Six Documentaries About Amazing Women

The past few weeks have been a tough time for women's rights. As such, this week The Bossy One is focusing on documentaries about inspiring, interesting women and their stories. Documentaries about women who fought the odds, who were unashamedly themselves, who faced brutal injustice and who lived fascinating lives. 

Here are six documentaries (in no particular order) made by/for/about women that I really loved. Some are funny, some are inspiring and some are terribly sad, but everyone one of them is worth watching. 

The Women's List (2015)

Watch the trailer here.

The premise of this documentary is refreshingly simple. Fifteen interesting women speak passionately about what they do. We hear the stories of women we know and love (Alicia Keys, Madeleine Albright, Betsy Johnson, Gloria Allred) and are introduced to amazing trailblazers we might have missed. Musicians, entrepreneurs, politicians, pilots, artists, athletes, producers, comedians and scientists. In just under an hour, The Women's List perfectly personifies the words of one of its featured women: "It makes a difference to see someone who looks like you doing something you want to do." 

Favourite Quote: "Society is clearly better for our peaceful invasion." 

Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue (2015)

Watch the trailer here.

This documentary is an enlightening look into the brilliant, tortured life of one of rock n' roll's greatest artists. Academy Award-nominated director Amy Berg combines vintage footage, modern commentary and heartbreaking letters written by Joplin herself to bring alive her life and music. Cruelly bullied throughout high school for her unconventional values and looks, Joplin turned to music (and style) as an expression of her true self. The great thing about this documentary is that it not only does justice to her music, it also tells the story of Joplin's unapologetic desire to be true to herself.

Favourite Quote: "You are what you settle for, do you know what I mean? You are only as much as you settle for."

She's Beautiful When She's Angry (2014)

Watch the trailer here.

She's Beautiful When She's Angry explores the second wave feminist movement and the women who made it happen. Not only does this film show the birth of the women's liberation movement and the issues that they fought for (equal pay, child care, education, contraception, abortion), it captures the determination and humour with which they did it. This documentary is a great way to learn about the women who's tenacity shaped the world that we live in today. The message is clear. You can change the world.

Favourite Quote: "We went around the room and people asked a very simple question. How would your life have been different if you had been a boy?"

Twinsters (2015)

Watch the trailer here.

This film follows American actress and filmmaker Samantha Futerman and Parisian fashion designer Anais Bordier as they get to know one another after discovering that they are identical twins. The women, who were separately adopted at birth, reunite after Anais sees Samantha in a YouTube video and decides to reach out. Together they travel to each other's countries and then to the place of their birth. Written and directed by Samantha, Twinsters is a truly touching story of sisterly love. 

Favourite Quote: "It's crazy how you can unconditionally love someone that you've never met."

The Hunting Ground (2015)

Watch the trailer here.

The Hunting Ground shines a light on the issue of sexual assault on American college campuses. It explores the complex network of college administrations, athletic departments, faculty, law enforcement and fraternities that prevent campus sexual assault from being properly reported and addressed. The film follows survivor-activists Annie Clark and Andrea Pino as they lead the wave of student-led activism that finally brings campus sexual assault to the top of the national agenda. Both the film and its soundtrack are critically-acclaimed. The Hunting Ground is hard to watch and something that everyone should to see. 

Favourite Quote: "Sexual violence has always been a part of the college experience."

Gloria: In Her Own Words (2011)

Watch the trailer here.

In this hour-long profile, Gloria Steinem looks back at her work as a leader of the women's liberation movement. She is smart, well-spoken, interesting, down-to-earth and completely compelling. Unlike some of the other documentaries on this list, the tone of In Her Own Words is unflinchingly upbeat. This film provides a great snapshot of how far we've come and serves as a reminder of how far we have left to go. 

Favourite Quote: "The primary thing is not that [young women] know who I am, but they know who they are."

* * *

So there you have it, #bossyones. It's time to fire up Netflix and get cozy.

Please take a moment to share this post so that we can refocus the conversation on positive change-makers and inspire ourselves to continue the fight for equality. I'm signing off with hope in my heart and a headache from watching too much tv.