A new documentary on the women’s movement in the 1960s, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, is screening around the country and is available on DVD for instruction use. The film includes a lot of fascinating, previously unreleased footage from the early years of the 2nd Wave feminist movement, as well as new interviews with individuals integral to its founding.
The film is compelling in part because it demonstrates how ideas about gender that now feel common sense were revolutionary not long ago, while also underscoring the fact that the movement’s work is still incomplete. It is also interesting to see how proud those interviewed are of their involvement in the early years of the movement and how much it shaped the rest of their lives. Finally, the documentary provides a unique glimpse into the internal dynamics and disagreements within the movement during these early years.
I used the documentary in my social movements course to begin a discussion on the role of cognitive liberation and consciousness raising in movement emergence, something the film demonstrates well, but it could also be used to provoke discussion on biographical or cultural consequences, interpersonal dynamics and schisms within movements, tactics, collective identity, and many other topics of interest to social movement scholars. The film is not yet available on DVD to the general public, but instructional copies are available for purchase by your institution’s library.