Publication date December 21, 2023

Top 5 Feminist Movies You Haven't Seen (But Should!)

We all know who is running the world, women right? Luckily there are so many movies about women that inspire, educate as well motivate us to take a stand for ourselves and do what our hearts say. I know International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 annually, but as of now in a world where women's rights continue to be challenged, it’s especially important to stay inspired and celebrate the stories of women day in and day out.

We all know who is running the world, women right? Luckily there are so many movies about women that inspire, educate as well motivate us to take a stand for ourselves and do what our hearts say. I know International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 annually, but as of now in a world where women's rights continue to be challenged, it’s especially important to stay inspired and celebrate the stories of women day in and day out.

From historical pieces to romantic comedies and animated classics, there are so many feminist movies about women's rights made by independent women that you can’t skip. Recent feminist movies are mostly based on fiction but feature strong female leads and spotlight crucial narratives involving family, friendship, and finding your voice.

Are you ready to feel empowered? Here, we have a list of feminist movies that are some of the best movies. While this collection doesn’t include all movies about feminism, you might even think that it's quite short but we hope that you let this be a must-watch list to get started with.

But, let’s first understand how feminism is reshaping modern movies and why one should embrace it!

How Feminism Redefines the Film Industry 

In the last few years, feminism has been making its mark in modern movies by transforming media narratives. Women, both on screen and behind the camera are challenging stereotypes, pushing boundaries, and fighting for gender equality through their creative work. Below are a few points that will tell you the impact of feminism on pop culture in the context of modern movies and why you should pay special attention to this transformation. 

No More Clichéd Female Characters

When it comes to how feminism is changing the movie industry, one of the most significant ways feminism is influencing the field is by emphasizing the importance of diverse and authentic representation. Instead of showing women as content with one-dimensional, clichéd female characters, they’re demanding representation that reflects the complexity and diversity of real women's experiences.

Strong & Independent Female Leads

Today, the era of passive, helpless female characters is fading away with modern cinema. With feminism, the emergence of strong, independent women in films has become possible. And now these female characters are inspiring viewers and challenging traditional gender roles. 

Dismantling Stereotypes

Feminist stories in modern movies are also breaking free from stereotypes. It is challenging conventional beauty standards, redefining the concept of “likable” female characters, and addressing many critical issues like ageism and body positivity. 

Breaking the Silence

There have been many issues in the past that movies were not capturing, but feminist pop culture in modern movies is not afraid to tackle taboo subjects, such as sexual harassment, reproductive rights, and domestic violence. By addressing these issues, the film industry is contributing to social awareness and change. 

Top 5 Feminist Movies 

1. On the Basis of Sex, 2018

On the Basis of Sex, 2018

Source: Amazon Prime

When we talk about the best women empowerment movies, the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex is one of them. The movie features Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is one of the biggest faces of feminism. Her work on gender equality is incredible and everyone should know her story. “On the Basis of Sex” follows the late Supreme Court Justice through the landmark case that would set a precedent for sex discrimination, confirming Ginsburg’s place as one of most empowering gender rights lawyers of her generation. 

The movie, though largely gone unrecognized throughout awards season, “On the Basis of Sex” is arguably one of the most influential cinematic attempts at understanding the issue of gender disparity in the United States in years.

2. The First Wives Club (1996)

The First Wives Club

Source: IMDb

The First Wives Club is another one of the top feminist movies. The film directed by Hugh Wilson, is based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Olivia Goldsmith. The film stars Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton as three divorcées who seek revenge on their manipulative ex-husbands for having left them for younger women. The movie ultimately gives many valuable insights into female empowerment and how to deal with divorce. 

3. Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures

Source: Amazon

How can anyone miss “Hidden Figures”? One of the greatest women empowerment movies. If I say “Inspiring,” you may point out that it is one of the most overused words in existence, but it’s hard to describe this movie without using this word. Hidden Figures is a biographical drama about three black mathematicians at NASA. 

The fact that many of us had never heard this story before the film’s release is a true testament to how often women are sidelined in our history books. The movie highlights the struggles that Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary face in a world where inequality is the norm. But, through their continued achievements and refusal to give up on their goal, the three women prove that integrity and teamwork can triumph.

4. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Source: Amazon

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins stars Gal Gadot as the namesake DC Comics superhero who fights against injustice with strength, courage, and her golden Lasso of Truth. The movie was a box office success that scored more than $100 million on only opening weekend. A record for a female-led film, it absolutely positions Wonder Woman as the antidote to the toxic masculinity her original creator imagined her to be. If you love watching superhero-based movies and also looking for some inspiration, Wonder Woman is perfect for you. 

5. Frida, 2002


Source: IMDb

One of the most memorable feminist movies of all time, Salma Hayek plays revolutionary artist Frida Kahlo in this unforgettable biopic. The film directed by Julie Taymor depicts the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The movie shares the bold and equally tragic life of the Mexican artist, touching on her tumultuous relationship with her mentor-turned-husband, Diego Rivera, her illicit affairs, ongoing health complications, and the passion she had for her art. Frida won two Academy Awards for Best Makeup and Best Original Score among six nominations.

So there you have it, our top 5 feminist movies, and hopefully, you will enjoy watching these movies and feel empowered. Is there any you want to add to this list? Comment down below

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. How did the feminist movement impact popular culture?

The feminist movement especially the second wave in the 1960s and 1970s had a significant impact on popular culture, challenging and reshaping traditional gender norms. Through film, literature, music, television, and fashion, it promotes a more diverse and empowered portrayal of women, which continues to influence popular culture today. 

Q. Is feminism a film genre?

No, Feminism isn’t a film genre in the same way as comedy, horror,  and sci-fi. Feminism is a socio-political and cultural movement for women’s rights and gender equality. However, feminism indeed has a significant influence on the film industry. These movies often reflect women’s experiences and opinions in an empowering way, challenging society’s standards and preconceptions in the process. 

Q. What is the female gaze vs the male gaze?

Both phrases “male gaze” and “female gaze” are critical aspects of film theory, analyzing how gender biases impact our viewing experience. The male gaze was introduced by Laura Mulvey, it explains a perspective prioritizing the objectification and sexualization of female characters for a presumed heterosexual male viewer. It often includes formatting clothing, neutral tones, short skirts or dresses, and minimal prints. On the other hand, the frame gaze challenges the male gaze by describing a perspective that prioritizes the female experience and resists objectification.

Q. What makes a film feminist?

A feminist film is one with an agenda, a political work intended to spark thought and conversation about women's social status and the female experience. It uses the female gaze and explores notions of femininity, sexuality, and feminist theory.

Q. What is feminist film theory? 

Feminist Film Theory is a theory that talks about women’s participation and roles in almost every field in the community and society in general. Also, it examines how films portray women, gender roles, and power dynamics. Today, in this modern world, women are not limited to one single field of expertise. In every industry, the presence of women is extensively felt. May it be in politics, Science, Literature, Arts, Sports, Politics, and even Films.

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