Makers: Women Who Make America Chronicles Fifty Years of Feminism
12:30 pm, February 28th | by Colette McIntyre
It’s been tough out there for the ladies as of late: pair one boorish and sexist Oscars broadcast with two parts gender wage gap and a sprinkling of anxiety about whether the VAWA will pass the House of Representatives and you’ve got a recipe for disaster — or at least one killer migraine.
Well, I have found the antidote for all this bad lady-hatin’ juju and it’s available for streaming online. Makers: Women Who Make America is a three-hour documentary that explores the women’s movement starting with the publication of Betty Friedan’s revolutionary polemic The Feminine Mystique and ending with the contemporary struggle for work-life balance. The documentary is linked to Makers.com, a video collaboration between PBS and AOL that continually posts short interviews with groundbreaking women.
PBS describes the film as such:
Over the last half-century, America has seen one of the most sweeping social revolutions in its history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy. It’s a revolution that has unfolded in public and private, on grand stages like the Supreme Court and Congress, and in humbler ones like the boardroom and the bedroom. No individual and no aspect of American life has been unchanged.
MAKERS: Women Who Make America will tell this remarkable story for the first time in a comprehensive and innovative three-hour documentary for PBS, to air in early 2013. Built on the extraordinary archive of stories already completed for MAKERS.com, the film will feature the stories of those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and the unintentional trailblazers — famous and unknown — who carried change to every corner of society.
Narrated by Meryl Streep, the film shares the stories of female iconoclasts like Gloria Steinem and her Ms. magazine co-founder Letty Cottin Pogrebin as well as the lesser-known pioneers like Barbara Burns. Burns, who came from a family of West Virginian coal miners, was one of the nations’s first female coal miners and bravely fought against the company owner’s sexual harassment in a 13-year legal battle. (She won.) Makers even features an appearance by our favorite “leaning in” COO, Sheryl Sandberg. Sandberg enters the documentary as part of a segment discussing 21st century feminism and the “second shift”; in it, the Facebook COO dreams of a world “where being a parent is not a full-time job for a woman and a part-time job for a man.” (Preach, Sheryl.) By combining talking-head testimonials with archival photography and footage, Makers successfully translates a myriad of voices and experiences into a powerful narrative of women’s impact on history.
The documentary may have made it’s TV debut on PBS last night but Makers is always available for streaming online.