2020 has been a tumultuous year with an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty. Amidst this OTT platforms with their shows and movies have managed to keep us entertained. As we reach the end of this riveting year, let us look back at some of the shows that upheld our faith in feminism and humanity. From breaking stereotypes to intrinsic portrayal of misogyny, these shows have conquered and aided in dismantling the patriarchal hegemony. Here is the list of 10 best feminist shows of 2020.
1. Queen’s Gambit
The Netflix miniseries is a coming of the age period drama, set in the 1950s. Queen’s Gambit follows the life of Beth Harmon, the protagonist played by Anna Taylor Joy. It is the story of a chess prodigy who ends up in an orphanage due to unfortunate circumstances and discovers her insatiable love for the game of chess. The show is a celebration of authentic women characters who aren’t mollycoddled by patriarchy and forced into misogynistic tropes.
2. Paatal Lok
The series follows the life of a cop, Haathiram Chaudhary played by Jaideep Ahlawat, who is assigned investigate a case of an assassination attempt gone wrong. The show calls out a lot of failures in the Indian system ranging from political casteism to police corruption. Furthermore, the show skillfully untangles the ascendancy of societal ideas of masculinity. The show is streaming on Amazon Prime.
The Netflix series Unorthodox, is a German-American show based on Deborah Feldman’s autobiography, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots. The series closely navigates the life of a 19-year-old girl who escapes to Berlin with the hope of leaving her community behind to start a life with more freedom. It shows a diverse range of voices of women, especially those who often have their identities erased due to patriarchal religious constraints.
The crime-drama web series created by Ram Madhavani and Sandeep Modi is based on a Dutch series Penoza. Starring Sushmitha Sen, the web series follows the life of a recently widowed woman who stumbles into an unfortunate situation and now has to protect her family. The show redefines the idealism of motherhood, its victory lies in the defiance of normative. The show is streaming on Disney+Hotstar.
5. Mirzapur (Season 2)
Mirzapur came out with its second season earlier in 2020, breaking barriers of femininity and redefining womanhood with authenticity and texture. Season 2 unlike season one, tones down on the hyper masculine characters and introduces us to layered and intrinsic characters. The show is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Also read: Mirzapur Season 2: Transcending Conventional Feminine & Masculine Structures
6. Feel Good
Feel Good is a British comedy drama show created by Canadian comic Mae Martin and Joe Hampson. The show traces the life of Mae, a Canadian standup comic who lives in London and grapples with addiction. It is an interesting show that navigates the struggles of staying clean, being homosexual and how sometimes things you love can become a weapon of self destruction. This show is streaming on Netflix.
7. Paava Kadhaigal
It is a Netflix anthology, of four short films tracing the prevalence of honour over everything humane. The anthology is soaked in rage against societal norms narrated visuals that will break your heart and delimitate the barriers of the mind. The four stories forces you to face the ugly realities of marginalised groups and the fate of women who go against hetero-patriarchal stigmas. However, the problematic representation of trans people by casting a cis-het man, Kalidas Jayaram, for the role of Sathaar, a trans person in the episode called ‘Thangam’ has called in for critique from trans and feminist activists.
8. The Crown (Season 4)
The Crown after 3 successful seasons came out with their fourth season this year which gyrated around the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It covers the period between 1979 and 1990 and gives you an intrinsic idea of the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It portrays royal life in all its gory and glory. This show is streaming on Netflix.
9. Bandish Bandits
Bandish Bandits is a web series on Amazon Prime that revolves around the life of classical music student Radhe and pop music sensation Tamanna. Coming from contrasting backgrounds, the show follows their journey of self discovery and adapting. The show shows the impact patriarchy has had not just on women but also its men. It is an interesting and quick watch.
10. Kaali Khuhi
Kaali Khuhi starring Shabana Azmi and Riva Arora navigates rage against patriarchy veiled in horror. The plot revolves around the life of Shivangi, a 10-year-old girl who is trying to save her village from supernatural forces. It exposes us to the world of patriarchal conditioning of women, who merely by practice or in the name of tradition uphold misogynistic values. Kaali Khuhi tries to surface conversations that are often neglected in Indian households. This show is now streaming on Netflix.
Also read: Paatal Lok: A Gripping Study Into Masculinities In North India
There has been a drastic increase and improvement in the number of feminist shows aired this year. This is a wonderful thing for the feminist movement as it aids in creating a more inclusive and progressive atmosphere for humankind. Although there is more needed in terms of representation and reduction in appropriation, 2020 has still managed to produce some wonderful content amidst a global pandemic.
This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to this list are welcome in the comments section.
Grace and Frankie!
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