FEMINIST FRIDAY: Women Reclaiming Their Time & Stories Through Film, Music & Literature

Welcome to another Feminist Friday! Our favorite time of the week where we get to share a handful of our fave videos we can’t get enough of right now. Usually centered around one, common feminist these, this week we’re amplifying the voices and work of women who are reclaiming their time (to quote Rep. Maxine Waters). They are doing this by sharing their authentic stories and lives away from the male gaze, in an unapologetic way, and allowing other women and girls to feel empowered knowing they too can have a space to share their voices.

Our first video comes from media publication The Root, dedicated to reporting on the issues and stories impacting the African-American community in America. Video producer Felice León talks about the importance of feminism in the hip hop genre in her latest installment of her ‘Unpack That’ web series. She talks about how the term was first coined by Joan Morgan, author of ‘When Chickenheads Come Home To Roost’, and how hip hop and feminism has had a complicated history given the dominance of toxic masculinity in the genre, where lyrics objectifying and degrading especially black women’s bodies, the LGBTQ community, and demonizing sex workers are standard fare.

But with popular artists and MC’s like Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Queen Latifah, hip hop is being reclaimed by women in the genre. Despite their massive worldwide recognition, many of these women are sometimes seen as “controversial” because they don’t bow down to the male gaze, and refuse to play by the rules set out for women by the music industry (and wider society) at large.

“Trying to make it as a woman in a notoriously misogynistic and patriarchal space can get a little murky. Hip Hop feminism says that we have to have a feminism that embraces that ambiguity,” says Felice, who sat down with Rutgers University Associate Professor Brittney Cooper to discuss this important branch of feminism.

The second video this week is a trailer for author and TED Speaker Katie Zeppieri’s new book ‘She Rises: Uplifting Words for Anxious Girls’, out now. We’re huge fans of Katie, as she is the Canadian-based founder of Girl Talk Empowerment, and is passionate about empowering girls and women to become leaders, and overcoming struggles.

Separated into three parts: “She Falls”, “She Rises” and “She Perseveres”, the book speaks to some of the challenges that girls and women experience including: anxiety, depression, eating disorders and low self-esteem, while seeking to inspire the reader to rise above and stay strong even in the most difficult of circumstances. Each page of the book is a new poem with a colorful illustration drawn by Los Angeles illustrator, Mary Purdie, who has designed work for many major brands including Trident, Red Bull, and the World Health Organization. $1 from every sold copy of “She Rises” will be donated to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital and one of the world’s leading research centers, to help provide resources for individuals struggling with mental health and addiction.

The final video this week is a powerful documentary trailer that gave us tears watching it. ‘Wrestling Ghosts’ is a raw, intimate, and heart-opening documentary about parenting, childhood trauma and healing, from director Ana Joanes. ‘Wrestling Ghosts’ follows the journey of Kim, a young mother who, over two heart-breaking and inspiring years, battles the traumas from her past to create a new present and future for her and her family. In this intimate portrait, Kim shares deeply personal moments that most of us keep secret in shame, and invites us into her counseling sessions. With her counselors’ help, Kim opens up to new ways of thinking and uncovers what has blocked her from experiencing the joy and connection she most desires. She learns about the impact of childhood trauma on her brain, and how, tragically, this very damage causes the trauma to be passed on to her own children. Armed with knowledge and compassion, she pursues new strategies to heal herself.

Storytelling and art can be powerful ways to find healing, share untold stories, and dismantle shame and negativity that so often keeps women’s voices locked away in silence. We’re thankful for so many inspiring projects that remind us why we need to keep speaking up! You can watch ‘Wrestling Ghosts’ by going to the website, and watch the trailer below:

Wrestling Ghost Trailer from ana joanes on Vimeo.

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