9 Movies & Shows To Stream For International Women's Day That Celebrate All The Different Sides Of Womanhood
Happy International Women's Day (IWD), ladies! On Friday, Mar. 8, women across the globe are celebrating their peers and spreading the message of gender equality however they can. There are so many different ways to support women on IWD, from shopping at female-owned businesses to volunteering for or donating to organizations that help out women in need. But you can also do your part simply by enjoying pieces of pop culture — i.e. spending International Women's Day watching great female-led movies and shows like the ones listed below.
Chosen by Bustle's Entertainment editors (a team made up of all women), the nine films and TV series listed here are incredibly different from one another in terms of genre and themes, but what they all have in common is a focus on complicated, interesting, realistically drawn women. It's always a great thing to support female-led (and/or female-created) work whenever possible, considering Hollywood's major gender imbalance, but there's truly no better time than International Women's Day. So this Friday, try to check out a few of the below movies or shows — and then spend the rest of March, aka International Women's Month, getting through the rest.
'Penny Dreadful' Seasons 1-3
Streaming On: Netflix, Showtime
"This IWD, I'm rewatching Showtime's Penny Dreadful, a literary/horror pastiche of epic scale and style, which digs deep into the tortured psyches of its formidable female characters. Eva Green proves herself to be a total powerhouse as Vanessa Ives, the haunted heiress caught in a battle between heaven and hell. And if you think Billie Piper's sweet Irish sex worker is a little too fragile in Season 1, just wait and see how she reinvents herself as a bloodthirsty crusader for mistreated women in Season 2."
— Sage Young, Movies Editor
'The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants'
Rentable On: Youtube, for $3.99
"What better way to celebrate a day about women than this teenage classic about strong female friendship? I vividly remember seeing Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in theaters, laughing and crying throughout the movie, and wanting a bond just like Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, and Alexis Bledel's characters. They prove that while we all have our strengths and our flaws, the way to get through anything is doing it together."
— Jamie Primeau, Celebrity Editor
'Killing Eve' Season 1
Streaming On: Hulu
"Sure, you might want to spend International Women’s Day watching something warm and fuzzy about female friendships. But if you’re looking for something a bit more...complicated, watching Jodie Comer's psychopathic assassin Villanelle hunt down Sandra Oh's hapless MI5 security officer Eve on Killing Eve will definitely hit the spot. Are they driven by love, lust, mutual fascination, jealousy, or some strange concoction of all of these feelings? It's impossible to say for sure. But the show's refreshingly complex take on a spy thriller will keep you entranced by two women whose sole preoccupation is one another."
— Samantha Rollins, TV Editor
'20th Century Women'
Streaming On: Amazon Prime
"20th Century Women is propelled by protagonist Jamie, a 15-year-old boy coming of age in ‘70s-era Santa Barbara, but the story is more about the women who orbit him: his mother Dorothea (Annette Bening), who’s struggling to find a way to connect with him as he grows further into adolescence; his friend Julie (Elle Fanning), the beautiful girl next door he is hopelessly in love with, but who craves only the safe haven of his kindness and warmth; and Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a photographer who rents a room in their house and, amid the throes of young adulthood, is reckoning with her own sense of purpose and self. It’s a quiet but thoughtful snapshot of three women all in vastly different stages of life, and the varied ways they shape one boy into a man."
— Dana Getz, Associate TV Editor
'My Brilliant Friend' Season 1
Streaming On: HBO
"Based on the first of four books in Elena Ferrante's beloved and highly-acclaimed Neapolitan Novels series, My Brilliant Friend is a superbly nuanced look at the complexities of young female friendship. As Lenù and Lila navigate childhood and adolescence in their impoverished Italian neighborhood, they experience every brutal up and down, from competition over boys to the pressures placed on them by society to conform to certain norms."
— Rachel Simon, Entertainment News Editor
'The Edge Of Seventeen'
Streaming On: Netflix
"Navigating teenage years as a young woman is not easy. It's messy, sometimes tragic, and embarrassing — but also really, really fun. And all of that is reflected in The Edge of Seventeen, one of the most honest movies about what it's like being a teenage girl. Star Hailee Steinfeld really shines in the role, swinging from existential crisis to bratty little sister at the drop of a hat, all while keeping you on her side. She's so good at showing all the messy sides of being a woman, and due in part to Kelly Fremon Craig, the film's writer-director. Unfortunately, with the embarrassingly low number of female directors working in Hollywood, it can be hard to find a movie showcasing women that's actually made by women. So, in the spirit of IWD, take a few hours and watch a movie made by a woman, about a woman, for women, that also happens to be one of the best movies of 2016 you probably didn't see."
— Olivia Truffaut-Wong, Associate Entertainment Editor
'Je ne suis pas un homme facile (I Am Not An Easy Man)'
Streaming On: Netflix
"This French film has a fun, female-forward twist in the hit-head-and-wake-up-in-a-different-world genre. Damien (played by Vincent Elbaz) is an insufferable man who, well, hits his head and wakes up in a parallel universe where women are in charge. While the movie has its funny moments, the ending is especially profound."
— Mallory Carra, Associate Entertainment Editor
'Workin' Moms' Season 1-2
Streaming On: Netflix
"Workin' Moms is a hilarious Canadian sitcom which just came to US Netflix. It is an honest, and sometimes ugly look at parenting that features complicated women who are rough around the edges — a.k.a., they're real."
— Allison Piwowarski, Deputy Entertainment Editor
'Orphan Black' Season 1-5
Streaming On: Amazon Prime
"Don't scroll by Orphan Black just because you're not normally into sci-fi or clones. Yes, the show is technically about all of that, but it's also so much more. Talk about girl power — Tatiana Maslany play all five main characters, plus a handful of secondary ones, as they try to figure out who made them and why. It's an action series, a science fiction thriller, a family saga, and a buddy comedy all rolled into one show. Don't worry too much about the ins and outs of the actual plot, which can get a little wacky. Just sit back and relish Maslany's performances and the strong, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic, bond that forms among the five 'sisters.'"
— Karen Fratti, Associate TV Editor