Here at Weaving Pages, I'm all about story telling. To me, it's one of the most powerful skills of our world. It's why when people have abhorrent plans, they try to limit the speech of those affected, and thus their ability to tell their stories. Therefore, as people who have voices and who can be heard, it is our duty to help those who don't. We can do it, by making it our goal to make sure their stories are heard. Today, I'm sharing with you another way people endeavour to do this: documentaries. I'm not talking about the ones that film a gorilla for a solid hour (though those can be fun too) but ones that challenge you to see what others hide. The ones which are relentless in portraying the truth of what children and adults all over the world go through and that thus will make a change in what is being done to help them. This post is all about appreciating that, so here are four documentaries to watch if you're passionate about women's issues:
1. Saving the Cybersex Girls: Stacey Dooley Investigates
If you're passionate about women's issues, Stacey Dooley is the one to look out for, with an array of fascinating and hard hitting series about the problems women around the world face. This is a more recent one, all about the young girls who are brought into cybersex, much like many are brought into the sex trade with the promise of a better life. These girls are abused by people who guarantee them more money for their families, but also by the only people in the world who should keep them safe: their parents. This documentary doesn't gloss over reality, for these girls are left broken and emotionally vulnerable to a point it's hard to believe the people who do this to them can even be human. It will leave you angry, make you feel sick and disgusted, but best of all it will make you want to do something. For nothing is better than watching the people who help these girls when they are finally saved and realising how much a single person can make a difference.
2. Secrets of South America - Cinderellas of the Slums
Cinderellas of the Slums is a documentary presented by Billie JD Porter focusing on the divide between the rich and poor young people in Brazil. In South America, Quincenera's are as important as the American Sweet Sixteen, but not every girl can afford the opulent indulgence of hiring a celebrity to dance with you. The difference shown between 'classes' is startling and (I won't lie) sometimes sickly, when one girl is struggling to have a good enough education and another is having a photo shoot so there are pictures of herself covering the walls on her 15th birthday. The unfairness is hard hitting, but as someone who spent a month in Brazil, it is not very different from what you may see as you walk down the street: a slum on one side and a fenced off property on the other. This is a brilliant documentary in showing how girls in the same city can lead such contrasting lives, and in highlighting just how alarming the gap between the rich and the poor is.
3. To Educate a Girl
To Educate a Girl (Trailer) from Talking Drum Pictures on Vimeo.
These next two documentaries are probably best classed as films, for you won't find them on TV, yet they are equally as important. To Educate a Girl is all about the struggle for girls around the world to be educated and to thus be able to escape the poverty they live in. With the total number of children not in school being two thirds girls, this is a serious problem. Education is the key to ending poverty, to prevailing peace and to eradicating ignorance, yet so many children are denied it. We are constantly trying to find answers to the above problems, but maybe we already have it. Maybe we're not using it effectively enough. Whilst those of us who are privileged constantly moan about our school work, girls in countries like Nepal and Uganda fight to stay in school and overcome the obstacles which prevent them from doing so. Education is a gift, and this is a documentary which perfectly comprehends that all whilst noting that it should be a gift for all.
Sister_Teaser from Brenda Davis on Vimeo.
What's interesting about Sister, and makes it different from all the other documentaries I've shared with you today, is that instead of focusing solely on the issues women encounter, it shows the women who help them overcome their problems. By being the story of health workers in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti, Sister draws attention to the fight to reduce the complications surrounding maternal and newborn death. It's easy to forget that whilst for many of us reading this, we do not see birth as a particularly problematic issue, yet other women are not that lucky. What we take as the normal, to them is a blessing. What we complain about if we don't get, they may well not even be able to ask for it. The world is most definitely not as advanced as we like to believe, but we are lucky enough that women like the ones in this video choose to dedicate their lives to improving it.
If you're interested in how story telling can help raise awareness and help problems such as these, join in with the #ReadersIssues twitter chat led by me, @WeavingPages . The first chat begins October 30th at 7:00pm GMT, and the topic is all on why we need Diverse Books. If you want to know more about the subject, read my post here, or just join in with the chat. Hopefully we'll soon have one all about Women's Issues too. Hope to see you there!