how do you pleasure yourself?
Directed by Anna McKenzie Produced by Cristina Iorgulescu
This is the first documentary I've directed with a full crew and it was the most rewarding experience. I was very clear from the beginning that I wanted to do something that was more than just a sit down interview with cutaways. I wanted to make something poetic and curated. How Do You Pleasure Yourself? is a documentary about female masturbation, interviewing three women from different religious and societal backgrounds about their relationship with the stigma surrounding female self-pleasure. Women have continuously been conditioned to feel bad about their bodies, which is why masturbation, an act which requires you to be in touch with and enjoy your body, has so much shame attached to it.
In our extensive research on films with similar subjects of sex and femininity, and the myriad of magazines articles on the subject, we realised there was common imagery associated with female desire. We like to dress up the conversation with yonic fruit, flowers, even in discussions between women, the imagery surrounding the publication of these conversations is so stereotypically feminine and abstract. We wanted to comment on and subvert this tradition. We also realised that many films including interviews on taboo topics, the contributors remain anonymous, hidden behind the stylised, manufactured images. Our film ends with our interviewees smiling faces, engaged yet still shocked and a little embarrassed when we ask our final question of the interview: "how do you pleasure yourself?".