New review: Women

// 8 March 2010

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This three-part BBC documentary has many interesting moments, say Charlotte Cooper and Jess McCabe. However, the series fails to adequately represent women of colour’s involvement in feminism and conceives of the family through a heteronormative lens

Vanessa Engle’s three-part documentary Women, taking a look at the second wave movement, motherhood and current feminists in the form of the London Feminist Network, today launches the BBC’s month-long celebration of International Women’s Day.

In a phone interview with Engle she told us that the series spawned from her interest in motherhood today – being a mother of two young children herself, she wanted to examine how and if second wave feminism has changed the family – and explore the new generation of feminists. The three hour-long programmes are at times exciting, enlightening and engaging, and no doubt will act as conversation starters for heterosexual couples on their division of labour and young women finding feminism for the first time, but we couldn’t help but feel unsatisfied.

After watching all three documentaries we were astonished by the lack of black and minority ethnic women interviewed, in archive footage, in the representation of feminism – from the 1970s up to the current day, in the US and the UK – 40 years of women’s liberation, 40 years of erasure.

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