I watched one and a half documentaries yesterday: Miss Representation, which I gladly watched to get my junior league of Atlanta meeting credit, and Makers, a documentary on the women’s movement.
Miss Representation reminded me that no one will tell our stories but ourselves and that we can’t depend on our stories to be told by others. Our history–capturing, claiming and telling it–must be a do-it-yourself project.
I say 1.5 because I could not finish watching the PBS documentary. I was excited to see it. As the show went on, I was disappointed by the content.
It was incredibly whitewashed both in terms of those interviewed, those profiled and the segments of the movement covered.
I was giddy to see Mary Tyler Moore but where was Julia with Diane Carroll?
We heard the stories of individual women but where were the shout puts to the collectives and consciousness raising groups such as the Redstockings and Combahee River Collective?
I was pumped for the discussion of the pill, but where was the discussion of the other reproductive health and justice issues? Where is the discussion about Griswold v. Connecticut?
I was excited to see Shirley Chisholm, and when the narrator discussed her role as a catalyst and connector between black women and the mainstream movement, I anticipated the next section would focus on women of color’s experiences with feminism. The documentarians gave me a Kanye West-esque shrug and kept it moving.
Call it what you want: the erasure, marginalization, flattening, universalist ion of women of color. Whatever you call it, you saw it on television last Wednesday night. The stories of all the women were missing. The documentary showed a privileged few and missed so much.