2017 is arguably becoming a difficult year to be a person who identifies as a feminist. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to entertainment. Whether you’re looking for a video game to play, a book to read or a movie to see, you’re in luck – there are multiple feminist entries in every single category this year.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here’s a quick list to get you started.
2017 has been an interesting year so far for feminist movies. The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, while controversial, was certainly worth seeing if you’d like to decide for yourself whether or not Emma Watson’s role speaks to your feminist side.
On the other hand, the indie film Raw, which wraps a young woman’s coming-of-age story neatly into the unique plot of a vegetarian slowly becoming a cannibal, is another one that’s certainly worth checking out.
Of course, we can’t talk about feminist movies without at least mentioning Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman not only features a female protagonist — it was directed by a woman as well. Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Godot did a phenomenal job bringing this feminist icon to life. However, some have criticized it as not having enough female characters surrounding the main heroine. You’ll have to check it out in order to decide for yourself how you feel about it.
Regardless of where you stand on that issue, it is undeniable that the movie has left many women wanting more. Not necessarily more Wonder Woman films, though that would be amazing — just more female-led superhero movies so the little girls of this generation aren’t left searching for a strong heroine to look up to.
If you’re an avid reader and prefer feminist literature, 2017 is definitely your year. Here’s a starter list of books to check out this year:
- Difficult Women by Roxane Gay — January brought us Difficult Women, a short story collection about women from all walks of life. You’ll travel everywhere from strip clubs to wealthy homes, and get a taste of how women live in America.
- Why I Am Not a Feminist — a Feminist Manifesto by Jessa Crispin — this might sound like the opposite of a feminist book, but bear with us. The book points out the flaws in the feminist movement while reinforcing its core belief.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — this isn’t just a feminist story, but one that also focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement. The main character, Starr, is the only witness to a police shooting that resulted in the death of her best friend. The story, while poignant for today’s times, is also the story of a young girl growing up and learning that her decisions affect more than herself.
- Divided We Stand by Marjorie J. Spruill — for the nonfiction fans, Divided We Stand is the history of feminism and the conflict between liberal and conservative members of the movement that dates back to the 1977 National Women’s Conference. Spruill is a women’s history expert, making her the perfect woman to write about this subject.
All of these books were released in the first quarter of 2017. There are sure to be more, so keep your eyes and ears open. Time to fill up your reading list!
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably reading this on your phone, or your favourite mobile device is somewhere within arm’s reach. There are a fantastic number of feminist apps on the market today, both free and paid, that deserve a mention.
Have you ever felt like your contributions aren’t being heard, maybe because men talk more than women in business meetings? Or have you been accused of being too chatty simply because of your gender? If this is the case and you want to have some fun poking holes in others’ logic, consider downloading Gender Timer for your phone. It’s free, and available on both iPhone and Android devices.
The app records the number of men and women speaking in a given scene. When it’s over, the app provides a percentage for the amount of time each gender spoke. It could work for business meetings or just to make a point about your favorite show.
There are news apps available for pretty much every topic you could ever want to read about, but what sets The Aspire News apart is the fact that it’s not just a news app — it’s a resource for women suffering from domestic abuse.
Created by Robin McGraw, the wife of Dr. Phil, this app looks like any other news app on your phone. In the help section of the app, though, there are resources for domestic abuse survivors and a tool that allows the user’s emergency contacts to be notified — all the user has to do is tap their screen 3 times.
Finding female friends can be tricky — adulthood has turned out to be a lot like high school with the gossip and the cliques that always tend to form. That’s where VINA comes in. It’s a social networking app for and by women. It’s not a dating app — it’s for making friends either in your area or globally.
VINA was created to provide a platform where women can come together, support each other and be free of the judgment (and perhaps also the unsolicited, lewd pics) that normally accompany dating apps. Currently it’s only available for iOS, but they’re working on an Android app which should be released soon.
Video games aren’t where you normally turn for feminist media — in fact, I wrote a piece recently here on how awash they are with scantily-clad women that are often killed simply for the sake of the plot. Recently, though, more and more games are emerging that are being considered feminist or at least feminism-adjacent.
The Last of Us tells the story of Ellie and Joel, two survivors of a fungal-zombie apocalypse, as they struggle to make their way across the country to the West Coast. Instead of relying on the hyper-sexualized video game characters that tend to constantly pop up in this medium, it presents the female protagonist, Ellie, as a competent character who is able to take care of herself.
Of course, this is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to feminist characters — this type of character should be the norm, but is just starting to show up in modern video games. Progress?
Life is Strange, a video game about a character named Maxine Caulfield, almost didn’t make the list because video game studios were refusing to pick up the game unless the main character was changed to a male character. The creators refused and luckily hooked up with Square Enix who was happy to back a game with a female main character — many of their previous games had powerful female protagonists, so this isn’t out of character for them.
Maxine (who goes by Max) is a photographer who finds out that she has the ability to rewind time, so she uses it to investigate the disappearance of one of her friends. The superpower is neat, but it’s really just a tool for character development — and this game is all about the characters.
While it has been argued that this game contains a lot of negative tropes and internalised misogyny, it’s still being hailed as one of the most feminist games in recent years — with some gamers going so far as to call it ‘extremist feminist propaganda.’ Try playing it yourself and let us know what you think in the comments!
Media is finally evolving, and while sex still sells and we’ll probably be seeing scantily-clad video game characters and male-dominated Hollywood blockbusters for some time yet, what we’re seeing here are the first baby steps in the right direction.
Fellow feminists, keep making your voices heard and supporting the outlets that drive change. It may seem like an uphill battle, but it’s worth the work to get the representation that we deserve. And in the meantime, enjoy exploring some of my entertainment recommendations this year!