In your twenties (and early thirties) you realize that it’s important to be true to yourself, to do what’s right for you, to speak up, and to build your beliefs into something you can be proud of. You learn of causes and issues you want to support, and you start thinking of the ways you can make changes to your own body and mind, as well as changes to the planet you’re living on. It’s a time of discovery, and the perfect time to learn exactly what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.
With that said, there are some documentaries that are required viewing. They’ll open your mind, sober you to the harsh realities of life, make you grateful, make you question everything, and help you see other perspectives and worldviews. If you’re ready to get schooled and open your mind, here are ten documentaries you absolutely must watch…
1 Miss Representation
This documentary examines the way women are represented in the media, it examines the harmful impact of small things that we often overlook. Your favorite female TV character, adverts, reality TV and headlines. Is the media responsible for the way you think about yourself?
2 Dark Girls
This heart-wrenching documentary examines skin-color bias and how it affects the women on the receiving end of it. It’s an illuminating watch that poses some challenging questions and looks at problematic trends like lightening cream, hearing from the women who are most affected and painting a picture of the prejudices and biases faced by black women.
3 #ChicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes On A Dictator
Imagine living in the suburbs of Chicago and in your spare time, organizing a revolution. This is the story of Ala’a Basatneh. Thanks to social media and the internet, she works to change the world by sharing the realities of the Syrian regime, encouraging people to protest, and staying on top of the people on the ground.
4 Audrie & Daisy
This is a must watch. Two young women from different areas of America are sexually assaulted while intoxicated. The act alone is enough to make them feel violated and victimized, but it’s the aftermath, the stigma that they face when speaking out that truly lets them both down. This documentary examines a flawed system and shares the brave true story of two women who deserved better.
5 The Punk Singer
The Riot Grrrl movement made waves recently, and this documentary follows the punk rock icon who founded it. Kathleen Hanna and her band created a space for women in punk music through social media, live performances, and zines, and inspired a movement that traditionally, women wouldn’t have been spotted in. This makes interesting viewing as it shows her life, her diagnoses with late-stage Lye disease, her marriage and her life as it is.
This is a beautiful documentary, the personal life story of a documentary cinematographer told through her own footage and the stories of people she knows. Rare in its intimacy, it’s like a good book that you can’t put down, and shows Kirsten Johnson’s real talent for cinematography and telling a story applied to her own life. You need to watch this, just to see a documentary presented to you in an unusual way and to hear a woman tell her story through her own lense.
7. Amanda Knox
Everyone remembers the murder of Meredith Kercher. But that’s not why you need to watch this documentary, this is in part a true crime documentary akin to Making A Murderer, with crime scene photographs and testimonials from witnesses and law enforcement officers alike. But also, it focuses on the accused, Amanda Knox. A woman who will never step away from the shadow of guilt, who was torn apart in the media, who was known as ‘Foxy Knoxy’, whose sexuality became the center of a trial. Her guilt or innocence was a side piece to her preferences, partners, and life choices.
This documentary is all about regulations and rules that are making it harder for women to get the reproductive justice they deserve. To have the rights over their reproductive system, to have access to the lifesaving healthcare they need. It’s interesting, infuriating, bittersweet, and challenging. And a must watch.
9 He named me Malala
The story of Malala Yousafzai shocked the world. But what she did after her assassination attempt changed the world. Malala continues to fight to educate women, empower them, and take a stand against terror. This documentary follows her life, her work, and her legacy.
10 She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry follows the history of the women’s rights movement of the 1960s. It’s a perfect reminder of what happens when you stand up for what you believe in and celebrates the women who fought for what we have today.
Got some suggestions for great documentaries? Share them with us in the comments below…
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