Seeing Allred: A Must See for Progressives, Activists, Feminists…

by on February 13, 2018

I almost never write film reviews. I had to make an exception after watching Seeing Allred, the new documentary on civil rights crusader Gloria Allred that is now streaming on Netflix.

Every progressive, feminist, and social change activist needs to see this film.

I particularly recommend to the many who have negative feelings toward Allred. Those who feel she is too publicity hungry and/or is only about making money.

This film exposes the truth about how our media and the broader society deals with powerful women. And it is a very uncomfortable truth.

Gloria Allred, like Nancy Pelosi, has long been on the receiving end of aggressive misogyny. And when powerful women like Allred and Pelosi don’t back down in the face of such attacks, and instead reassert their power, it makes their opponents even angrier.

I found it very fitting that the day after I watched Seeing Allred that the NY Times had a headline story about younger Democrats eager to replace Pelosi as Democratic leader.  These ambitious men claim that a leader who just galvanized the Democratic base with an 8-hour speech for Dreamers is out of touch.

Gloria Allred’s experience makes the attacks on Pelosi more understandable.

A Powerful Social Justice Advocate

For those who think of Allred as attorney for women drugged and raped by Bill Cosby or other celebrity cases, the film tells another side. Allred led efforts to ensure child support for working-class mothers by getting payments owed by the father deducted from paychecks. She was an abortion rights advocate before Roe v. Wade, and after the 1965 Watts Riots in Los Angeles she became a teacher in that community.

Allred became a teacher’s union activist and organizer, which explains a lot about her lifetime refusal to give in to injustice as an attorney. She has been on the right side of every progressive issue, often decades before such support was mainstream.

Allred backed gay marriage when raising the very idea subjected her to ridicule. She was also a longtime backer of rights.

That a woman of such integrity, intellect and strategic understanding would become trusted by so many victimized women only made Allred’s critics that much angrier. They could not stand the fact that Allred was getting massive media coverage for helping women, so they had to explain her commitment as being about money, not social and economic justice.

Donald Trump’s election as an admitted sexual harasser spoke volumes. Gloria Allred, and those both supporting and harassing her, does the same.

The film has resemblance to the 2017 documentary Dolores, which I did not review because I appear in it. Dolores Huerta is another powerful woman who had to fight for her due because of gender discrimination. Seeing Allred includes a photo of Huerta next to Allred, and the two had quite an impact.

Like everything about Gloria Allred or not, nobody will finish the film not convinced that she has been an historic leader in the battle for gender fairness and progressive change.

Randy Shaw is Editor of Beyond Chron. He was in the film Dolores due to his book, Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century

Randy Shaw

Randy Shaw is the Editor of Beyond Chron and the Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which publishes Beyond Chron. Shaw is the author of four books on activism, including The Activist's Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century, and Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century. His new book is The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco

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