FEMINIST FRIDAY: Netflix And Chillin’ With These Shows & Films During Our #SocialIsolation

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday – the column where we share 3 videos we can’t get enough of, centered around a feminist theme. Due to the major life interruption around COVID-19, we are aiming to continue this column as often as possible, but it may not be every week as we previously have been doing.

Nevertheless, this week we’re serving up some great feminist content that will help you #stayhome and pass the time. The first is a limited series called ‘Unorthodox’ which you can find on Netflix, out now. Starring Shira Haas, this German production is a true story based on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir ‘Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots’.

The four-part series follows Esther “Esty” Shapiro, a 19-year-old Satmar Jew living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and trapped in an arranged marriage. After not being able to get pregnant within the first year of her marriage, her husband Janky initially asks her for a divorce. Esty decides to flee to Berlin where her mother lives, a woman who also escaped the confines of the community and lives in exile.

This series is an emotional and powerful look into a subculture that is often not depicted with such accuracy or respect. It is also one of the first series primarily filmed in Yiddish (with a smattering of English here and there). Once you finish binge-watching this, we highly recommend watching the behind-the-scenes documentary showing how the production went to great length to depict the Satmar Jewish community with honesty and accuracy, while also telling Deborah’s story with a lot of heart. Watch the trailer below then add it to your Netflix watch list!

The second series we’re recommending this week is FX on HULU’s ‘Mrs. America’, starring Cate Blanchett as the late conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly, and Rose Byrne as feminist icon Gloria Steinem. The series recounts the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the unexpected backlash led by Phyllis Schlafly, aka “the sweetheart of the silent majority.” Through the eyes of the women of the era, the FX series explores how one of the toughest battlegrounds in the culture wars of the 70s helped give rise to the Moral Majority and forever shifted the political landscape.

It is a timely series indeed, given Virginia’s recent signing of the ERA in January, making it the much-needed 38th state to ratify the amendment. The ERA’s original deadline for ratification expired in the 1980s, putting its future on uncertain legal ground, but feminist activists and organizations such as Equality Now and Kamala Lopez’s Equal Means Equal are continuing the fight to ensure that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” ERA never ended up being ratified in the 1970’s largely due to the activism of Phyllis Schlafly and her army of conservative religious housewives who joined her in her crusade. It will be interesting to see what happens going forward for gender equality in this country, but for now let’s take a look back at history so that we can ensure not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The final video we’re sharing this week is actually a feature film trailer, and certainly relevant with everything happening politically around COVID-19. There are a number of Republican-led states, notably Texas and Ohio, who are using this pandemic as an opportunity to try and ban abortion, but reproductive rights advocacy groups are taking the fight all the way to the courts, thankfully. While conservative lawmakers are trying to use the excuse that they need all the masks and medical equipment possible to fight the fast-spreading Coronavirus (a bogus argument given the minimal amount of PPE used during surgical abortions, and the zero amount of masks being used for a medication abortion which are the majority of procedures undertaken by women at home), the fact is that banning abortion or making it harder to obtain doesn’t actually stop abortion or even lower rates. It forces patients to seek care elsewhere, or worse, resort to unsafe methods.

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” is a new film that traces the story of a Pennsylvania teenager struggling to find abortion care, and ends up traveling out of state. Starring Sidney Flanigan as Autumn and directed by Eliza Hittman, the film is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark on a brave, fraught journey across state lines to New York City.

Reporter Tara Murtha from the Pennsylvania Star Capital wrote a great article detailing what the film misses in terms of legislation in Pennsylvania, and also why the film is important in its expose of “Crisis pregnancy centers” which are known to deceive patients and use manipulation tactics and lies to try and prevent a patient from getting an abortion.

“I hope you watch Never Rarely Sometimes Always. We discuss abortion in the context of politics too often and don’t see it portrayed in the context of people’s lives enough, despite the fact abortion is a common experience. As disheartening as it is watching teenagers struggle through an obstacle course to find abortion care, Never Rarely Sometimes Always beautifully renders the courage and resilience of these girls, who like millions of people before them, will whatever it takes to maintain the right to control their own lives,” she writes. The film is available on demand now.

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: Bad Bunny Flipping Off Gender Norms & Supporting The LGBTQ+ Community In His Music Video “Yo Perreo Sola” - GirlTalkHQ

  2. Pingback: 'Unorthodox' Creator/Producer Alexa Karolinski On The Series Taking The World By Storm - GirlTalkHQ

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