We’re back with our Equality Now Feminist Culture Club, bringing you a round up of recommendations from our staff and supporters of books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts that act as a megaphone for women’s rights. Want to read more? Head to our Feminist Culture Club archive.
“Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self,” Academy-Award-winning actor and activist Viola Davis tells readers in the first pages of her new memoir. “My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.”
The moving story of Davis’s life takes readers on a journey from her impoverished beginnings to the heights of Hollywood while giving readers an unflinching look at the struggles with sexual abuse, sexism, and racism that shaped her path.
Elif Shafak’s latest novel takes readers to 1974 Cyprus where two teenagers, Kostas and Defne, are caught up in a forbidden romance. The couple is aided by two men who own a tavern together, and who also know what it’s like to have to hide your love from everyone around you.
But none of them can predict the conflict and turmoil that’s about to change all of their lives when the Turkish Military invades the island nation that same year.
Iranian anthropologist Ziba Mir-Hosseini’s latest project highlights the work and arguments of leading Muslim reformists’ about gender and women’s rights, making them accessible to a wider general readership. Over the course of a decade, Mir-Hosseini interviews several scholars of Islam in varying settings and chronicles the struggles they encounter as reformists coming up against a more traditional academy. Each scholar interviewed by Mir-Hosseini addresses their intellectual journey, their opinions on gender justice and the issue of gender in Islam, their approaches to sharia and fiqh, and how their ideas and scholarship have evolved over time. It’s especially interesting to see the points where scholars differ and where their ideas complement each other, offering readers a rich array of perspectives.
Julián is a little boy in New York City with big dreams of becoming a mermaid and taking part in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. With the help of his Abuela, Julián is able to make his dream come true.
Called a “true celebration of uniqueness” and “joyous” by critics, Julián Is a Mermaid received the 2019 Stonewall Book Award and was awarded the 2018 Silver Medal by the Society of Illustrators. A wonderful choice for the children in your life!
Inspired by Nigerian folktales, Chinelo Okparanta’s 2015 Lambda Award-winning novel tells the story of Ijeolma, living in 1960s Nigeria amidst the country’s civil war. When her mother learns her daughter is romantically attracted to other women, Ijeoma is thrust into making a series of heart-wrenching decisions about her life and her future while living in a society that tells her who she is is “wrong.”
Over the course of her life, Ijeoma and readers are shown how discrimination and prejudice can force people to make impossible choices, but nevertheless find their way toward hope, truth, and real love.
When Shardul and Suman meet it seems like a classic boy-meets-girl scenario…but is it? To avoid the social and familiar pressures of marriage Shardul and Suman enter a marriage of convenience, hiding their true selves — and who they actually love — from their families. A massive hit in India since its release earlier this year, Baahai Do offers a hilarious and heartfelt look at relationships, acceptance, and the limitless ways to make a family.
Klondike tells the story of a Ukrainian family living in the Donbas region at the start of the 2014 war. Irka is a pregnant woman living in the Donbas in the aftermath of the shooting of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Despite the dangers, Irka refuses to evacuate her home, even as armed groups begin occupying the area.
Written and directed by Maryna Er Gorbach, the film came in second place at the Berlin International Film Festival and was the winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition for Directing at the Sundance Film Festival.
This 2011 documentary follows three inmates from Badam Bagh women’s prison in Kabul, Afghanistan, where half are jailed for “moral crimes” such as premarital sex, adultery, and running away from home.
Directed by Tanaz Eshaghian, the film follows the stories of the women, who range in age from teenagers to middle age, from their pretrial experiences to their sentencing and imprisonment.
Directed by Oscar-nominee Tia Lessin and Emmy-nominee Emma Pildes, The Janes tells the story of a group of seven Chicago women who came together to fight for bodily autonomy at a time when abortion was still a crime in much of the United States. In what’s been called “essential viewing about reproductive rights,” this new documentary uses never before seen archival materials to tell The Janes’s story and to warn of the dangers when the law interferes with women’s bodily autonomy.
If you haven’t seen the original hit Danish TV series, it’s the perfect time to dive right in. Everyone’s favorite Statsminister returns, with Sidse Babett Knudsen reprising her role as Birgitte Nyborg, Denmark’s now former first-female prime minister. Now serving her country as foreign minister under another female-led government, this Netflix-produced revival of the hit 2010 Danish political drama is still grappling with the barriers facing women in charge, whether it’s in the halls of government, the newsroom, or in their personal lives, following a familiar cast of characters along as they navigate — and stir up — political intrigue.
If you’re looking for a little drama, a little action, a little romance, a little mystery, and some truly incredible storylines, you’ve found the perfect binge-watch! Set in late 1920s Madrid, the hit Spanish-language Netflix series follows the lives of four female switchboard operators as the women grapple with and attempt to overcome the patriarchal barriers that surround their personal and professional ambitions.
The series, which ran from 2017-2020 looks at class, LGBTQ+ rights, and the political realities that intersect with the lives of its central characters as they grapple with the country’s uncertain future amidst a changing political landscape.
Kamala Khan is a 16-year-old Pakistani-American growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, with a special affinity for superheroes. Kamala struggles to fit in, but when she’s sent a mysterious golden bangle by a relative, she begins to discover superpowers she never dreamed of.
Iman Vellani stars as the title character in this newest offering from the Marvel Universe and makes history as the franchise’s first Muslim superhero.
This project from Tortoise Media shares voicemails and voice messages from people inside Ukraine amidst the Russian invasion. The callers, the vast majority of whom are women, share harrowing and heartbreaking dispatches from the frontlines of the conflict, Voicemails From Ukraine ran from February-May of this year and now stands as a unique audio archive of the impacts of the first months of the invasion and the ordinary who found their lives upended.
This popular episode of the hit podcast looks at the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City and how it became a turning point for and an inspiration to decades of activists. A must-listen for Pride, or anytime you’re wanting to take a deeper look into the history of the LGBTQ+ equality movement!
Do you have any suggestions for us to share next month? Do send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
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