Feminist media portrays news ways of seeing women in books and movies

Educating yourself on the many issues feminism tries to tackle may seem like a daunting and difficult task, but there are many resources available in all forms of media that critically examine feminist issues.

Feminist media examines a range of topics from sexual agency, media representation and female friendship. Here are just a few works that stuck with me after reading and watching them, and hopefully they can be just as informative and entertaining for you.

Miss Representation

This 2011 documentary, directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, examines sexism in all forms of media and shines a light on the different stereotypes, instances of objectification and harm done to women through the way the media has portrayed them.

This documentary features appearances from prominent women like Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice and more, as well as everyday women and girls making a difference in the world, fighting sexism and stereotypes in all walks of life.

Personally, I enjoyed this documentary because it made me think about the stereotypes and objectification placed on the women I see in shows, movies and more, and how those lenses translate into my real life.

It made me think about the way those sexist and archaic ideals harm women in reality and how I can individually unsubscribe from those in my own life.

Hot Girls Wanted and Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On

The 2015 Netflix Original documentary, Hot Girls Wanted, directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus and produced by Rashida Jones, follows a handful of young women attempting to break into the sex industry, more specifically the porn industry.

The film opens its viewer’s eyes to the world of sex work and shows the challenges these women face while trying to make a name for themselves in porn.

Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On was a 2017 Netflix Original mini-series sequel that looked specifically at online sex work and its jump in usage and popularization over the past few years.

With the rise of adult platforms like OnlyFans, watching this documentary provides viewers with context for the motivations of the rise of online sex work, who’s consuming the media and who’s providing the service.

I enjoyed these two documentaries because they exposed me to the world of sex work in a way that was honest and insightful. I gained even more of a respect for individuals who choose to partake in sex work than I already had.

Watching these documentaries also made me want to rally behind sex workers more and have an even deeper passion for decriminalizing this work. Sex work should be seen as an actual occupation, deserving of benefits and protection under the law.

Knock Down The House

This 2019 Netflix Original documentary followed four women’s congressional races all over the country in the 2018 midterm elections.

This film introduced us to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Amy Vilela and Paula Jean Swearengin. They were all first-time candidates with no political experience, hoping to make a name for themselves.

The 2018 midterm election was historic for women because 117 were elected or appointed to Congress, the largest number of women simultaneously in office.

This documentary was particularly inspiring to me because seeing four women with no political experience, no backing from other politicians and no money from big donors still have the support of their constituents was amazing.

Despite not all four women winning their races, their running at all shows people, and women in particular, it is possible to make a change no matter how little power of influence you might think you have.

Text Me When You Get Home

This 2018 book by Kayleen Schaefer discusses the modern female friendship and why our friends can be our soul mates as well.

Schaefer is a journalist who interviewed more than 100 women on their experiences with friendship. She uses pop culture references and her own personal experiences to bring this book to life and make its message more relatable.

She rebukes the stereotypes that women are bad at being friends, are cruel and competitive and abandon their friends for romantic partners.

This book also challenges the notion that women should only rely on men for support and reminds its readers there’s no support like that from female friends.

This is one of my personal favorite books because it reaffirms the belief I’ve always had, that having a group of supportive women in your life is crucial to navigating being a woman.

Reading about how Schaefer views her friends as family closely reflects my own view of friendship and made me feel seen, because I also see my friends as my chosen family.

The End Of Men: And The Rise Of Women

This 2012 book by Hanna Rosin tackles how women are dominating and changing the ideas of gender norms in areas like marriage, education and the workforce.

Rosin uses statistical and cultural evidence to show how women are moving into spaces previously not accessible to them — and thriving.

Because women now have more agency and choice in terms of family, marriage, education and workforce, the book also looks at the changing dynamic between men and women and the impact it will have in the future.

This was an informative book to read because it does a great job painting a picture of how women are growing into their independence and creating lives separate from their relationships with men.

The End Of Men: And The Rise Of Women confirmed to me that women are living life on their own terms and creating their own rules, and men will have to adjust and treat women accordingly.

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