12 Feminist Shows to Stream in 2017

Lately, I’ve been inspired to design a few feminist signs. 

nevertheless she persisted wood sign elizabeth warren sign

These signs have been inspired by:

  1. Our president, the leader of the patriarchy.
  2. Women who should be the president. (See the Elizabeth Warren reference, in wood sign format, above.)
  3. Men who work at home improvement stores who provide me (because I am female) with unsolicited advice for using saws.
  4. Lack of paid parental leave in America.
  5. Arrogant assholes. The man at the bank last week, for example. He was very rude.

I suppose that I was also “inspired” by a particularly bad trip to Home Depot a few weeks ago (which included a long lecture from a personally unsatisfied worker about how I should be using a circular saw to rip plywood) followed by a couple of glasses of chardonnay-flavored water and a long summer evening on the deck.

Yep. That’s exactly how I ended up with this design.

smash the patriarchy sign


I will also say that I have also been inspired, in no small part (as I seem to be watching A LOT of television these days), by my entertainment choices. In fact, I am absolutely LOVING all of the programming options featuring strong independent females these days.

The list of feminist shows is in order of my personal favorites. 

1. I Love Dick (Amazon)

feminist shows

If you’d like to add some hardcore and thoughtful feminist programming to your daily life, I’d invite you to join me in my third (and probably not final) viewing of “I Love Dick.” It is based on a 1997 feminist novel by Chris Kraus.  I imagine that “I Love Dick” is for a particular audience. My husband, for example, REALLY hated it.

I would really like to discuss this show with someone. Mostly because it is not yet fully processed in my own mind. So maybe watch it and then talk to me. Please? 

2. The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Why aren’t you watching this? Is it because the red cape and white hat worn by Elisabeth Moss on the Hulu preview make you think it is a period drama about the ladies of Colonial America? (Can I tell you how disappointed I was that this was not the case?)

Upon viewing this well-advertised Hulu program, I discovered that it is based on a well-known dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. While this was a new fact for me, it seems that everyone in America already knew this. Sometimes I wonder how I became an English teacher. Regardless, this show (and book, which I am now reading) is a series that should most definitely be on your watch/read list. Those handmaids are some bad ass ladies. Rock on, fertile women of Gilead.

3. Good Girls Revolt (Amazon)

I watched this show reluctantly as I thought nothing could top “Mad Men” in the period workplace drama genre. I was pleasantly surprised! It was much less Don Draper screws the world, much more coming together as intellectual women to fight the hardcore misogynist giants of the magazine industry. The show is based on the true story of the female researchers who sued Newsweek. Though cancelled,  I highly recommend!

4. One Mississippi (Amazon)

This semi-autobiographical series based on comedian Tig Novaro’s life, is both sad and hilarious. I suppose that is why the call it a dark comedy. However it is categorized, I enjoyed it immensely. It’s not so much feminist as it is smart, honest, and subtle.  I watched it in two days, and it took that long because I was trying to make it last.

5. Transparent (Amazon)

I have watched every episode. They do just automatically play after all. And in my expert analysis, this show is trying too hard. I understand that it is supposed to profoundly poignant or whatever, but I don’t buy into the mess that is every single character’s life on this show. Nobody has their shit together. Not one of them. And everybody who comes into contact with the family seems to be permanently scarred from the experience. Especially that poor Rabbi. I know that this is in fact, the point of the show, so I suppose I should appreciate the deeper meaning. 

What I will say is that my cynical attitude did not stop me from loving this show. There’s a reason it’s a bandwagon, my friends. Jump on.

6. Anne with an “E” (Netflix)

I probably read Anne of Green Gables in 1994. I was obsessed with it, and I have never forgotten my love for Anne, my personal heroine of children’s literature.

This Netflix adaptation has faced quite a bit of criticism for being way too dark, and you might be surprised to find this on my list. As I find “light and breezy” so boring, I appreciate the effort this show takes to dig in realistically to Anne’s past. Issues such as child labor and abuse, for example, are in reality, dark topics. I think the show’s perspective only adds to depth to Anne’s character.

Maybe it’s not something you want to watch with your young children, but let’s face it, your kids don’t care about your nostalgia anyhow. Have them read the books instead.

7. Mildred Pierce (Amazon)

This is an HBO mini-series that feels as dark as a story about a depression-era, pie-making divorcee can possibly feel. Which to say, is pretty damn dark. Mildred (Kate Winslet) is extraordinarily progressive for the time period. Combine that with her entrepreneurial spirit, and you have a strong (if not almost unbelievable) protagonist.

What I will say is that I didn’t even realize the original novel was written by a man until the last episode, in which shit falls apart, and Mildred once again becomes the depression-era subservient wife she is supposed to be.

8.Grace and Frankie (Netflix)

I do love Grace and Frankie.  I appreciate their attitude toward life, and I laugh at their mishaps. They approach feminism in a way that hasn’t before been done. Honestly, it’s a little flaky, but that is what it is supposed to be.  After all, it is a comedy about two women who start a vibrator company. 

9. Harlots (Hulu)

You would think this would be a show that truly embraces feminism. Ehhh. Maybe.  Essentially, it is a soap opera about prostitutes in 1700s London. Kind of niche, somewhat dramatic, very entertaining. I won’t deny them their powerful women, but that’s not all that makes a show feminist.

10. Call the Midwife (Netflix)


It is 1958…you live in the East End of London. Life is hard,  but you know who you can count on. The nuns! And the midwives! Also the nuns who are also midwives! Thank you, BBC for making a show that is both empowering and entertaining. 

11. Glow (Netflix)

Ok, you got me Netflix. You wouldn’t think that a TV Drama about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling would be particularly inspiring, and in many ways, it wasn’t. It was a show that was entertaining and did embody the female spirit (when you allow for the time period in which it took place). But even set in the 80s, I think Netflix could have gone deeper. If Amazon likes to dig right in with shows like “I Love Dick” and “Transparent,” Netflix seems to only scratch the surface. I kept waiting for more. Something a little bit more subtle…less mainstream.

Nevertheless, it is loosely based on real events, and if anything, it was something that both Tom and I enjoyed.

12. Juana Inés (Netflix)

Ok, so this one is tough. Juana Inés was a real person- a nun and a real intellectual bad ass. If you were to look up to anyone in 17th century Mexico, it would be this bitch. It’s one of the better Netflix productions on this list. Even with all of this going for it, I still have not finished Juana Inés. I am on the last of the 7 episodes, which I have started 3 times already. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to keep up.

So what are your favorite feminist shows? I’d love to know.

And now it is time for you to check out these signs…



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