FEMINIST FRIDAY: Films About Activist Women, Deviant Women & Empowered Women

Welcome to another Feminist Friday column! That time of the week where we watch 3 of our fave videos of the week, whether they are trailers, interviews, short films, music videos or viral videos, and keep them on loop! As a site dedicated to intersectional feminism, we’re all about amplifying the voices and stories of women. This week’s theme is all about women who are raising their voices for a cause and using film to challenge gender stereotypes.

The first video we’re sharing this week is a trailer for a documentary called ‘When Old Growth Ends’, created by a non-profit organization called For The Wild who focus on environmental issues and intersectional storytelling. One of their projects from 2018, the ‘1 Million Redwoods’ crowdfunding campaign, was officially named the most-backed farm project in Kickstarter history. ‘When Old Growth Ends’ is founder Ayana Young’s first film, and it debuted at SXSW in 2018.

Shot in 2016 at the frontline of the slaughter of the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska, When Old Grown Ends tells a love story through the eyes of the salmon, the old growth trees, the Indigenous peoples residing there, and a group of women with an affinity for wild places. The film illuminates how the failing timber industry and its government enablers have ruptured the heart of the Tongass, leaving the last remaining old growth temperate forest in the nation vulnerable to complete unraveling. The message, spoken in whispers with deafening overtones, beckons us all to mobilize against old growth logging in Alaska and beyond.

Watch the trailer below:

The second video in our column this week comes all the way from Bollywood. The feature film is ‘Andhadhun’ from director Sriram Raghavan, starring Ayushmann Khurrana as pianist Akash who is pretending to be blind, and iconic actress Tabu who plays Simi, an unfaithful wife. What makes this film different from the stereotypical Bollywood romance or drama is that the lead female character is an antagonist and doesn’t conform to the norms expected of women on the mainstream big screen.

Akash accidentally becomes a witness to the murder of Pramod Sinha, husband of an unfaithful wife (Tabu). Simi will stop at nothing to make sure any evidence of the crime is wiped out, including Akash. But her character is a surprising change from the normal murder stories we see on screen. As Anshika Kesarwani from Feminism In India explains, “She seems to be a very real and believable character, who has a simple reason for doing what she does. In short, she is a deviant woman – a woman who does not conform to the morals and values constructed by the society.”

“She unapologetically deviates from any sorts of expectation one has from a woman, and in fact the story line. The movie portrays Simi as a femme fatale, without overly sexualizing her…For women, conformity to societal morals and norms of femininity, set especially for them, are appreciated so that they stay in a position of inferiority. A woman not conforming to such norms are considered deviant…This is what makes Tabu’s character more interesting for me. Her antagonism is never limited by her gender,” writes Anshika.

“Needless to say, the women in this film have well-written, strongly played characters. They contribute to the story and none of them were included for the sake of ‘male gaze’. This in itself is no minor feat for a mainstream Hindi film…there are only a handful of female villains who became iconic in the best sense of the word. There is definitely a need of balance in gender equality in the villains’ world and a need of female villains who are more than just the usual femme fatale.” she continues.

The last video we’re sharing this week is the trailer for director Sally Colón-Petree’s documentary ‘Women Like Us’. It features the story of three women as they take an incredible journey across the United States and Kenya, engaging with powerful women leaders who are confronting social injustices. By advocating for and equipping women in desperate need with tools to create change in their lives, these leaders have made a positive impact in such areas as sex trafficking, female genital mutilation, depression, teen suicide, women’s access to education, homelessness, and more.

The film features actress/comedian Sherri Shepherd; award-winning journalist Catt Sadler; former executive producer of the Oprah Winfrey show Dianne Hudson; former First Lady of Kenya Ida Odinga; and more. You can learn more about how to get to a screening by visiting the website, and watch the trailer below to get a glimpse of the women featured:

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  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: The Female-Powered Super Bowl LIII Commercials You Need To See - GirlTalkHQ

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