FEMINIST FRIDAY: Sex Education, Feminism & Fierce Female Superheroes

Welcome to another Feminist Friday column! That part of our week where we pick a handful of videos we are crushing on at the moment and share them with our readers around a central theme that falls under our inclusive and intersectional definition of feminism. This week we’re sharing a few trailers to a documentary, a series and a feature film that portray women in roles that are unapologetic, bold, and barrier-breaking.

The first video is a trailer to a documentary out on Hulu June 1st, called ‘Ask Dr. Ruth’. As the website describes, the film chronicles the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. With her diminutive frame, thick German accent, and uninhibited approach to sex therapy and education, Dr. Ruth transformed the conversation around sexuality. As she approaches her 90th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, Dr. Ruth revisits her painful past and unlikely path to a career at the forefront of the sexual revolution.

At a time when politics and religion are threatening to rewind the clock on women’s progress, especially in the area of reproductive rights, justice, and sexual health, this film could not be more appropriate.

The second trailer is for an Indian film out now on Netflix called ‘Firebrand’, produced by none other than Priyanka Chopra. As TheQuint.com outlines, this film explores modern day feminism and love, and is lead by a powerful story of female empowerment in the face of adversity. While she successfully advocates for her female clients in difficult divorce cases, a lawyer’s trauma from sexual assault impacts her own marriage. Starring veteran Marathi actors such as Usha Jadhav, Girish Kulkarni, Sachin Khedekar and Rajeshwari Sachdev, this is Netflix’s first original Marathi film.

The final trailer this week is for a feature film called ‘Fast Color’, out now from Codeblack Films. While there has been plenty of attention around female superheroes, especially in the wake of the release of Captain Marvel and its major box office success, here is a film that centers not only a female hero with a fascinating origin story, but a woman of color.

‘Fast Color’ stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a woman who comes into her own after discovering she has superhuman abilities. When her powers are discovered, the woman is forced to abandon her family in order to protect them. Years later, her mission to remain unseen brings her back home. Starring opposite Mbatha-Raw is an ensemble featuring Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney, Christopher Denham, and Emmy winner David Strathairn.

A story told with complexity and gravity, themes of race, feminism, addiction and family abandonment show the importance of portraying women not just as one or two-dimensional leads, but as characters that are allowed to have just as much nuance as any flawed male protagonist.

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