When I Say Vagina…

When I Say Vagina is a short film programme exploring female body image, masturbation, sexual oppression, social expectations, empowerment, friendship, and talking vaginas. Programmer Sanne Jehoul talks lady bits, muffins, beavers, flowers, tacos, cooches, bearded clams, honeypots, pussies, love boxes, cherries, and pink canoes.

Credit where credit’s due: the seed for this programme was planted when a good pal and friend-of-GSFF, Rosa Downing, drew my attention to Lori Malépart-Traversy’s cute animated short doc Le Clitoris, and both her and other good pal and friend-of-GSFF (I only have two) Ailie Crerar gave me a nudge to programme it. The initial thought was not much more complex than ‘we’ll do a screening of animated vaginas’.

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However, this idea came only a few days after Trump’s horrendous “grab ‘em by the pussy”-recording surfaced, so it seemed pretty apt to do something positive and fun with pussies instead (take that any way you want). At the time, many of us were still in the blissfully ignorant state of he-won’t-make-it-anyway.

But then he did, and a clear misogynist became US President. And the abortion debate in France flared up and thousands of pro-life protesters took the streets in their annual stand against a women’s right, which has been part of French law for over 40 years. And the UK decided to entirely censor selective ‘non-conventional’ pornography which oddly includes menstruation and female ejaculation – male spunk and the many locations in which it ends up is, of course, still alright. And and and…

It’s been an interesting few months for women’s rights and oppression, and we’ve not yet mentioned the on-going discriminatory practices and sexual repression all over the globe. The recent Women’s Marches were therefore incredible in their turnout and solidarity –a movement that will hopefully keep expanding, improving, and resisting.

So this programme had to be about more than just funny talking vaginas – although we do have those, in Anna Ginsberg’s cheeky animation Private Parts and the Mayer/Leyva music video Glazin’ (live action lip-syncing ones!). But we also touch upon the continuing practice of female genital mutilation around the world, in the moving I Was Five When I Became A Woman, and the obscured history of virginity tests on Asian immigrant women arriving in the UK in the 1970s, in Borders.

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I Was Five When I Became A Woman (Maryam Tafakory, 2014)

Pussy is a surreal, funny animation about a girl and her vagina’s newfound freedom, while in Orchid Head a few young women discuss their sexual difficulties and insecurities, and question why it’s such a taboo to talk about conditions like Vaginismus. In Pussy Have The Power, the least vagina-explicit film of the bunch, a girl band needs to balance the integrity of what they stand for against collaboration with an established male producer. We’ve also included a film by known feminist pornographer Ms Naughty, Kaleidogasm 3, which manipulates and distorts erotic images to curious effect.


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Kaleidogasm 3 (Ms Naughty, 2013)

The only film solely by a male director in the line-up is A Brief History of Princess X, a look at the story behind one of sculptor Constantin Brâncuși’s works, based on Marie Bonaparte, famous for her ideas on female sexuality. There might be a golden phallus in there. I apologise.

Respect the pussy. 

When I Say Vagina screens on Thursday 16 March at 21.00 in Joytown Grand Electric Theatre. After the screening, stick around for a dance party with Sycophantasy, one part of Push It, a club night focusing on female hip-hop, RnB & pop. Sycophantasy has played alongside Paula Temple and risen through the ranks in the Glasgow DJ scene. Forget it’s a school night, stay until late!