17 Movies That Get The Female Experience Right

by Lakecia Hammond

The female experience is dynamic, making it unsuitable for any one definition. It would be silly to think that a woman's experience can be summed up so simply, but what we can agree on is the fact we are living in societies that plague women's pursuit to be treated equally. Whether it's in the workforce, home, or community, women are evolving in a static patriarchal construct that won't make way for us a lot of the time. So what do we do? Protest. Well, sometimes. See, that's the other thing. In America we have freedom of assembly but for women in countries like Libya or North Korea, organizing as a basic human right is forbidden. This is why it's important to understand the many different perspectives that make up the female experience.

The following list is a collection of movies that show experiences that are empowering as they are unique, casting light on the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality. These films tackle historic norms head on or simply share their stake in the evolving women's rights movement. Hopefully, after you finish watching these movies, you can take your own interpretation of the female experience with a grain of salt and work on diversifying your own definition of womanhood.


'Born In Flames'

This film shows its audience the systemic issues that stayed in place following a socialist revolution in the U.S.


'Waiting To Exhale'

A story that shows women in complete control over their bodies, sex lives and careers.


'A League Of Their Own'

An all-woman baseball league steps up to the plate during WWII — an era when women were finding more jobs in men's absence.


'Mona Lisa Smile'

An art history professor sends gender roles packing.



Feminist artist from Mexico uses fuel brought on by a turbulent marriage and accident for her paintings.


'Thelma And Louise'

Two women take a break from their marriages to hit the open road and escape their mediocre lives.


'Now And Then'

A childhood favorite. A group of girl friends try to figure out their strengths, relationships and what to do with life's lemons.


'9 To 5'

Three women get back at their chauvanist boss who treat them like second class citizens.


'The Color Purple'

A film based on Alice Walker's novel, this story shows a young black woman's life following abuse and bigotry.



A wealthy Iranian teen embarks on a lesbian relationship despite her families qualms about it.



Juno has no script but plenty of second opinions for how to deal with her teenage pregnancy.


'If These Walls Could Talk'

Women from different time-periods and social classes cope with their pregnancies.


'Real Women Have Curves'

A young women sets her own beauty standards.


'The Patience Stone'

A woman confesses her dreams to her husband after he falls into a coma.


'She's Gotta Have It'

Spike Lee's film tells the story of a woman who juggles relationships with three men.


'Iron Jawed Angels'

Young women take on the women's suffarage movement.


'Set It Off'

A fired bank teller turned janitor, holds down a lesbian relationship while grappling with finances and life's hurdles.

While these stories are not documentaries, they showcase a variety of duly noted female experiences that are all valid in their own right.