Happy Women's History Month! There are many ways to celebrate and honor the progress and struggles of women, such as attending women-empowering events, sharing feminist articles, and reading biographies. But if you like to have a marathon of documentaries, we know just what you should watch for this special month. The following list features a variety of topics that involve women. Some take a closer look into a certain woman's life while others address the issues most crucial to women and gender equality. So grab your favorite snack and set up your Netflix account–these are the 10 documentaries you should watch for Women's History Month:
What Happened, Miss Simone?
"Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy." - This 2015 Netflix original documentary that looks into the life of legendary Nina Simone has rave reviews. Since the recent Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana has mixed reactions, you should definitely check this out first.
Venus and Serena
"Filmmakers Maiken Baird and Michelle Major follow sisters and tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams on and off the courts as both battle health problems and media controversy." These sisters are an impressive force to contend with. They have garnered attention for their skill and are important influences in sports. Especially since Serena was named Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsperson of the Year, it's worth learning more about these skilled women.
Life and Crimes of Doris Payne
"Octogenarian Doris Payne discusses her 60-year career as a jewel thief with filmmakers Matthew Pond and Kirk Marcolina." - Doris Payne is surprisingly public about her criminal career, though that most likely certifies the pride she has for her work. It was only in 2011 that she was finally sentenced to prison for a few months and the documentary follows Payne in the process leading up to her conviction while delving more into her jewel thief campaign. While this is no way an endorsement of her criminal work, Payne is a wonder. So it isn't a surprise that she's still continuing her career today.
"Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Condoleeza Rice, Gloria Steinem and others discuss sexism in American society and the media." Seeing this modern classic is the best way to remind yourself of the positive and equal representation of women in media that society definitely needs. When the media depicts women in a superficial light, it is suggestive of how communities should see women and perpetuates these debilitating views. We want young girls to see role models they can aspire to be.
"Personal style and a vital spirit guides the lives of seven New Yorkers as they age." This documentary has been on our radar for the past year and it's finally on Netflix for accessible viewing! The women featured in this film are a joy to watch and an inspiration. In mainstream culture, there is an emphasis on youthfulness and how, as we age, we become irrelevant and less beautiful. These women prove otherwise.
The Punk Singer
"Filmmaker Sini Anderson explores the life and career of punk rocker Kathleen Hanna, the Bikini Kill frontwoman who became a pioneer of the "riot grrrl" movement of the 1990s." Bikini Kill was a passionate and determined effort of self-expression and the promotion of radical feminism. It would be an understatement to say that Hanna was simply an activist in an iconic punk band. This documentary of Hanna's life solidifies her dedication to feminism and the impact she has made.
"Interviews with Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Al Pacino and others illustrate a look at how casting directors have shaped the direction of Hollywood over the last 50 years." - This is an intimate look into a profession in the film industry that doesn't get enough recognition: casting director. Detailing the career of Marion Dougherty, the film shares the talent she discovered who have become legends in cinema. Despite being praised for her decisions, Dougherty, and other casting directors, weren't acknowledged as much as actors, directors, and etc.
"Filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson interview the only doctors willing to perform third trimester abortions." - Following the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, a doctor who was publicly known to perform late-term abortions, this documentary intimately follows the lives of the four remaining doctors who perform the same procedure. It's an emotional and complex film that deals with a highly debated topic, but at the most personal level. This is a must-watch for everyone.