4 Socially Conscious and Relevant Documentaries to Watch Today

Educated and Inspired

I didn’t get a job this summer. (I tried, kind of.) And I felt the need to show my husband, and the world, that I was not wasting the summer.

So one day, I slipped onto the documentary train. And I was gone for a week.

The Problem? My sight. My lack of imagination. My abundant ignorance.

Summer 2016 was an eye-opening period. And it was important for me to learn that things, objects, and even media are made by human people.

The Titles

  • Poverty, Inc.
  • Miss Representation
  • True Cost
  • Reel Injun

I had never wondered what happens to our money when we give to a charity, what the impact of our monetary giving looks like to the people we give to. I never thought about the culture of charity.

I know about rhetoric, but I had never connected it to women in the media specifically.

I had once briefly thought about how my clothes are made or who made them. But I had never considered the long-term impact on a people’s culture and the environment.

I had grown interested in native culture recently, but I had not considered the native people’s representation in film, the tropes that dominate our view of that culture.

A Change

Since this summer, I’ve begun to question more of what I know to be true.

I’m more aware of calls to charitable giving; who is calling, how will the money be used, is it taking opportunities away from others? CharityWatch could be a place to start.

I’m more aware of women’s representation in media and choose to believe the best in women who are framed poorly. I’m less hesitant to judge or ridicule for public error. I’m reading a lot more. I’m reading more women writers. VIDA does an incredible job of tracking who gets published these days.

I’m finding brands that are known for quality goods: socially responsible, transparent, eco-friendly materials. This means I’ve had to reconsider my buying habits and lifestyle. I want to continue a minimalist approach to clothing and accessories, and when I need or want to buy an item, I make sure it comes from a solid company. I’ve got my eye on Everlane for future purchases!

I’m finding that I do love reading books by a wide representation of authors. I enjoy reading, watching movies made and produced by other cultures and people. I want to chase that bigger story. I’m head over heels for The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka and The Book of Night Women by Marlon James. Like, head over heels!

Your Turn

So what have you been watching or reading lately that has made a significant impact on the way you view the world? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! (Please do. I actually want to know, as a human being.)

I also highly suggest that you watch Chimamanda Adichie’s Ted Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” if you haven’t seen it already.

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