Photo: Thibault Penin on Unsplash
Disclaimer: This article will discuss topics such as domestic abuse, sexual assault and suicide. If you are easily upset or triggered by any of these topics, please do not read on. Thank you.
In the digital age, a lot of the inspiration we receive is via social media, television and movies. Trending topics on these platforms provide great influence on inspiration and action. Although I find many shows entertaining, I also find many meaningless. Yet, there is still inspirational content out there.
I took the time to find five netflix documentaries that have content that cannot and should not be ignored. So, without further ado, here is a list of five netflix documentaries to inspire you.
Audrie and Daisy (Trigger warning: sexual assault, bullying, suicide, victim blaming)
This documentary follows the story of a few different young girls who were raped. It tells the story of how they were berated and made fun of by their classmates. The girls were ultimately blamed for their assault. Their classmates called them easy, sluts and whores. This bullying eventually led one of the girls to commit suicide. The documentary also displays the reaction of the communities these girls lived in.
One reaction in particular stood out to me. The sheriff of one of the small towns was interviewed and he made excuse after excuse for the boy who assaulted one of these girls. He did not call him a rapist and he did not express any interest in punishment. He even went as far as to say that he did not know if this case should be considered sexual assault.
This documentary is inspiring because it shines a light on rape culture in this country. The information that Audrie and Daisy presents provides proof for the issue of rape culture.
What the Health
The second documentary on Netflix that I found to be inspiring is called What the Health. It follows the story of a recovering hypochondriac who is on a mission to reveal the truth about what Americans eat. The documentary talks about the true causes of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The World Health Organization classifies processed meat and red meat as level one and level two carcinogens, just as bad as cigarettes. There are direct links between animal products and diseases like cancer and heart disease.
This documentary really inspired me to rethink what I eat and reconsider what the definition of a healthy diet is.
Food Inc. (trigger warning: mistreatment of animals)
While I do not think this documentary is on Netflix, writing an article about documentaries without discussing Food Inc. did not feel right. This documentary displays the corruption in the American food industry. Topics like overpopulated slaughterhouses, meat filled with antibiotics, the influence of greedy food corporations and the exploitation of undocumented workers in meat processing plants. This documentary is very eye-opening and compelling. I found the content inspiring because it is hard hitting and shocking. It also provides resources for action, which I appreciated.
Behind Closed Doors (trigger warning: domestic abuse/violence)
This documentary is one that hit home for me. It is about domestic abuse and follows the stories of three different women. The raw content of this documentary was hard to watch. It displays how these women were abused and how little action was taken to get justice for their suffering.This documentary also shines light on just how manipulative abusers can be. One of the women continued to go back to her abuser because she was in love with him and he continued to manipulate her. Like I said before, this documentary is hard to watch because of the display of injury sustained via physical abuse, but I think content like this is important. It is important to understand what abused people go through on the daily. It inspired me because I feel like I need to take action to raise awareness for domestic abuse and what relationships like that are like.
13th (trigger warning: images on lynchings as well as extreme racism)
This compelling documentary inspired an anger in my soul that is not easy to extinguish. It explains how the 13th amendment granted freedom from slavery to all Americans. While this is true, there is also a loophole in the amendment, it states that criminals are not eligible for this right to freedom. Therefore anyone who is deemed a criminal and put in prison is free to exploit via slave work… and that is exactly what happened.
After the 13th amendment was passed, black people were arrested in masses and put in prisons where they were exploited via slave labor. The popular rhetoric of the time also displayed black people as horrible people and as criminals. It displayed them as predators, out to get white people, and that is where a lot of the incarcerations came from. After the idea that black people were all criminals was institutionalized, it became even easier to arrest black people for minor crimes like loitering. Popular media of the time like the film Birth of a Nation depict black men as rapists and an imminent threat to white women. The film continues to show a “black” man (a white man in blackface) being persecuted by the KKK. This film was so widely popular at the time that even the president of the time, Woodrow Wilson, had a private showing of the film in the White House.
This documentary inspired me because it calls out the institutionalized racism that is still thriving in America to this day.
Hopefully the suggested content in this article inspires readers out there to view these documentaries and act on the information they receive. It is worth the time and the more informed you are, the more you can change the world. Knowledge is power!
My name is Baylie Clevenger and I am 19 years old. I plan to attend Ball State University this fall and major in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. I have been writing since I was 15 and plan to do so for the rest of my life!