17 February, 2017

FILMS to help you understand and combat sexism and sexist hate speech

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Category: Equal rights, gender equality, News on the action day, sexism, sexist hate speech, Uncategorized
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Please find below some films that were collected and recommended by the online activists of the No Hate Speech Movement and that help understand and combat sexism and sexist hate speech, and can also be used as a basis for discussions with a group of young people on the 8th March or any time of the year in or out of school context.

Title (with link to trailer), year and director Theme and our recommendation Poster of the film
Boys Don’t Cry

1999 English, Kimberly Peirce

Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.

The movie can be a good basis for an interesting debate regarding gender roles and stereotypes but also the situation and the rights of transgender people. It contains multiple references on gender stereotyping, it’s explicit on gender discrimination (plenty of insults based judging someone as not masculine enough or statements that women don’t have the right to intervene certain situations). A parallel could possibly be drawn with the backwardness of the characters on the topic of individual freedoms and the failure of their society and personal decay. The movie promotes tolerance as a progressive element using the reverse example. It also touches upon another level of gender issues as it deals with transgender case. The main character – Brandon Teena is biologically a girl that feels and identifies as a boy. The traditional mind set of his surrounding doesn’t allow any space for him outside of the dichotomy male-female. A choice that happened to be different from the binding framework leads to a fatal outcome for Brandon. The storyline can produce a debate on gender roles as social constructions that can deprive us from the right of personal freedoms and limit individual expressions. The traditional gender roles can be questioned and challenged using the example of Lana’s reaction to Brandon’s identity – she sticks to refusing to judge or categorize him according to a strict concept of sex and accepts and loves him for the individual he is.

Bend It Like Beckham

2002 English

Gurinder Chadha

The daughter of orthodox Sikh rebels against her parents’ traditionalism and joins a football team.

The movie questions the traditional gender roles and challenges gender expectations in a humour fashion. It plays along with cultural and gender clichés daring the viewer to rethink some conservative elements of how we see the role of the men and women in the society and the activities, jobs or behavior in general considered as “appropriate” for each gender. The two main characters – young girls from England are very talented and passionate about playing football. They have to take a stand against their respective families who argue that football is not a “girl thing” and will be an obstacle for their future success in society (which in this case refers mainly to finding a husband and getting married). The girls go through many difficulties but the film concludes defending the message that making free choices, regardless the limitations of the patriarchal gender framework, is the right of each individual and should be freely exercised. “Bend it like Beckham” can be debated on in the lines of gender stereotypes and sexism in daily life and the way they can hamper our development and restrain our potential.

The Color Purple

1985 English

Steven Spielberg

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Throughout The Color Purple, Walker portrays female friendships as a means for women to summon the courage to tell stories. In turn, these stories allow women to resist oppression and dominance. Relationships among women form a refuge, providing reciprocal love in a world filled with male violence. Some of the topics that can be discussed through this are the different types of feminism, for example, Liberal feminism through Celie’s response to sexual harassment, radical feminism through the abolition of patriarchy, the African-American feminism. African-American feminism and the idea of “the personal is political”. Additional topics that can be discussed or debated is the analogy of the collective fight of women against men’s oppression as it appears to be interesting to develop as well as the collective fight against racial harassment. The Color Purple demonstrates that the group’s experience of fighting against racial oppression empowered black women to fight the oppression they were subjected to by men through the collective understanding and solidarity.

The Help

2011 English

Tate Taylor

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

The Help concentrates on the struggles experienced in the 1960s by the African-American women making up the help as well as women like Skeeter, who struggled to be accepted as a career-driven woman in a male dominated — and predominantly sexist — society. This is one of the topics that can be explored in a cine debate as it is something that women in parts of the world still struggle with and it is something that can still be applied to equality at the workplace today. Additionally, the poignancy within the film lies in the voices and stories of the help — stories that were relegated to a state of silence by so many during that time. One of the topics that could be discussed here is the gender and economic discrimination African Americans faced in the 60s and question why certain job roles are considered feminine and not others.


2015 Turkish, English

Deniz Gamze Ergüven

The film is set in a remote Turkish village and depicts the lives of five young orphaned sisters and challenges they face growing up as girls in a conservative society.

The film reflects both reality and stereotypes in a shot which are related to a society with very conservative traditions and obligations. The action-reaction attitude of the 5 sisters and the solidarity they kept each others is a sign of wish for progress in mind set, overcoming all kind of violence and potential risks for freedom of choice (from emotional to physical impact). It shows people a lot, and it denounces at the same time hard circumstances enforcing on young girls who freedom is taken off and vetoed.

 She’s The Man

2006 English

Andy Fickman

 When her brother decides to ditch for a couple weeks in London, Viola heads over to his elite boarding school, disguises herself as him, and proceeds to fall for one of her soccer teammates.

Although at first it seems as it is only a romantic teen comedy, this movie is certainly beyond that. Viola is a girl that loves to play soccer, but she is mocked because of it, her mother is constantly trying to make her a “proper lady”, her boyfriends also doesn’t believe in her and is making fun of her dreams, dismaying them as not important. But Viola is truly a unique character, fighting for what is right, standing up for what she believes in regardless of the gender roles that everyone tries to impose on her. When she disguises as her twin brother, she proves to everyone, that a girl can play soccer just as good as a boy. This movie speaks to younger girls, and the moral of the story is that everyone should be judged by their ability, not by their gender. It also shows the double standards and expectations of the society towards young girl and it gives a powerful message to fight and stand up for your dreams! Also Viola is very outspoken, so she always has the proper clap back to every sexist remark.




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