere. She’s proof that you can follow your dreams, regardless of race, and has come to represent a new, elegant, gorgeous addition to the world of professional dance. I do have to subtract some points, though, because not once did this movie feature a psychotic Natalie Portman Black Swan ballerina breakdown. Lame. (Just kidding).
8. Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric
One of the most respected and noteworthy anchorwomen of all time, Katie Couric, takes a fascinating in-depth look at the way gender expression has changed overtime and the ways society is learning to adjust to a broader perspective. Gender Revolution touches upon transgenderism, pronouns, gender performance, and the ongoing civil rights debates surrounding equality and equal representation. Katie’s soothing, extremely likable tone is the perfect vehicle to bring emotional and inspiring interviews together and teach us all a little more about the impact of gender in our world.
9. Queen Mimi
OMG is this woman a fucking trip. Mimi Haist is a homeless woman living in a laundromat in Santa Monica, who garnered a sort of local celebrity status thanks to her firecracker personality, positive attitude, and passion for living an independent life with no regrets – and also the color pink. Some of Mimi’s friends include A-list celebrities like Renée Zellweger and Zach Galifianakis, who actually brought her as his date to the red carpet premiere of The Hangover III. I can only hope to be half the hilarious badass queen Mimi is when I’m in my 80s, but also I can’t even bring myself to leave my apartment to go to the laundromat when my clothes are overflowing out of my hamper so I don’t think I’m cut out to live in one.
10. Miss Representation
Rounding out the list is a recent classic (seriously, this documentary was assigned viewing in at least three of my Women’s & Gender Studies classes in college). This 2011 film peels back the curtain on how mainstream media represents women, often undermining their influence, or reducing them to spectacles to be looked at rather than listened to. For example: those commercials where Kate Upton has to shove a whole hamburger in her face while her boobs are practically escaping from her shirt. This documentary will enrage you, empower you, and make you want to call every advertising company and TV writer and help crack down on unfair representation in every form of media. It’s the least we can do.
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