“Tentpole” documentaries, a name that Vice has attached to their style of immersive journalism, have been showing me stories of people’s lives and experiences since I was about sixteen. While certainly entertaining, their content has also undoubtedly proven educational by opening my eyes to the joys and plights of human beings all over the world. Whether the focus of the pieces are political, cultural or biographical, they always seem to be interested in offering a closer and more detailed view of human experience. So this summer, when I was first introduced to Broadly through a six minute long YouTube trailer advertising their upcoming pieces about women using drones to airlift abortion pills past national borders, making vagina shaped kayaks to question what should really be considered obscene in Japan and discussing modern French literature centered around killing rapists, I was intrigued.
Broadly published that video in July and since then has published ten original productions. The website stems off of their growing media parent force Vice and utilizes their unique style of immersive journalism to highlight the stories of women all over the world. Three examples of such works can be found on either their YouTube page or website under the titles “Drone Delivered Abortion Pills” (featuring our state’s reproductive politics and Wendy Davis), “Vagina Art and the Paradox of Japanese Censorship Laws” and, finally, “Virginie Despentes on Killing Rapists.” They vary in length with some videos lasting only eight minutes while others run for more than half an hour.
The group has a YouTube page for all of their video content that already boasts 25,000 subscribers; however, they also have their own website where they publish written pieces about politics, culture and sex. The online site WIRED published an article featuring an interview with Broadly’s editor-in-chief Tracy Egan Morrissey titled “How Vice’s Feminist Channel “˜Broadly’ Plans to Get Women Right” by Julia Greenberg. It lauds the growing site as “a site for women by women all about women.”
The majority of their content is, to me, left-leaning in regards to the political ideologies and opinions they typically publish. However, their platform allows for women of differing political beliefs an opportunity to have their voices heard. Don’t simply take my word for it though; see their piece, “Shooting Guns With Ann Coulter” to learn more about her most recent book and her beliefs about why women shouldn’t vote.
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that this is my opinion piece and not my entertainment piece. It’s just that it’s my opinion that people should pay attention to this interesting and perhaps educational site. As a person who would like to be more informed about women’s political issues, culture and experiences, this site is a godsend. That being said, I obviously don’t believe it speaks for all women or all issues. However, it offers a glimpse into the lives of some powerful, passionate and fascinating women through a medium that can be utilized and enjoyed by masses of people.
The next time you want to temporarily escape from your own responsibilities, burdens and homework assignments, consider going to Broadly. Learn something about a subject you may never have known existed, and learn about it from some very driven female forces. Start a conversation with your friends and family. Just do anything but re-watch the entirety of whatever Netflix series you’re watching for the umpteenth time. That’s just my opinion though.