5 Feminist Films Every Woman Should Watch

Written by Clariz Mendoza

Women are sometimes limited to restricting roles or characters in mainstream media. They are damsels in distress, the other woman, the martyr wife, or regarded as sex objects. If you’re like me and want a breather from these toxic characters, here is a list of movies that break the stereotype. These are movies you can watch which shows inspiring stories of women. Here are some examples:

5. Iron Jawed Angels (2004)

Directed by: Katja von Garnier

Cast: Hilary Swank, Frances O’Connor, Julia Ormond, Anjelica Huston, Margo Martindale

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Plot: The fight for women’s right to vote has never been an easy one. A lot of women poured their blood, sweat, and tears just for us to have our voices heard. Iron Jawed Angels depicts the struggles and successes of the women suffrage movement in the 1910s. It tells the story of the strong leaders of the movement, Alice Burns Paul and Lucy Burns. The movie is a critically-acclaimed film with awards from Golden Globe Awards, American Society of Cinematographers, Satellite Awards, and more.

4. Whale Rider (2002)

Directed by: Niki Caro

Cast: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Cliff Curtis, Grant Roa, Rachel House

Genre: Family, Drama

Plot: Having a female tribal leader is unheard of for the Māori people, preposterous even. Generations after generations, the tribe was ruled by men. In Whale Rider, Paikea Apirana proves that she is as worthy to be a leader as any man in the tribe. She is smart, caring, and brave. This film follows the journey of Pai on how she convinces the people that she is the rightful chieftain. Though they may ridicule her because of her sex, Pai was not discouraged. On the contrary, it pushed even further to show that she has what it takes to be a great leader.

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3.  The Witch (2016)

Directed by: Robert Eggers

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Julian Richings, Bathsheba Garnett

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Drama

Plot: The story begins when Thomasin’s family is banished from their village due to religious conflicts. The family then settles in a secluded forest where mysterious events immediately begin to unfold. Thomasin is blamed for the strange occurrences by her own mother and believes she has ties with the witches. This film shows a female’s rebellion and strength, especially during the time when anyone who is considered unique or unusual is labeled a witch.

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2. Little Women (1994)

Directed by: Gillian Armstrong

Cast: Winona Ryder, Gabriel Byrne, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis, Kirsten Dunst

Genre: Romance, Drama, Family

Plot: Relive the story of the March sisters— Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy in this coming-of-age movie. This classic tale tells the journey of four sisters during the American Civil War in Massachusetts. Little Women teaches its viewers various lessons— of love, hope, sacrifice, and pain. Even though this novel turned movie was published back in 1868 (152 years ago!), it still continues to touch the hearts of many people today.

1. Persepolis (2007)

Directed by: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian, Gena Rowlands

Genre: Animation, Biography, History, War

Plot: Marji, the Iranian lead character of the movie, was sent to France by her parents in the hopes of a more peaceful future. Iran in the late ’70s was experiencing a revolution which made it a place of chaos and turmoil. Although in a foreign land, Marji showed that she is a brave woman, not afraid to express herself nor to speak her mind. She decides to go back to Iran at the conclusion of the war. She became true to herself and did not lose her identity throughout the years she lived abroad. She chose to go back to her home country, Iran, where her heart truly belongs.

I would also like to thank Dr. Beverly Sarza for inspiring me to write this article.

What is your favorite feminist film? Share with us in the comments!


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