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Culture Education: Documentaries

Culture Education: Documentaries

Those of us who have Netflix accounts know that there’s nothing better than streaming films on a lazy summer day. While I usually exclusively watch movies and television shows, I recently decided to try something new: watching a documentary. This spur-of-the-moment choice turned out to be a great one, as after each documentary film ended, I felt a deeper understanding of various issues, which are featured in the movies below, seep into me. While the documentary filmmakers who use this medium to uncover social and political injustices may not always make you laugh, they sure will make you think.

1. It’s a Girl

This grave look at "gendercide" in India and China demonstrates the devaluation of girls and the extent to which it has led to violence toward women and infanticide. This documentary is shocking in its focus on cultural traditions surrounding this practice.

2. The Invisible War

While fighting a war is horrifying in itself, many women in the U.S. military encounter cruelty from their comrades. The Invisible War is a shocking vision of the emotional stories of victims, and it provides startling statistics along the way.

3. Girl Model

This film depicts a conflicted American scout, who is an ex-model, recruiting Russian girls to work as models in Japan. Girl Model shines a searing spotlight on an industry that exploits young girls by, at times, sexually harassing them or tricking them into working for free.

4. Miss Representation

This film may be one of the most relevant to young women of this day and age, as the media surrounding us is often more damaging to our self-esteem than encouraging us to be ambitious. Miss Representation explores how the mainstream media's often disparaging portrayals of women contribute to the under-representation of females in positions of leadership.

5. The World Before Her

This film features the stories of two young Indian women, one who competes in beauty pageants, and one who is a Hindu fundamentalist and opposes such displays of Western culture. Their lives may be antithetical, but they share a common goal: to help shape the future of India and find their place as females in a country whose culture is rapidly evolving. 


Lizzie is a junior in high school who resides in the suburbs of NYC. She is an editor of her school newspaper, the publicist for Script to Screen club, and a dedicated member of H.E.L.P. Animals club. Outside of school, Lizzie enjoys blogging, creative writing, reading novels, and perusing through fashion magazines and coffee table books. Aspiring to live in a big city one day, she hopes to combine her passions for fashion, the arts, and female empowerment, into a career.


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