One of the most exciting things to watch in the past few years has been the rise of platforms, from Rookie to Teen Vogue, where young girls are taken seriously and talk about real world issues. Many of us who were once those young girls discovering that we had voices are now young women in our twenties who are trying to figure out what we can be doing with those voices. We've learned a lot, we're still always learning, and we take ourselves seriously. The media that we consume should reflect that as well, which means we should be diving into true stories that represent diverse viewpoints. Fortunately, there are tons of documentaries that every woman in her twenties should watch.
Every person who identifies as a woman is going to have different interests and unique perspectives. These documentaries reflect a variety of experiences and worldviews, and take approaches that differ widely: some are sometimes somber and direct, some are celebratory and inspirational, some are complex and frightening, some are educational and historical. But they all touch on the experience of womanhood and the challenges and joys of being a woman in the world, and they're all worth your time.
"You can't be what you can't see." This documentary examines the limiting way that women and girls are represented in the media and will challenge you to take control of your consumer power to recognize more women creators.
2'#ChicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes On A Dictator'
Every young woman needs to learn about this incredible story of Ala'a Basatneh, a Syrian-American teenager in the suburbs of Chicago who, with social media, played a critical role in the Syrian revolution. The activism of brilliant young women is changing the world.
3'Audrie & Daisy'
The sexual assault of young women and the subsequent stigmatizing of assault victims is an issue that every woman in her twenties is surely familiar with, and this documentary about the system that allows such devastating acts of sexual assault to go unpunished is a must-watch. (Remember: You're not alone. I believe you, it's not your fault.)
Every woman in her twenties needs to recognize the role that racism plays in the world and the ways it's connected to sexism. This documentary about biases and prejudices faced by black women is a must-see.
5'The Hunting Ground'
For young women, college is as much a threatening world of potential sexual assault as it is an exciting world of new education opportunities, especially when those in power are disturbingly dismissive about addressing sexual assault and protective victims.
6'The Punk Singer'
Kathleen Hanna is a punk rock icon who founded the Riot Grrrl movement and coined the concert phrase "girls to the front." Hanna and her band Bikini Kill made a space for women (mainly white women, it should be noted) in a very masculine world and inspired countless girls to get into punk music.
There is so much value in being a woman who tells her story. In Cameraperson, documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson pieces together unused footage from her long career, using portions of the stories of people she's met in the world to tell her own personal life story.
The fight for reproductive justice is not a battle that is going away any time soon, and women in their twenties deserve to be informed about the regulations that are making it more and more difficult for women to get the important, lifesaving healthcare they need and deserve.
9'Growing Up Coy'
Being a feminist and standing with women means supporting the trans community and fighting for the rights of trans women. This documentary follows the family of a six-year-old transgender girl, Coy, and the civil rights case about Coy's right to use the girls' bathrooms at her school.
10'The Invisible War'
One thing often left out of entreatments to support our troops is the necessity of supporting our troops who aren't men. Sexism and sexual assault is rampant in the military, and this documentary reveals how women in the military who have been victims of assault and rape are silenced when they try to seek justice.
11'She's Beautiful When She's Angry'
Know your history so that you can learn from it. She's Beautiful When She's Angry charts the history of the women's rights movement of the '60s and celebrates many of the activists who fought for the rights you have today.
12'Twenty Feet From Stardom'
This Academy Award-winning documentary follows the incredibly talented women backup singers of some of the most famous musicians in the world, and it will make you not only celebrate the brilliant women you know, but also think about all of the ways that women who deserve to be front and center are relegated to background status.
13'A Ballerina's Tale'
Having female heroes is crucial for women in their twenties, and Misty Copeland, the first African American principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, is the ultimate hero.
14'A Path Appears'
It's crucial to recognize the injustices faced by women around the world, and it's just as important to learn about what steps can be taken to work toward making a real, positive change. This documentary follows reporters and celebrities around the world as they confront gender-based oppression.
15'Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer'
If you're a woman in your twenties and you're not familiar with Russian feminist protest-punk band Pussy Riot, who were imprisoned over their anti-Putinist music, then that needs to change ASAP with this documentary. Women who make music are powerful.
16'The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975'
It's vital for all women in their twenties today to recognize the work of the black women in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements who fought against multiple levels of discrimination and who often never received the praise and place in history they deserved.
Despite what society suggests, women don't stop being incredible, unique, and smart when they get older. Every young woman should take the time to admire and celebrate the older women in Advanced Style who are living their lives with fierce confidence and verve.
Mala Mala tells the amazing stories of several trans people and drag queens in Puerto Rico and shows how important it is to recognize the gender identities and unique personalities of all people.
19'I Am A Girl'
Allowing all different types of girls to tell their own stories in their own words is so critical, and this documentary does just that. We all need to listen.
These are a great start, but there are many more important documentaries out there for young women, and its your job to find them, watch them, and be inspired by them.