Twenty-four hours after Donald Trump's historically mediocre inauguration in 2017, the global Women's March movement made U.S. history as the most attended protest in the country. Three years later, protests calling for justice and supporting Black Lives Matter are popping up all over the country, bringing issues of
privilege and intersectional feminism to the forefront of the women's movement. It's important that modern feminists be exposed to all different kinds of feminist thought and issues facing women worldwide, and to help in this endeavor, here are 13 feminist documentaries on Netflix every woman needs to watch.
There are a lot of feminist docs on Netflix, something that's made especially notable when taken alongside the relatively few female-driven fiction movies we’ve seen in our daily lives. Netflix's documentary selection ranges from biographical films to investigative filmmaking, and the feminist documentaries are no different. Whether you want to learn more about the history of feminism or modern injustices and current political events affecting women all over the world, there is a feminist documentary for you. Here are the
13 feminist documentaries on Netflix every woman should watch and embrace going forward.
The Netflix documentary centers around two teenage girls from two different parts of the country who both pass out while intoxicated at high school parties and are sexually assaulted by boys they had considered to be friends. As they attempt to deal with the trauma they’ve just experienced, the girls end up facing a great deal of online harassment in the wake of their assaults. On the surface, online bullying may not seem like a feminist issue, but the mistreatment of women in real life and online is a very real threat, as
Audrey & Daisy shows.
Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus,
Hot Girls Wanted is a 2015 documentary that explores the world of Florida’s amateur porn and sheds light on how it exploits young women at a very early age. If you want to be a champion for young women and girls in the internet age, Hot Girls Wanted is definitely a good place to start.
'What Happened, Miss Simone?'
Based on the life of Nina Simone, a legendary recording artist and well-known civil rights activist,
What Happened, Miss Simone? delves into the life of this cultural icon and examines how depression, abuse, and stardom shaped her into the woman she ultimately became, proving just how closely fame and tragedy can go hand in hand.
Feminists are probably always going to need to challenge the sexist portrayals of women in the media, and
Miss Representation will help give you the information to do so. Created in 2011, this American documentary showcases the likes of Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Condoleeza Rice, Gloria Steinem and many others to discuss sexism in how American society and the mainstream media contribute to the underrepresentation of women.
Netflix documentary focuses on racial inequality of the U.S. prison system and explores the idea that the prison industrial complex came directly from the 13th Amendment. It's not solely a feminist documentary, per se, but to be an American feminist means to understand the various historical oppressions of this country. This came out two years before DeVernay’s 13th When They See Us miniseries, but it focuses on the same powerful message concerning race and the flawed justice system.
'Feminists: What Were They Thinking?
This 2018 Netflix documentary created by Johanna Demetrakas chronicles the stories of various women who are featured in a 1977 book of photographs that capture them shedding cultural restrictions of their childhoods. The film also looks to the present day and stresses the need for the culture to continue shifting toward equality. In addition, the feminist documentary includes various interviews with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Laurie Anderson, and Judy Chicago who discuss a wide range of topics involving identity, abortion, race, and motherhood.
Released in 2018, this Netflix documentary follows the riveting tale of a group of 13 women who trained to become astronauts as part of America’s very first spaceflight program in the early 1960s. The women underwent the same sort of physiological screening tests given to NASA astronauts, though it was never an official part of the NASA program. However, the commitment and determination of these women paved the way for other women who followed in their footsteps and dared to dream of blasting off toward the stars.
'Period. End of Sentence.'
Even in the year 2020, the topic of menstruation is considered by many to be a taboo subject. The Oscar-winning Netflix documentary
Period. End of Sentence seeks to fight against this stigma by focusing on a group of Indian women who fought for better access to secure sanitary products and began manufacturing their own sanitary pads as a result. The film also highlights how important it is for men to be allies on this issue, and why the shame surrounding menstruation needs to be put to an end once and for all.
This documentary series details the history of
sexual abuse allegatons against musician R. Kelly, all of which he has denied. In a series of personal interviews, survivors speak out to tell their story and stand united in speaking out against him. The six part series also includes more than 50 interviews of experts and commentators, including civil rights activist Tarana Burke, well-known musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk show host Wendy Williams, as well as R. Kelly's family members in an attempt to provide some much needed insight into the singer’s controversial past.
In the age of Trump, the world misses the Obamas now more than ever. Luckily, Michelle Obama’s new documentary
Becoming is here to provide a much needed dose of humanity and kindness. The doc, which shares the same title as her best-selling memoir, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the former First Lady’s 34 city book tour and the connections she made and life lessons she learned along the way. It’s not quite the same as having the Obamas back in the White House, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Directed by Madeleine Gavin, this 2016 documentary chronicles the creation of City of Joy. Established in 2011 by Dr. Denis Mukwege, playwright Eve Ensler, and human rights activist Christine Schuler Deschryver, City of Joy is a place for women who have survived horrific violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a harrowing tale that proves how powerful women can be when they work together for the greater good.
This Netflix documentary sheds light on a 70-year love story between Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel — a relationship that they’d kept secret from the world up until a few years ago. The two of them met in 1947 back when Donahue served as a catcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. (Fun fact: the AAGPBL later served as inspiration for the widely popular 1992 hit film
A League of Their Own.) A Secret Love follows Donahue and Henschel’s journey to finally coming out to their families in 2009 and details their last few years together as a couple. You don’t have to be a sports fan to fall in love with this heartwarming story.
'Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé'
Written, directed, and executive produced by Queen Bey herself, this 2019 concert film documents Beyoncé’s unforgettable performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and provides intimate footage from several months prior to show all of the work and creativity that went into bringing the iconic singer’s vision to life. If this isn’t enough to make you an official member of the Beyhive, then nothing will.