Deborah Feldman, Leyla Hussein, Rokudenashiko, Doris Wagner and Vithika Yadav are five very different women from five very different countries and communities. But all five of them fight for a juster society for women, especially when it comes to their sexual self-determination and general bodily autonomy.
#Female Pleasure is a very interesting documentary. Despite the often very heavy and not at all positive topics, it manages to maintain a sense of sweetness and a sense of humor that I found quite enjoyable. But above all, it makes important and good points.
I very much enjoyed the global structure of the film: we get a catholic woman from Germany here who left the church after speaking publically about the abuse she encountered there; a US-American woman from a Hasidic community; a Somali psychotherapist who experienced genital mutilation herself and now fights against it; a Japanese artist who finds herself in conflict with authorities because her work frequently features vulvas; and finally an Indian sex educator who is part of a big movement there. It’s clear that you can’t pack the entire world into a single film, but this film definitely features more diversity than most documentaries I know.
That allows us to see that patriarchy really is a global phenomenon and we probably all live in it. As an Austrian, where it’s regularly argued that the only problems women have here are because of Muslim immigrants (absolutely ridiculous, of course), making this globality obvious is very much appreciated.
Moving away from the global aspect of it, the five women are simply incredibly interesting and impressive fighters for their repsective (albeit all interconnected) causes. I knew a lot of the elements, if not of their stories, then of their general arguments, but still, Miller presents it all very well and in a fresh way that keeps a good balance between criticism and entertainment. But some things here are absolutely staggering.
Since this is a movie that centers bodily autonomy and sex, I would have loved it if they had included a trans and an asexual perspective as well, at least sometimes. But much as with the global perspective, you can’t fit everything into a single film. And the parts that #Female Pleasure covers, it really covers very well.
Summarizing: definitely recommended watching.