#femalepleasure locarno film festiVAL

Documentary Film #FemalePleasure Addresses the Biggest Threat to Men: Female Sexuality

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Feminist filmmaker Barbara Miller’s latest documentary #FemalePleasure premieres this week at the Locarno Film Festival, and has just released a stirring trailer. The film follows five women across the globe as they take on the patriarchy in what she calls “a plea for the liberation of female sexuality in the 21st century.” The description of the film, according to its website reads:

“The film questions millennial patriarchal structures, as well as the – now commonplace – porn culture. It accompanies five extraordinary women around the globe, reveals universal contexts and shows the successful fight for a self-determined female sexuality and an equal, sensual relationship between the sexes.”

Miller has delved into similar subject matter before, with her award-winning documentary Forbidden Voices. The film followed female resistance fighters across the globe who are using the internet to resist their country’s oppressive regimes. Now, Miller has taken the template and focused it on female pleasure and sexuality as it is interpreted across the globe.

The documentary features artists and activists, including Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, who was arrested on obscenity charges for e-mailing the 3D scanner data of her vulva to followers in her crowdfunding campaign to build a kayak modeled after her own vulva.

While the film focuses on these five women, it will also address the larger implications of the patriarchy and its fear and need to control female sexuality and bodies. That control is present across all religions (especially fundamentalist strains), with impact not only in religious communities but in the secular sphere as well.

Ultimately, that fear of female sexuality is the driving force in everything from female genital mutilation to birth control to abortion rights to domestic abuse to arranged marriage. That fear has existed since Lilith and Eve and Pandora; it is so deeply ingrained in our cultural mythology that there is no society on earth it hasn’t tainted. Here’s to tearing it all down.

(via Variety, image: screengrab)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.