Feminism as a topic has always grabbed eyeballs especially in this age when most of the discourses and debates have shifted online enabling every user to put forth their opinions. Often people end up confusing feminism with misandry or even end up questioning the need for such a concept and movement in current times. The most recent fuss created around the term, in my memory, was by Divyangana Trivedi. With every aspect having mansplaining attached to it, it becomes more difficult to cater to the masses with reasoning. Here’s a list of films and documentaries made about various feminine issues, which you should watch at least once to understand the hurdles women have faced and are still facing in different walks of life.
- A Pinch of Skin by Priya Goswami
A Pinch of Skin talks about the horrendous practice of female genital mutilation widely practiced in the Dawoodi Bohra community from Gujarat in an attempt to suppress sexual urges later on in life. The documentary throws light on the stifled voices of the women who were subjected to FGM describing the painful experience and how it has changed their lives forever. It’s available on Youtube.
- Feminists: What were they thinking by Johanna Demetrakas
The documentary by women about women allows you to capture an appreciative look back at the second wave of feminism that produced significant social changes in the 1960s and 1970s. Narrated in a pictorial form ensuing further discussion, it is an ode to empowered women. It is available on Netflix.
- Period : End of Sentence by Rayka Zehtabchi
The documentary is about a group of women in Hapur aiming to dismantle the stigma around the concept of periods in India and how the agency of women is muddled in the wake of patriarchy. For generations, these women didn’t have access to pads, which lead to health problems and girls missing school or dropping out entirely but when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the village, the women learn to manufacture and market their own pads, empowering the women of their community. The film also features the real-life Pad-Man Arunachalam Muruganantham. It is available on Netflix.
- Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel
A documentary with a loud and clear message about how objectified women are in media. It includes many incredible women from different industries and how this vilification creates stereotypes still define them. A thoughtful and eye-opening collection of interviews, statistics, and anecdotes that pertains to women from all fields and age groups. It’s available on Netflix.
5. Water By Deepa Mehta
Filmed in Varanasi, “Water” is the third film in a trilogy about India, whose “Earth” (1998) dealt with the partition of India and Pakistan, and “Fire” (1996) dealt with lesbianism among traditional Indian women. The film concentrates on the social state, plight, and the challenges of being a WIDOW in the Indian society.
6. The Color Purple by Steven Speilburg
Based on the 1983 novel with the same name, This film follows the life of Celie, a young black girl growing up in the early 1900s. At the age of 14, she was impregnated by her father, this movie follows her hardships in the next 30 years. With some deep and astonishing performances, it is a must-watch. The novel is also a part of the Women’s writing syllabus for literature students across the country.
7. Libertarias by Vicente Arande
The film looks at the Spanish Civil War with a feminist lens. A homage to the courageous women who sacrificed their lives during the War. The story revolves around young nun Maria who is forced to hide in a local brothel. There, Maria befriends a sex-worker Charo and Pilar, an activist who recruits both women to become the members of Mujeres Libres, an anarcha-feminist group. They are then exposed to the realities of war and revolution.
Other examples of women-centric films from bollywood can be Pink, Neerja, Highway Chapaak and Mardaani. Happy watching!