Culture

These Are VICE's Best Documentaries About Issues Affecting Women

Ten powerful films which delve into what the world is like for women.

by VICE Staff and VICE On All 4
05 March 2020, 5:03pm

Women, obviously, are excellent – but being repressed for thousands of years means we haven't had as many opportunities as men to tell our stories of bravery, intellect, identity and power. Luckily for you, some of those stories are reflected in the VICE documentaries back catalogue.

Tune into HERSTORY, every Thursday this month on VICE on TV. We're celebrating inspirational, passionate and radical women from all around the world. Here's a taste of what's to come.

Ascending Afghanistan: Rising Women

On August 6, 2015, a team of 13 young Afghan women set out to make history as the first women in the country to summit the Afghan mountain peak of Mir Samir. The team embarked on a 16-day-long expedition against the advice of their elders in an attempt to change the country’s narrative as one of the most dangerous places for women in the world.

Watch the full documentary below.

Egg Freezing, Career Women & the Future of Fertility

In 2014, tech companies like Apple and Facebook added egg freezing to their healthcare packages. The procedure has since received a lot of media attention, often being touted as a reliable option for career-oriented women to delay parenthood. What was once strictly a medical procedure for women facing life-threatening illnesses has now become elective and mainstream, regarded by its proponents as an "insurance policy." As a result, new market has emerged, with third-party "egg brokers" and fertility clinics selling the incredibly expensive service to women using questionable marketing strategies and misleading statistics.

There's an emerging narrative that implies that parenthood and success are incompatible—but is that really true? Why are women so eager to freeze their eggs? In an effort to make sense of the convoluted and sometimes contradictory messaging around the procedure, Broadly meets with experts in the field, egg brokers, and patients whose road to parenthood may depend on birthing a child from their frozen eggs.

Watch the full documentary below.

Gurls Talk with Adwoa Aboah

Model, actress and cover star of i-D’s Female Gaze Issue Adwoa Aboah is on a mission to get girls across the world to open up about mental health, body image and sexuality through her project Gurls Talk. In our new three-part series, we travel with the young advocate to LA, to meet the city's strong and powerful women making a stand for change.

Watch the first part below.

Danica Roem: Virginia's First Openly Transgender Elected Official

Danica Roem made history on the 7th of November, 2017, becoming the first transgender person to be elected and seated to a state legislature. Roem's success in local politics has made a national impact in the US, setting the stage for other first-time candidates and transgender people to run for – and win – elections across the country. Watch our film following Roem in the final hours of her campaign below.

Watch the full documentary below.


Slutever

What would Sex and the City be like if it was about a sex-positive former dominatrix who doesn’t have shitty opinions about bisexual people, like Carrie Bradshaw? It would be SLUTEVER, the show about one woman’s mission to explore the kinkier side of gender and sexuality. In this documentary TV series, sex writer Karley Sciortino meets monster dildo makers, ecosexuals and blowjob bots to learn more about the fetishes that make us human. Because all we really want is to be accepted for the freaks we are, right? Season two is currently airing Mondays at 11PM.

Watch the full box set for free on All 4.


My Big Witchy Wedding

In Romania, witchcraft is not only alive, it’s thriving. There are hundreds of witches in the country, and they make and break marriages, cure diseases, cast or release people from good and evil spells, and predict the future. VICE journalist Milène Larsson first visited Mihaela Minca’s witch clan in 2016, but returned last year to witness the lavish wedding of Mihaela’s son Antonio to a young virgin witch named Beatrice.

Watch the full documentary below.


Ballet and Bullets

"Na Ponta dos Pes" (On Tiptoes) is a ballet project in the Alemão favela complex in Rio de Janeiro, created by 23-year-old former professional dancer Tuany Nascimento.

Her classes take place in one of the roughest parts of Alemão. The area is currently at the centre of a rolling feud between rival drug cartels and the military police, with many students in her ballet schools coming from families caught up in narco turf wars and urban poverty. Ballet and Bullets follows Tuany as she attempts to keep the ballet school open in the midst of increasing violence.

Watch the full documentary below.


Woman

At the intersection of violence and stability, progress and oppression, are women. In Zambia, child brides are forced to go through uncomfortable pre-wedding rituals that focus almost entirely on how to please men. In the US, sexual assault in the military affects women disproportionately. Gloria Steinem’s documentary series introduces us to the women who are fighting against systematic oppression daily, shaping not just their own futures, but ours too.

In her words: "By confronting the problems once marginalised as women’s issues, we can tackle the greatest dangers of the 21st century."

Watch the full box set for free on All 4.

Unfollow Me

When Alice Ruggles broke up with her boyfriend Trimaan Dhillon in 2016, he refused to accept her decision – and began stalking her. After his behaviour escalated, a frightened Ruggles called the police twice for assistance, but little was done. Just 12 days after her first call to police, Dhillon broke into her home, cornered her in her bathroom, and murdered her. Broadly met with the Ruggles family to learn about Alice's life, death, and the lessons we need to learn to keep victims of stalking and abuse safe.

Watch the full documentary below.

The Beauty Pageant Just for Girls with Disabilities

The Miss Arc Broward pageant, a competition for children and teens with special needs, isn't what you'd expect from a typical beauty pageant. These young women get the chance to perform onstage for hundreds of audience members, fighting any stereotypes that people might have about disabilities. Broadly followed Josie and Hannah Crank, teen sisters from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as they vied for the crown.

Watch the full documentary below.

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