A Starter Kit for Feminist Media
By Melissa Lipari
So, you’ve read all of the feminist books. Now what? Feminist media is a vast learning pool from all different mediums and outlets. There are feminist podcasts, TV shows and movies with feminist undertones, and activist accounts that support feminism on social media. It can be quite overwhelming to try and find key feminist media outlets to begin divulging your time into. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a starter kit for feminist media that can help branch your feminist knowledge from just books or reading materials, to other mediums to engage with. There are so many important lessons that can be taught from female empowered outlets. This one's for the girls!
This film stars Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise, and Jada Pinkett Smith, a true powerhouse lineup of black actresses. The main topics of discussion are intersectionality and violence against women in politics, two very important aspects of our society. Set It Off follows the story of these four women as they try navigating a man’s world from compromising positions. While taking on such difficult discussions, the movie remains heartwarming and empathetic at its core. It is truly an eye-opening film that describes what life in disenfranchised communities can do to a woman, an issue that is very close to home in today’s current events.
Another powerhouse lineup of actresses, with starring roles going to Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler - adapted from a story written by Olivia Goldsmith - comes the First Wives Club. The film has had a recent resurgence from Ariana Grande’s Thank You Next song, but will always remain a feminist classic as the story details three women who are regaining their independence after splitting from terrible ex-husbands. It definitely falls into the category of 90s revenge comedies, so while it might be a little gimmicky at times, it's still a fun watch that teaches the importance of self sufficiency as a woman.
This film documents the first female professional baseball league, directed by the legendary Penny Marshall. Aside from being a story about boundary-breaking, something that is at the heart of feminism, it is also extremely inspirational and charming. The characters are gritty, especially through the outstanding performance of Geena Davis, and the story-line shows that everyone deserves a chance to be a star - no matter your gender.
An Academy Award winning film that captures every aspect of a woman’s life. From childhood to womanhood to motherhood, Roma truly transcends the hard work that women go through in order to prosper in life. Main character, Cleo, played by Yalitza Aparicio, embodies a strong and mentally resilient woman as she cares for a middle-class family in Mexico City. This film beautifully shows the transitions between the different chapters of life in a heartwarming and inspirational way.
This one might sound like an obvious inclusion, but everyone loves a story about two bad ass women who are fugitives from kicking a privileged man’s ass. This is a film about friendship at its core and shows how strong the bond between platonic female relationships can be. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis are breakout actresses in this film and drive home the meaning of sticking together in the eyes of feminism and for the greater good.
Big Little Lies is another media production with an all-star cast, boasting names like Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, and Zoe Kravitz. The central plot revolves around grief, work, family, and finding your way in the world as a woman (a common feminist theme). While the moms of Monterrey are usually feuding, at the end of the day, they are always there for each other. This show proves that women in numbers are quite powerful and should never be counted out.
A great feminist comedy show that is sure to brighten anyone’s day is Broad City. In the most radical and genuine ways, main characters Ilana and Abbi capture the complexity of being a young woman in America. The show revolves around identity and friendship, something that would be a great binge watch with your bestie.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a knockout in Fleabag, which centralizes around all the ways in which women are inherently flawed. With that said, it celebrates all the flaws and trials of being a woman in the modern age - without the frills and guarantees of a happy ending. Though the show is complex, it's laugh out loud funny and makes you feel a little better about navigating your life as a young woman.
A gender-breaking show about female wrestling that illustrates how women are not just mentally strong, as we are often portrayed, but physically strong as well. Like A League of their Own, this show brings the aspect of athleticism to feminism and portrays the separation of being tough on the field (or in the ring, in terms of Glow) and compassionate off it. A show that truly demonstrates how bad-ass women in the sports industry can be.
With a story similar to that of the First Wives Club, Grace and Frankie showcases actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as they rebuild their lives after their husbands begin dating each other, while the women are fully in their seventies. The show tackles ageism as well as feminism, showing that there are no limits when it comes to feminist ideology and age. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are treasures and this show is surely one to get a laugh out of you.
For all the history buffs, The History Chicks podcast, breaks down the roles of important women in history - ensuring that they are never forgotten. Each episode runs for about 60-90 minutes that is also filled with references from external sources to really drive the significance of women’s history home. This podcast is no History 101 course, it requires some outside research and enthusiasm, but is a great listen for those who want to know more about feminist figures.
Hosted by Deborah Frances-White, this podcast dives into all of the ways that feminism is not what the modern world makes it out to be. Feminism has become a dirty word of sorts, but Frances-White is here to prove that the term is one of endearment and does not mean that you have to embody perfect behaviors in order to call yourself a feminist. This is truly an essential podcast if you are just entering the world of feminism and need a humanity check on how feminism really works - because it’s not always sunshine and rainbows.
After the 2016 election, this podcast was created to bring light to the divisions in America. Since then, the show has been going strong as the hosts tackle a plethora of issues within the United States. This is a great podcast to stay informed about current events from a feminist perspective.
Hosted by the infamous #GIRLBOSS herself, Sophia Amoruso, the show focuses on guests that range from female entrepreneurs to actresses. It gives the millennial woman the push she needs to feel comfortable in owning her girl boss status. The podcast is full of advice and stories from successful women who have made it big in the world - a truly uplifting show to listen to.
From the creators of How Stuff Works comes the Stuff Your Mom Never Told You podcast that talks about all of the unspoken topics of feminism. The podcast is hosted by Bridget Todd and Anney Reese, as they navigate the ever-changing challenges that women face monetarily, emotionally, and culturally through smart and savvy advice. This show is the epitome of the big sister advice that you never knew you needed.