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Feminists: What Were They Thinking? (2018)

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In 1977, a book of photographs captured an awakening - women shedding the cultural restrictions of their childhoods and embracing their full humanity. Feminists: What Were They Thinking? ... See full summary »


Johanna Demetrakas





Credited cast:
Laurie Anderson ... Herself
Phyllis Chesler Phyllis Chesler ... Herself
Judy Chicago ... Herself
Funmilola Fagbamila Funmilola Fagbamila ... Herself
Jane Fonda ... Herself
Sally Kirkland ... Herself
Wendy J.N. Lee Wendy J.N. Lee ... Herself
Meredith Monk ... Herself
Michelle Phillips ... Herself
Margaret Prescod Margaret Prescod ... Herself
Cheryl Swannack Cheryl Swannack ... Herself
Lily Tomlin ... Herself
Marej Vaj Marej Vaj ... Herself


In 1977, a book of photographs captured an awakening - women shedding the cultural restrictions of their childhoods and embracing their full humanity. Feminists: What Were They Thinking? revisits those photos, those women and those times - and takes aim at our current culture revealing all too vividly the urgent need for continued change. The film offers candid and riveting interviews with women such as Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Lily Tomlin and Judy Chicago tackling topics ranging from identity, abortion, race, childhood and motherhood. A Netflix original documentary directed by Johanna Demetrakas.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 October 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Feminists: Ritratti di un'epoca See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Crazy Wisdom Productions See more »
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User Reviews

It was an honest state of affairs of feminism today
17 October 2018 | by innerdesireSee all my reviews

This is a spoiler free review. There was some genuine talent in this production. And it didn't feel like it was underfunded like I worried it might be. However, they did seriously miss the mark. When I first heard of this I hoped it reinvigorate the movement taking in to consideration the best parts of feminism and leaving behind the other parts. Sadly, it achieved the opposite. Feminism isn't a young movement anymore. Over the years we've collected very good data on what works, and what doesn't. I didn't see these lessons portrayed at all in this film. In fact, I saw many of the parts that don't work well put up as the movements shining achievements. I was particularly dismayed they suggested that we should choose a president solely on the basis of her gender. This is an example of entitlement, not as earning and deserving of ones position. With simple logic like this how can this movement be taken seriously? It left me with the icky feeling afterwards that this was nothing more than haphazard political propaganda paid for by the least ethical of special interests groups. The fact that is was released just before an election, with a political message that was telling us how women should vote didn't help. I wish they had taken this opportunity to share what women have achieved and how to revive the movement from its currents remnant status. Public opinion polls show the movement is at an all time low. Its less popular now than in the 60s when it was new and a foreign scary way for both genders to think. And its still falling in its status today. If you ask your friends and family today what is feminism? You'll likely get a response something like its a bunch of maladjusted angry women who care more about whats bad for men, than whats good for women. After watching I took the opportunity to discuss it with friends and co workers. The responses were not encouraging. Ladies, take back the movement from the radicals. Feminism is seen as a dangerous and angry group by most today. Without some thoughtful reform this movement will fade in to history as another misguided and failed political movement. As of this moment, feminism popularity is in the single digits. Its demise is closer than you might want to think. If you don't engage now, it might be too late tomorrow. It is possible that we could achieve a world where gender is no more considered in a persons worth than hair color or height. It truly is possible. But we're heading in the opposite direction. Feminism is making women less valuable not more, in its current form. I debated for some time whether to include a reference to Ms. Hekcate's review here. However, if we're going to save the movement, we need to be willing to step in to uncomfortable territory. Her review was titled, "boys should be afraid", and included a line that stated, "Your terror of women is well noted, boys .. as I can hardly call you men :)" This is exactly the type of man hating bigotry, that real feminists have stood against and whats turning people away from the movement today. When you encounter men or women in the movement with outlooks like these, try to befriend them and find out whats driving them. Perhaps with your compassion and taking the time to care about them, they might grow in to healthy and helpful representatives of the movement. Hers are the only voices that people hear and remember. We really need to change that. Improving the station of women in society shouldn't be perceived to come at the expense of trying to destroy men. And since they still have the power, how likely are they to want to share it if we advertise we celebrate their demise? Would you let someone in to your club who openly despises and wants to destroy you? Men as a group may have their follies and faults, but they aren't suicidal or idiots. You really can represent women better Ms. Hekcate.

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