Five powerfully relevant Netflix documentaries
I've got to the stage in my life when I don't stream movies or tv shows anymore for two main reasons: I feel guilty about not recognising the creators time/money spent; and, I don't feel like taking any risks with a computer that's so important for my livelihood. That being said, I still like to cheekily binge watch a series which is where Netflix has been a life-send. My selection of documentaries are all around an hour and a half with topics ranging from teenagers taking amphetamines to how our food impacts our livelihood. Full disclosure: I don't necessarily agree with the chosen angle for all of these documentaries, nevertheless I think it's important to watch as much informative content as possible with a pinch of salt.
1) Take Your Pills
The influx of amphetamines taken by people of all ages has been dramatic in the last 20 years - pills like Adderall and MDMA are very much in the public sphere. So, what are the repercussions of the normalising of these stimulants? The documentary follows university students trying to get the best grade, pro athletes needing to stay at a high performance and even a producer in the music industry. The over-arching theme is whether or not the benefits for those suffering with ADHD is worth the cons and as big pharma tightens it grip on young children in particular - do we need to stop this trend before escalates any further? Personally, I felt this documentary portrayed a lot more of the pros than the cons of taking amphetamines long term. Failing to emphasise the extent that health risks associated can screw over young people's lives.
As most of you now know, I'm no longer vegan. That being said I do think it's our duty as consumers to be more informed about where our food is coming from and the impact it's having on our planet. Cowspiracy, despite controversies it has faced, covers everything from ocean destruction to the environmental cost of a burger. At the very least it might encourage you to take up #MeatlessMonday.
3) Hot Girls Wanted
Now, onto my guilty pleasure documentaries. Those who know me personally might be aware of my obsession with societies taboos - everything from sex workers to drug addicts. I find documentaries about humans who society shuns some of the most interesting because of the varied responses from shame to liberation. Hot Girls Wanted paints a picture of the disposable women the porn industry relies upon, with sobering statistics like the average porn star only lasting 3 months. How are these production companies attracting 18-year-olds to risk their future career prospects?
4) Girls Incarcerated
As someone who's very interested in criminality and our prison culture - sociology would've been my major in another life. Besides OITNB we don't hear a lot about women in prisons, probably because they are still in the minority. That being said Netflix recent documentary follows the lives of female juvenile delinquents who are planning for life when they finally get out of the system. The opportunities available to them are better than their adult counterparts, but how will missing out on social milestones and education impact them?
What starts off as your stereotypical film about college students gone wild on spring break goes on to use their extreme behaviour as signposts for the complicated world we live in. From innocence being lost, women feeling un-entitled to their body and even sexual violence. This takes things much further than Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents ever did. Definitely provides some food for thought.
Happy watching and remember to take all documentaries with a pinch of salt - no examination of human life is free from bias. If any of the films have got you thinking, I'd love to start a conversation with you so drop me a message, comment down below or slide into my dms.
All my love, Sam