Feminist Self-Care: Inspiring Films by Women, for Women

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I’ve already mentioned self-care in the form of books, but here’s another one of my favorite ways to escape—via movies! It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a serious drama or a light-hearted rom-com, two hours in a dark movie theatre, replete with buttery popcorn and a chocolate bar where no one from the outside world can reach you is pure heaven. Going to the movies can definitely be a luxury that’s not always affordable or accessible, so I try to take advantage of our local discount theatre, RedBox, Netflix, and a slew of other inexpensive options in order to treat myself.

While there are a TON of amazing feminist films out there (We are the Best!, Hidden Figures, Working Girl, The Color Purple, 3 Women, etc., etc.), I’ve chosen some that are not just films about women, but also directed by women. These come in the form of documentaries, comedies, dramas, and horror, and navigate relationships, culture, sexuality, race, and gender each in their own nuanced ways.

Being able to watch these movies through a familiar eye—the “female gaze,” if you will—not only creates a new way of seeing for young girls and women, but can inspire them to follow their own path into the world of film.

Put your phone on silent, grab the popcorn, and enjoy!

CluelessDir. Amy Heckerling

Not just about boys & fashion, but realizing the importance of being yourself.

Suffragette, Dir. Sarah Gavron

An ordinary woman whose life is changed as she fights for the right to vote in 1912 Britain.

She’s Beautiful When She’s AngryDir. Mary Dore

A documentary film about the birth of the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s.

A League of Their OwnDir. Penny Marshall

Women playing baseball in WWII finding freedom of choice, friendship, and self-identity.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at NightDir. Ana Lily Amirpour

A “vampire Western,” set in Iran, where a female vampire sucks the blood of “bad men.”

Orlando, Dir. Sally Potter

Based on the Woolf novel, the film looks at gender transition as Orlando lives hundreds of years as both male and female.

Daughters of the DustDir. Julie Dash

Set in 1902, stories of African American women and Gullah history off the coast of South Carolina.

Wonder WomanDir. Patty Jenkins

The story of how Diana, raised by the Amazon women, became the iconic female superhero, Wonder Woman.

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du CommerceDir. Chantal Akerman

An in-depth look at the life of a middle-aged widow as she navigates home life and prostitution.

Belle, Dir. Amma Asante

The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral fights sexism and racism in 18th century England.

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Emily Greene works in Promotions for CBS and NBC affiliates in the Augusta, Georgia and North Augusta, South Carolina areas. She has a BA in Art, and is finishing a second degree focusing on Women’s Studies, Criminal Justice, and English. Active in promoting social justice, especially the awareness of women’s issues, she is the Chair of the Women’s Caucus of the Young Democrats of Georgia, as well as their Communications Director, the Vice President of the Young Democrats of Augusta Richmond County, Membership Chair and Committee Member of the Columbia County Democratic Party, and a volunteer for Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services. Emily’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Cult Collective, Washington State University’s literary journal, LandEscapes, and PLACE (SACRED SPACE) Without Beginning or End, a book about weaving by Rachel Snack of Weaver House Company.

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