Tuesday, November 17, 2015

5 Must-Watch Netflix Documentaries for the Thanksgiving Holiday


Thanksgiving may be my absolute favorite holiday, and I know I'm not the only one. There's no better way to spend some down-time than to surround yourself with family, food and festive drinks while all the pressures of work, school and daily tasks float further and further from your mind with each mug of mulled wine. 

This year, I'm so grateful for the things I've learned while writing this blog and researching the various obstacles women face around the world. In the past twelve months, I've had the incredible opportunity of going back to school to get a Masters in Education so that I can one day bring my knowledge on women's issues into the classroom and volunteer organizations and hopefully help young women in need. 

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you guys some of the truly inspiring documentaries currently available on Netflix that have fascinated me over the last few weeks. Some of them are inspiring, some are heartbreaking, and all are centered around pivotal issues facing women across the globe.

So this Thanksgiving break, after you've gobbled up the turkey and truly stuffed yourself with stuffing, why not grab another glass of wine, a second helping of pumpkin pie and cuddle up on the couch with some of these truly motivational films? 


If you only have time to watch one documentary this break, make it The Honor Diaries. At only 60 minutes long, this quick, informational and motivational film documents the harsh realities facing millions of women in Islamic countries, including forced marriage in childhood, female genital mutilation, body shaming, lack of education and the enforcements of impossible standards of 'honor' on women's bodies young and old. This movie will leave you wanting to do everything in your power to help liberate the women enduring unimaginable horrors, and you'll be so inspired by the nine role models who are working to fight injustice and the misrepresentation of Muslim women you just might become an activist yourself. 


Did you know that parts of the Syrian revolution are being orchestrated by a 23-year-old girl living in the Chicago suburbs? Neither did I. This courageous young woman uses her social media savvy as a means to connect Syrian rebels and protestors in order to create a bigger impact on the fight against the brutal Syrian government. With the protests and migrations escalating in Syria as we speak, this is the perfect time to check in with this film and put a face on the revolution. 


Okay, most of us realize that when we shop at H&M and Forever 21, it's probably not the best thing for workers in the garment industry. I mean, how can a pair of jeans really cost $7 when you factor in material, labor, transportation, taxation and retail price hikes? It turns out, those jeans, and everything we buy in the Fast Fashion industry, are leading to the premature deaths and dismemberment of countless workers in the garment industry worldwide. In this documentary we meet women and men who face horrifying working conditions on a daily basis, and it's not just people oceans away: fast fashion negatively affects workers (i.e., cotton farmers) right here in the United States. Luckily, this film offers alternatives for your shopping needs. After all, a feminine feminists is always going to want to dress her best, but now we can do so in an educated manner. 


Have you ever noticed a significant lack of female power-figures in the media? So did the writers and directors of this film. "Miss Representation" exposes how women are consistently underrepresented in our society, which results in a severe lack of inspirational role models for girls. After watching this movie, you won't be able to ignore this sad fact any longer, and will be inspired to help promote awareness of the hardworking women you know who deserve to be recognized. 


Hot Girls Wanted exposes the extremely brutal world of the amateur pornography industry. Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at how teenage girls are lured into the industry with promises of money and fame, but are then quickly discarded when the next 'it-girl' comes along. The movie will leave you reeling with how badly these girls are treated and how quickly they are disposed of. This film includes some explicit scenes, so I would caution screening this film to younger audiences during the holiday break. 

Many of these films cover difficult topics, but they all include inspiring stories of women who are determined to persevere and overcome the many and various obstacles facing their female relatives, neighbors, coworkers and friends. I'll be the first to admit that it can be extremely hard to view documentaries like these and to face the horrific reality of other women's lives. However, in keeping with the holiday spirit, these films will inevitably make you feel grateful for the opportunities you have been given and the privileges you enjoy - and they might even inspire you to make some changes in your daily life, such as buying a fair trade t-shirt the next time you need a new pajama top. With this newfound awareness, you may even help benefit the life of an unknown woman across the world. 


  1. i haven't watched a documentary in ages but i used to love them, definitely going to check these out!

    danielle | avec danielle

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