At college, it feels like everyone is always in the middle of some great Netflix movie or series. It’s a surefire form of entertainment and it’s actually a very good way to get to know people; you can learn a lot about someone just from what they’ve been watching on Netflix. I personally have spent a LOT of time procrastinating by watching Netflix and I’m always ready to tell people about my favorites. Many of my favorites have strong female actors or plots surrounding feminist issues, which Netflix is amazing for because there are so many different choices. If you’re tired of male-dominated plot-lines and want to see some intense, amazing female characters who are also real and relatable, check out these shows and movies! I promise they will not disappoint. There are so many great choices, and these are just a few highlights.
How to Get Away with Murder
This is a drama series about a group of law students and their professor, who is played by the AMAZING Viola Davis. The strength and presence with which she carries the lead role is in itself something to watch, but she is supported by a plot that makes it impossible to stop watching! If you want to watch a captivating and inspiring female performance and are also willing to binge watch for hours, I really recommend this show.
Parks and Recreation
Amy Poehler at her finest. If you haven’t heard of Parks and Rec before, it’s a comedy that’s pretty much guaranteed to make you actually laugh out loud. With lighthearted realism about women and government, this show brings light to bureaucracy and sexism with a fantastic cast, cutting sarcasm and endlessly entertaining irony.
If you liked Orange is the New Black, you’ll probably like this show too. It’s another drama about a women’s prison, and it focuses heavily on women’s relationships to each other, but this one is set in Australia and is in many ways more gritty and violent than OITNB. It is a dark and serious show, but the characters are seriously captivating and are wonderfully written and performed.
Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon is a mess and it’s awesome. She’s awkward and bossy and stressed out, far from the typical leading lady ingenue, yet very real and totally funny. Along with Jane Krakowski, these two women dominate the show, and are totally refreshing in their performances of how people truly are, despite the front they put on.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Another show written by Tina Fey, this one is amazing because the lead, Kimmy, is ceaselessly optimistic despite terrible circumstances. As an ex-captive of a doomsday cult leader, Kimmy finally makes it out to the real world and is figuring everything out, which sounds like it would be a serious struggle but it is portrayed with a lot of idealism and a positively balanced perspective. This makes the show more than just watchable; it’s one of the best things on Netflix, and there’s only one season right now so it doesn’t take long to get through.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
(especially if you like Jazz or Documentaries)
This is a documentary about the incredible Jazz singer Nina Simone, who was a powerful feminist and civil right activist. An especially strong voice in black feminism, I was originally inspired to watch this because of her musical talent but was left with much more to think about. A thoughtful but entertaining work of art that I loved watching!
A childhood staple and arguably one of the most feminist of Disney films! Mulan single-handedly saves China and she requires no rescuing by a prince. If you’ve never seen it, you should probably drop everything else right now, and if you have, it never gets old anyway.
A dark drama/comedy that follows the story of a transgender woman in LA who is a sex worker and discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. This critically acclaimed movie was actually shot with an iPhone and portrays its female leads as real people first, not just as Trans or as prostitutes. Although there are some very intense moments that might not make this the most sugar-coated film, it is still a comedy and there are many very funny moments, and the lead is a determined, charismatic woman that you can’t help but feel invested in.