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Women’s Studies Films  (available in HBLL)

Becoming Barbie.   Moving Images Distributer, 1993. VC 11345

This documentary provides a compelling look at body image issues and the role the media plays in promoting certain ideals for women. It examines eating disorders that have become commonplace in society and looks at the influence of the Barbie doll on young girls. Powerful media images, in particular in the fashion and advertising industry, serve as a backdrop for insights into the virtually impossible and highly dangerous physical goals that so many women strive to achieve. It also explores the new world of modeling in which models in video, film and photographs are sculpted by computer technology presenting images to emulate that are not even totally human. Includes interviews with teenagers and professionals working with eating disorder patients.

Born into Prostitution: Badis of Nepal.    DR TV (Copenhagen) , 2006  [streaming video]

A daughter of a Badi prostitute is required to be registered under the surname Nepali. So marked from birth, she is born into prostitution and is expected to follow her mother into that trade-unless the family, the Dalit community, or charitable NGOs are moved to help them make a change. This program profiles two Badi families and the positive efforts of one former prostitute and Suklal Nepali, director of SAFE (Social Awareness for Education), to assist them. Ironically, it is a sex customer, through his blunt appraisal of Badi prostitutes, who inadvertently speaks the most eloquently of these women's plight.

Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan.      First run/Icarus films, 2004. VC 4715

This is the first film to document the ancient custom of bride kidnapping, an ancient marriage tradition in Kyrgzstan, a former Soviet Republic in Central Asia.

Changing Paths: Female Circumcision in Mali.    Fatusch Productions, 2001. DVD 6911

In Mali ninety-three percent of the women are circumcised. This tradition is deeply rooted in village society. Astan Diallo travels to several villages on her moped, talking to men and women about the health hazards of circumcision. After five years, Astan's hard work does bring results as old traditions make way for new ones.

China From the Inside.    PBS Home Video, 2007. DVD 4385

Power and the people -- Women of the country -- Shifting nature -- Freedom and justice.

China’s Lost Girls.    NGHT, 2004. DVD 1498

Host Lisa Ling examines the consequences of China’s two-decade-old, one-child policy, as it is commonly called. To curb the country’s exploding population, China limits most families to one child, or in certain circumstances, two children. Due to cultural, social and economic factors, traditional preference leans toward boys, so girls are often hidden, aborted or abandoned. As a result, tens of thousands of girls end up in orphanages across China.

Daughters from Danang.    PBS Home Video, 2003. VC 5292

Heidi seems the proverbial "all-American girl" from small-town Pulaski, Tennessee. But she was born Mai Thi Hiep in Danang, Vietnam, the daughter of an American serviceman and a Vietnamese woman. At the war's end, her mother, hearing rumors that racially mixed children would be persecuted, place the 7-year-old girl on an "Operation Baby lift" plane to the United States. Twenty-two years later mother and daughter are miraculously reunited in Danang. But what seems like the cue for a happy ending is anything but as Heidi and her Vietnamese relatives are caught in a heart-wrenching clash of cultures.

The Day I Will Never Forget. Women Make Movies, 2002. VC 7823

Examines the practice of female genital circumcision in Kenya and the pioneering African women who are bravely reversing the tradition. Focuses on the stories of women and girls to mediate and personalize this fiercely debated practice.

Eleanor Roosevelt.   PBS Home Video, 2006. DVD 2916

For more than thirty years, Eleanor Roosevelt was America's most powerful woman. Drawing on interviews with her closest relatives, friends, and biographers, as well as rare home movie footage, the film reveals the hidden dimensions of one of the century's most influential women.

Enemies of Happiness.   Women Make Movies, 2006. DVD 4420

Details the political and personal battles and triumphs of 27-year-old Afghani activist Malalai Joya, who captured the attention of her nation in 2003. Speaking as an attendee at that year's Loya Jirga, the grand council of tribal elders, she created an uproar in denouncing the various warlords present in the hall, and the complicity of the elders in the destruction of their country. Soon after targeted in various assassination attempts, she survived to enter Afghanistan's first parliamentary elections in 35 years. Providing her story through news footage, interviews, and travels with Joya in her daily work, the film offers a detailed portrait of Joya's efforts to improve the conditions in her country.

Fashioning Women in Law.   Produced by the BYU Law School, 2002. DVDMM 90

Fashioning Women in Law frames the startling incongruence between women in cultural imagery and the supposedly empowered product of decades of women's liberation

A Female Cabby in Sidi Bel-Abbes.   First Run/Icarus Films, 2000. VC 13400

After the death of her husband, Soumicha, ... becomes the only woman taxi driver in Sidi Bel-Abb?s (Algeria). The film shows her working conditions in a job normally reserved for men, and a city where integrist violence rages.

Fly Girls.   PBS Video, 1999. VC 11803

Drawing on archival footage, rarely seen home movies, and interviews with the participants themselves, "Fly Girls" tells the story of the Women's Air Force Service pilots (WASP). Led by America's most accomplished aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran, these courageous women logged more than sixty million miles, ferrying planes throughout the United States, test-piloting experimental aircraft, and training men to fly. Still, the WASP fought a daily, sometimes deadly, battle for respect.

Four Little Girls.    HBO Home Video, 2000. DVD 30

The Birmingham Campaign was launched in 1963. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists were soon jailed, but it was the participation of the children that advanced the momentum of the Birmingham movement. They marched alongside the adults and were taken to jail with them as well. Because the 16th St. Baptist Church was close to the downtown area, it was an ideal location to hold rallies and meetings. On Sunday morning, Sept. 15, 1963, dynamite planted by the Ku Klux Klan, exploded in the building. Under the fallen debris, the bodies of four girls were found. Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley died because of the color of their skin. Features archival film footage, home photographs, comments by surviving family members, and interviews with local and national figures of the time.

Four Women of Egypt.    Elixir Production, 1999. VC 7752

Four Egyptian women have the same goals--human dignity and social justice--but each adopts an approach radically different from the others. Muslim, Christian, Jewish or non-religious, their visions of society range from wanting a secular or socialist state to an Islamic one. These friends, deeply committed, argue openly, without ever breaking the bond that unites them.

Full Circle.   Filmmaker’s Library, 1994. VC 10636

Full Circle is the only film to have ever been made on the most revolutionary social experiment of the century -- the attempt to create sexual equality between women and men on the Israeli kibbutz. Through archival footage and interviews with several generations of kibbutz members, the film follows the evolution of family life and work roles from pioneering days to the present.

Growing Up Female.    New Day Films, 1971. VC 9451

Describes the socialization of the American woman through a personal look into the lives of six females ranging from kindergarten age to middle age. Shows the influence of such forces as parents, teachers, guidance counselors, the media, advertising, pop music, and marriage.

He Said, She Said: Gender, Language & Communication. Into the Classroom Media, 2000. VC 4565

Live video presentation of Deborah Tannen's seminal contributions to the understanding of gender, language and communication. Produced, edited and paced for curricular use in communication, linguistics, psychology, sociology and other social sciences classes.

Hedersmord Honorable Murder.   Films for the Humanities, 1999. VC 11754

Examines the cultural tradition that makes women the talisman of family honor and the practice of atoning for "dishonor" with their blood. Provides an in-depth analysis of Middle East culture that is slowly changing as it overcomes centuries of tradition.

I Have a Problem, Madam.    First Run/Icarus Films distributor, 1995. VC 10524

A fascinating glimpse into a society where women are only now beginning to be heard in a traditionally male culture. Run by female lawyers, FIDA-Uganda has set up several legal aid centers for women in domestic trouble. With the help of a weekly radio show, the centers fill daily with women waiting to tell their stories. FIDA lawyers attempt to reconcile the women and their men in face to face meetings, even if it means traveling to isolated villages. The attitudes of both men and women are beginning to change, but this slow process sometimes leads to conflicts between official and traditional law.

In Women’s Hands: The Changing Roles of Women.   The Annenberg/CPB Collection, 1993. VC 12026

This program focuses on the women of Chile and how political and social changes since the 1970's have changed the traditional role of women.

Invisible Children.    Invisible Children, 2007. DVDC 3678

In Uganda's long-lasting civil war, many children have been abducted to be trained as child soldiers. This film documents the children's life and general social conditions in Uganda in 2003.

Iron Ladies of Liberia.   Women Make Movies, 2007. DVD 5047

After fourteen years of civil war, Liberia is a nation ready for change. On January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated President, following a hotly contested election in which she won 59% of the vote. She is the first elected female head of state in Africa. Since taking office, she has appointed other women to leadership positions in all areas of government, including the Police Chief and the ministers of Justice, Commerce, Finance and Gender. Can the first female Liberian president, backed by other powerful women, bring sustainable democracy and peace to such a devastated country?

It Was a Wonderful Life.   New Video Group, 2004. DVD 1029

Meet Josephine, Reena, Marie, Jeanette, Lou, and Terry. These intelligent and articulate women once had secure, active and fulfilling lives. That is until one day when everything unraveled. Now living out of their cars or in cheap hotels, they exist entirely under the radar, too proud to go to shelter or to even receive public assistance.

It’s a Girl’s World: A Documentary about Social Bullying.   National Film Board of Canada, 2004. DVD 1931

Examines the relationships among young girls. Through audio and video diaries, a disturbing picture emerges of how girls use friendships to hurt each other and win social power in the group. At the same time, their parents struggle through considerable denial and disbelief to accept and deal with the serious consequences of this behavior. Discusses a true story of a fourteen-year-old girl who committed suicide. Shatters the myth that social bullying among girls is an acceptable part of growing up.

Japanese Women.    Clearvue, 1986. VC 9993

The lifestyle of women in Japan remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Then came World War II and Gen. McArthur's "Grand Design"--a plan for democracy that revolutionized the status of Japanese women. And yet, in some ways, things have not changed very much. Interviews with modern Japanese women, WW II and postwar footage, and depictions of the typical Japanese woman's lifestyle show that the West may have introduced "women's liberation" to Japan, but the women of this country are still searching for ways to overcome old prejudices and to develop their own unique approach to the issue.

Jeannette Rankin, The Woman Who Voted No.   PBS Video 1999. VC 11695

A profile of Jeannette Rankin from Montana, who was the first woman elected to Congress. She was the only member to vote against American entry to both world wars. Includes interviews, original newsreels and photographs.

Kau Faito’o: Traditional Healers of Tonga.    Documentary Educational Resources, 2005.  DVDMM 404

Shows the ancient traditional art form of healing, but tries to capture the essence of being a traditional healer in an ever changing environment. Traditional healers are shown collecting, preparing and administering herbal remedies that they have passed down from generation to generation. Healers discuss where, why and how they gained their knowledge and why they choose to carry on age old customs and practices despite [t]he fact that Tonga is becoming a nation increasingly dependent on western medicine

The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt.   Women Make Movies, 2003. DVD 4419

In February 2002, in the midst of her controversial campaign for president, Senator Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and became one of the thousands of victims of Colombia's 40-year-old civil war. Her impassioned calls for an end to political corruption and Colombia's vicious civil war had made her a popular public figure, but a dangerous instigator to many within her country's political machine. Following the candidate up to the moments before her disappearance, this film continues to tell the story of her family's desperate and continuing quest to free her and keep her campaign alive.

Let the Women Vote!    KUED, 1997. VC 1423

Looks at the social and political contexts surrounding woman's suffrage. From the homesteading tradition, in which western women engaged in hard labor with men, to the drafting of new constitutions for Western territories, and the effect of the Civil War, the program reveals the many changes in America which brought about the women's movement in the West.

Love and Diane.   Women Make Movies, 2002. VC 7733

In the 1980s, the crack epidemic in American inner cities left a generation of parents addicted and their children in a cycle of foster care and group homes. This film documents one New York City family's struggle to become a family again ten years after their initial separation.

Made Over in America.    First Run/Icarus Films, 2007. DVD 4433

Definitions of beauty -- "The swan" -- Body image -- Media images -- Cosmetic surgery -- Make-over beauty -- The reveal.

Marquilapolis: City of Factories.   California Newsreel, 2006. DVD 3575

Explores the environmental devastation and urban chaos of Tijuana's assembly factories and the female laborers who have organized themselves for social action.

Miss America.  PBS Home Video, 2002. VC 7758

Tracking the country's oldest beauty contest - from its inception in 1921 as a local seaside pageant to its heyday as one of the country's most popular events - Miss America paints a vivid picture of an institution that has come to reveal much about a changing nation. Using intimate interviews with former contestants, and fabulous behind-the-scenes footage and photographs, the film reveals why some women took part in the fledgling event and how the pageant became a battle ground and a barometer for the changing position of women in society.

Missing Women: Female Selective Abortion and Infanticide.    Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2006.  DVD 4046

In India, Pakistan, and China, being born a girl can be an instant death sentence. This program--winner of the Albert Londres Prize, France's highest award for journalism--unflinchingly examines the cultural, economic, and political reasons for the systematic elimination of females in Asia and considers the implications of the dramatic demographic disruption that will likely occur as a result of this growing imbalance between the sexes. The use of amniocentesis and ultrasound scans to identify female fetuses for abortion is investigated, as are the practices of newborn abandonment and infanticide by a parent or a hired baby girl killer.

Mormon Women and Depression.   KSL TV, 2002. VC 11752

Mormon women, mental health experts and Mormon Church officials discuss depression among Mormon women.

The Nazi Officer’s Wife.    A&E Home Video, 2003. DVD 1061

One Jewish woman's true story of surviving the Holocaust by marrying a Nazi officer. Narrated by Susan Sarandon, this documentary provides a unique perspective in its story of defiance and strength.

Paving the Way.    Filmmaker’s Library, 1995. VC 10102

The film profiles four women who 'broke the mold' -- Supreme Court Justice Bader Ginsburg, Major General Jeanne Holm, Reverend Addie Wyatt and Congresswoman Patsy Mink -- women who challenged the stereotypes and entered fields dominated by men -- and triumphed. Through in-depth interviews, historical footage, family photographs and original music it achieves a unique perspective and presents a sweeping look at four decades of U.S. history.

The Pill.       Women Make Movies, 1999.    VC4523

Chronicles little known chapters in the history of the birth control pill. Examines how far the pharmaceutical industry was willing to risk women's health. Interviews women from Puerto Rico who became unsuspecting test subjects. Provides insights from women health activists who questioned the high-dose version's safety, and testimony from scientists who developed the pill.

The Pill.                   PBS Home Video, 2004.   VC4753

Featuring personal accounts from the first generation of women to have access to the Pill, this films show how harnessing female hormones into a little pill unleashed a social revolution unlike any other in our history.

Sacrifice.    Film Library, 1998.   DVDC 4186

Each year thousands of girls are recruited from rural Burmese villages to work in brothels in Thailand where they are held for years in debt bondage. The trafficking of Burmese girls is a direct result of political repression in Burma. Human rights abuses, war, and ethnic discrimination have displaced thousands of families leaving them with no means of livelihood. This film, through interviews with the girls, examines the social, cultural and economic forces at work in the trafficking of these Burmese girls.

Sisters in Law.    Women Make Movies, 2005. DVD 2654

A documentary record of a courtroom in Kumba, Cameroon, where a female prosecutor and judge work to put an end to their community's tacit acceptance of child abuse, wife beating and rape.

Small Happiness: Women of a Chinese Village New Day Films, 1984. VC 5372

An exploration of sexual politics and the reality of life in contemporary rural China. Filmed under unprecedented circumstances, Chinese women of Long Bow speak frankly about foot bindings, the new birth control policy, work, love and marriage.

Standing on My Sister’s Shoulders.    Sadoff Productions, 2002. DVD 2871

This documentary tells the story of the three Mississippi women in 1965, who walked into the US House of Representatives in Washington seek their civil rights. These living legends give their firsthand testimony and capture a piece of history that is often overlooked in history books. Their achievements go beyond the cotton fields of Mississippi or even the coasts of America.

Still Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women.  Cambridge Documentary Films, 1987.
VC 7976, VC 12046, VC 10329

Discusses the manner in which women continue to be portrayed by advertising and the effects this has on women, men, and children and their images of themselves.

The Strength to Resist: Media’s Impact on Women and Girls.   Cambridge Documentary Films, 2005. DVD 4402

A documentary about the fight against the toxic and degrading messages to women and girls that dominate the media. The film presents the leading authorities in the fields of psychology of women and girls, eating disorders, gender studies, violence against women, and media literacy -- and focuses their ideas on practical solutions and the best tactics for reclaiming our culture.

Talking 9 to 5: Women and Men in the Workplace.   charthouse Learning, 1995.

Discusses how understanding conversational gender differences in style can improve communication in the workplace.

Unborn in the USA.    First Run/Icarus Films, 2007. DVD 4432

Looks at the pro-life movement in the United States over the past 35 years, offering insight into both the religious and political ideologies of this social movement.

Who Does She Think She Is?   Mystic Artists Film Productions, 2009. DVD 5046

In a half-changed world, women often feel they need to choose: mothering or working? Your children's well-being or your own? ... Featuring five fierce women who refuse to choose. Through their lives, we explore some of the most problematic intersections of our time: mothering and creativity, partnering and independence, economics and art.

Women’s Bank of Bangladesh.    Films for the Humanities, 1997. VC 10910

Describes the Grameen Bank and the small-business loans it makes to women only. It follows the activities of women who have taken out loans and to business classes, and shows those who oppose the bank's efforts.

A Woman’s Body.   Films for the Humanities, 1999. VC 10620

Looks at medical problems of women: the pros and cons of hysterectomy, breast cancer, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, menopause, and eating disorders. Discusses current treatments and changes in doctors' attitudes towards female patients.

Women in War: Voices from the Front Lines.   Filmmaker’s Library, 1990. VC 10205, VC 10242

Vol. 1. Israel and Northern Ireland (VC 10242) – Vol.. 2. El Salvador and the U.S. (VC 10205).

Women World Leaders.    Women’s Leadership Project, 1996. VC 10833

Profiles of world women leaders. Corazon Aquino (Philippines) ; Sirimavo Bandaranaike (Sri Lanka) ; Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan) ; Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway) ; Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (Nicaraqua) ; Eugenia Charles (Dominica) ; Tansu Ciller (Turkey) ; Edith Cresson (France) ; Vigdis Finnbogad?ttir (Iceland) ; Maria Liberia-Peters (Netherlands Antilles) ; Kazimiera Prunskiene (Lithuania) ; Mary Robinson (Ireland) ; Hanna Suchocka (Poland) ; Margaret Thatcher (United Kingdom) ; Khaleda Zia (Bangladesh).


Updated January 2014