Netflix Takes Aim At The Myth Of The "Shrill Feminist" With Gloria Allred Documentary

Photo:  Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images.

Forget everything you think you know about celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, because the trailer for her new Netflix documentary, Seeing Red, will have you standing up and cheering on your couch.

Allred is, of course, a lawyer who’s known for taking high-profile cases. She tends to represent women in cases involving civil rights violations and victims of crimes, such as when she represented the family of Nicole Brown during O.J. Simpson’s murder trial (Simpson was found not guilty of murdering Brown, but was later found liable in civil court). Most recently, Allred has represented alleged victims of sexual misconduct by Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and President Donald Trump.

Critics have derided Allred as media-obsessed, in an effort to disparage her work along political lines. She’s fought off attacks from conservative commentators, who caricatured her as “shrill” for speaking out forcefully about abortion access and sexual harassment. Allred was even lampooned on The Simpsons as being overly litigious, screaming “that’s assault!” at minor interactions.

But her activism through law is nothing new. In Seeing Red, we begin to understand that Allred has always fought for justice for women, as far back as the beginning of her career in the 1970s. Scenes of her burning her bra and countering men on television are vividly powerful, because it’s a reminder of the work that she continues today. It aims to tell Allred’s story as one of intense professional devotion and sacrifice, and explains that she uses media as a tool to accomplish her goals.

“Fighting injustice is a commitment I made many years ago,” says Allred in a narration. Her work, as is touched on in the film, is informed by her personal experiences, some of which are painful. The trailer shows the stoic, forceful Allred on the verge of tears as she discusses her life. “What happened to me is absolutely shocking,” she says. “And to this day, I can’t even think about it.” Allred was raped in 1966, and became pregnant from the attack; she later sought an abortion during a time when it was not legal.

Seeing Red also tackles her criticism head-on. Allred is known for her flashy press conferences, but “power needs to be fought with power,” she explains. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem notes that having that kind of media access makes Allred a “great champion” for women’s rights. And besides, are men criticized the same way for seeking out fame? We know the answer to that question.

Seeing Red will premiere on Netflix on February 9, 2018. The documentary will include footage from her work up to the present day, so it is sure to be especially timely. You can view the trailer below.

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