The Must-Watch Feminist TV Shows To Empower And Inspire You
Lifestyle9 Minutes Read

The Must-Watch Feminist TV Shows To Empower And Inspire You

April 9, 2022 Share

Let TV inspire you. Listed in no particular order, here’s our edit of the best feminist TV shows and where to stream them now.

We can educate ourselves and others about the historical and current experience of women by reading feminist books and literature, decorating our houses in honour of trailblazing women, and continuing to have conversations about advancing the rights of women across the world. Another way to communicate, learn, and enlighten people about feminism and feminist concerns in today’s world is through TV Shows.

So, we examined some of the TV Shows. And the streaming service inventory of comedies, dramas, cartoons, and documentaries for when you need an injection of female empowerment in your life, whether it’s an uplifting narrative of female friendship or a strong story of women trailblazers who fought against the patriarchy.

Listed in no particular order, here’s our edit of the best feminist TV shows and where to stream them now…

I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel‘s I May Destroy You was one of the bravest TV series we’ve seen in recent years, and nothing has really come close since it initially aired in 2020. The story follows Arabella as she tries to recall what happened on a night out with her friends. Our protagonist begins to put together what occurred over the course of 12 episodes, revealing darkness in herself, those around her, and the wider world.

Accurately portraying the trauma of sexual assault while serving as education to viewers on the narrative surrounding rape, Coel’s masterclass in writing also tackled period sex and white privilege (especially between women), before culminating with a powerful ending centred around the sexual assault survivor, not the perpetrator.

How many seasons? 1
Where can I watch it? BBC iPlayer

High Fidelity

High Fidelity

You might have seen Zoe Kravitz in Batman recently, but have you seen her in High Fidelity, the TV show remake of the 2000 film and adaption of the 1995 novel?  The show, which was regrettably cancelled after just one season, follows a freshly single and devastated woman in her thirties who is trying to figure out what path she should pursue in life.

Does this sound familiar? Well, before you turn off (both mentally and literally), this isn’t a clichéd story about her hunt for love; instead, it’s about peeling back the layers of the main character, Rob, and realising that things – and even our own inner workings – aren’t always as they appear.

How many seasons? 1
Where can I watch it? Disney+

Black-ish

Black-ish

If you’re a fan of Black-ish, you’re probably already aware of the heartbreaking news that the critically acclaimed series will be ending after this eighth and final season (somebody pass us the tissues). However, if you’re new to the sitcom, the good news is that you have eight seasons to watch.

Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, and Caila Marsai Martin have all played memorable female roles in the Johnson family, and the show has received critical acclaim for addressing social justice issues head on while also providing an educational experience on subjects like police brutality and the significance of Juneteenth.

How many seasons? 8
Where can I watch it? Disney+

Shrill

Shrill

Shrill is based on author Lindy West’s memoirs and stars Aidy Bryant of Saturday Night Live as Annie, an aspiring writer from Portland who is juggling her career, her relationship with her body, dating, useless boyfriends, and maintaining a close relationship with her parents.

The show is honest, tragic, and sadly, refreshing to see a plus-size woman as the protagonist in a TV series. Think: sexist internet trolls, inspiring body diverse and inclusive pool parties, and a woman’s discovery that she is worth more than her male boss or partner would have her think.

How many seasons? 3
Where can I watch it? BBC iPlayer

Killing Eve

Killing Eve

Two women are at the head of one of the most successful shows in recent years. Sandra Oh plays Eve, a top-notch MI6 intelligence officer who is hell-bent on tracking down the enigmatic female assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Meanwhile, Comer gives her profoundly terrifying – but in some ways endearing? – character a much-needed infusion of humour, thrill, and depth.

It’s little surprise that this cat-and-mouse spy thriller was such a game changer, given that all three seasons had different female primary writers: Waller-Bridge, Emerald Fennel, and Suzanne Heathcote.

How many seasons? 4
Where can I watch it? BBC iPlayer

Catherine The Great

Catherine The Great

Helen Mirren‘s Catherine the Great is the feminist hero you didn’t realise you needed. Strong-willed, independent, intelligent, and sexually liberated, this four-part drama follows her power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century as one of the most powerful monarchs in history.

How many seasons? 1
Where can I watch it? Amazon Prime

Unbelievable

Unbelievable

Unbelievable is based on the actual tale of a teenager accused of lying about rape, the horrifying miscarriage of justice, and the female detectives who fought to ensure that the truth was heard.

How many seasons? 1
Where can I watch it? Netflix

Fleabag

Fleabag

Even today, it’s difficult to discover a female character in a TV show that completely owns her flaws, mistakes, and tragedies. Fleabag manages to achieve all of these things while also presenting a woman dealing with her life in a complex and hilarious way. This is perhaps the most accurate portrayal of life as a young British woman that we’ve seen, written by and starring the genius that is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. 

How many seasons? 2
Where can I watch it? BBC iPlayer

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale

Elisabeth Moss plays June, a woman robbed of her freedom and identity as she is forced to be the concubine of the leader of a new dictatorship that has taken over the USA. As June, now known as Offred, tries to escape her new existence, the show also shines a focus on the gender disparities that exist in our everyday lives.

As well as reinforcing and reminding us of the horrors of an erosion of women’s rights, uplifting moments during the series – like when the handmaids stand together and refuse to kill Janine – showed that women will stand together and fight even during the most devastating and dangerous of times.

How many seasons? 3
Where can I watch it? Apple TV/Hulu

Orange Is The New Black

OITNB_701_Unit_00564_R
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

Where else than OITNB can you hear so many different women’s stories? Race, class, and sexuality aren’t brushed aside or dismissed. And it’s all the better because of it. The ladies of Litchfield Penitentiary are shown as more than convicts, with complex backstories for all of the characters, and there’s a clever commentary on the US criminal justice system thrown in for good measure.

From Piper’s speech criticising the patriarchy for her “self-hatred,” to the actual issue of inmates’ access to tampons and sanitary towels (tampons and sanitary towels were only made free for UK inmates in 2019), the show sparked discussions about a woman’s place in society, equal rights, and respect.

How many seasons? 7
Where can I watch it? Netflix

Grace & Frankie

Grace & Frankie

One of the most beloved series on Netflix, Grace & Frankie is unrivalled in its commitment to onscreen depiction of women over the age of 70. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, two amazing actresses with over 40 years of experience between them, play the titular characters, who have their lives turned upside down after their respective husbands leave them (to start a gay relationship with each other).

The highs and lows of the women’s friendship, as well as the highs and lows of their search for a new life post-marriage (including work and love), are so well shown that it may make you laugh and cry in under 20 minutes. The women are also treated like women, full stop—ageism gets checked at the door.

How many seasons: 6
Where can I watch it? Netflix

GLOW

GLOW

GLOW totally defies wrestling’s gender stereotypes, presenting a menagerie of female wrestlers that are both mentally and physically strong. While they may be rivals in the ring, these girls support and love one another as a family, not just coworkers, once the fight is over. Whether it’s directing, producing, or choreographing their acts, they all come into their own.

How many seasons: 3
Where can I watch it? Netflix

Godless

Godless

This Netflix original series slipped under the radar, but it’s feminist TV at its finest, as a group of widowed women seek to defend their town from bandits after a coal mining accident. Michelle Dockery co-stars with Merrit Weaver and Jack O’Connell.

How many seasons? 1
Where can I watch it? Netflix

Sex Education

Sex Education

Sex Education has been praised for its open and honest representation of sex and sexuality since it debuted on Netflix with particularly high viewing numbers.

Laurie Nunn has also produced a slew of fascinating, bold, and multi-layered female characters. The TV show is filled with iconic women, from Gillian Anderson‘s sex therapist mother Jean to Emma Mackey‘s complicated and assertive Maeve to Patricia Allison‘s self-assured Ola.

One of the most poignant celebrations of the variety of female characters came at the end of season two when, after being sexually assaulted on a bus, a shaken Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood) is supported by female students from school who are all from different cliques but bond over their shared experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

How many seasons? 3
Where can I watch it? Netflix


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