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A Film to Watch: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

By Vancouver Rape Relief Collective

SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY resurrects the history of the women who founded the modern women’s liberation movement in the USA from 1966 to 1971.
The film tells about the founding of NOW, with “ladies” in hats and gloves, on one hand and the emergence of the radical factions of women’s liberation on the other hand; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!). The film doesn’t ignore controversies over race, class, lesbianism and leadership that arose in the women’s movement and many women who are active now find the film engaging and instructive.

We’ve watched the film with women in our own community and here is some of what they had to say:

   “Watching She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry on the feminist movement in the 70s was a confirmation that radical feminism is the way to go. It is beautiful to see images of women grouping in counciousness raising sessions. It is beautiful to see women challenging patriarchy by disrupting spaces held by men. “The personal is political” principal still applies to today’s world, even though we’ve made significant progress in terms of women’s rights. A lot of the laws are in place in the western world, but still women are disavantaged economically, are subject to unreachable beauty standards, are getting raped, battered and prostituted.
The film covers too quickly the racism in the feminist movement back then. We know women of color were not given as much much of a voice as white women back then, which is still the case today. We need to abolish white supremacy in order to liberate all women. We need to fight for the most oppressed women if we want all women to be free.” – Florence

   “I found this documentary extremely inspiring. I was struck by how powerful an individual’s voice is. This movement was started when women bravely began to speak openly about their daily experiences and the discrimination/hardships they faced each and every day. As the women shared their thoughts and feelings, it encouraged others to speak up and it quickly became apparent that they were not alone in their struggles. When women use their voice they not only empower themselves, but all the women around them. Collectively these voices can start a global revolution – and they did. This documentary really highlights the importance of questioning societal norms and standards. Just because something IS, it doesn’t not mean that it is correct. Staying silent about abuse or inequality perpetuates the patriarchy’s main goal: dominance and power over those deemed “lessor than” (women, minorities). It is important to step back and examine widely accepted cultural norms and determine who exactly they benefit. We have a voice, we have power, and together we are unstoppable. We have the strength to change established traditions that continue to hold women hostage. The female revolution has come so far in the past 60 years, however we have so much further to go. Not only do we need to change formal laws, but we also need to change the views of society. This is not an easy task but the women before us have laid an incredibly strong path for us to walk on. We owe it to them, we owe it to the future generations of women, and most importantly we owe it to ourselves to keep the momentum of this fight going.” – Dayle

   “I appreciated how She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry highlighted both that the feminist movement grew organically out of conversations between women and the challenges of inventing and launching a new social movement. The choice to have women tell their own stories provided a meaningful reminder of the importance of grouping women and consciousness-raising activities. It helped to make clear the natural connections between feminist campaigns that might initially seem unrelated. I appreciated the speakers candidly sharing the reservations with which they wrestled at the time and I am exceedingly grateful they decided that women’s issues were, and are, critical” – Mya

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