Maybe last month’s #YesAllWomen hashtag inspired you to check out some films with strong women getting stuff done. Or it left you so fed up with the battles for women’s rights that are still being fought that you need to remember some wins. Or you need to sit your little cousin down, after she mentioned at the family picnic that she’s totally not a feminist, and show her a few flicks to remind her why she needs to be.
Whatever your feminist film needs may be, here are some classics and some surprises.
Iron Jawed Angels
If the only suffragette you’re familiar with is Mrs. Banks, the story of these incredibly tough women fighting for their right for a voice in American politics might seem shocking. They dealt with physical attacks from men disgusted with their demands, imprisonment and even force feedings. You’re guaranteed to feel super guilty for any election day you ever skipped.
10 Things I Hate About You
An important movie for every girl who thinks being a feminist means hating men. 10 Things I Hate About You shows that even a Sylvia-Plath-reading, Riot-Grrl-loving, soon-to-be Sarah-Lawrence undergrad can fall in true and equal love, because being a feminist means wanting women to be equal to men, not waging a war against them.
The perfect flick for when you need to get your feminist indignity on, North Country tells the real-life case of a group of women in the 1980s fighting for the right to go to work without being sexually harassed.
Mona Lisa Smile
The story of a women’s college in the 1950s has an important message that even the film’s resident feminist (played by Julia Roberts) doesn’t quite get: Women have just as much of a right to pursue a career as a man does, but they also have the right to put their career on hold to raise a family. Feminism is about the right to that choice.
While Jo is the feminist queen of the March family, all of the sisters are strong ladies who go after what they want and support each other.
The true story of a single mother turned badass law clerk, this movie is as much about knocking down female stereotypes as it is about fighting corporate greed. Other themes: You should never underestimate someone because of how they dress or what they look like. Watch it and be empowered.