Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Subjectified. Screening Thursday 10-21 at the Marran 7pm

Subjectified appealed to me instantly. I admired the sincere delivery of a vital conversation around young women and sex and impressed by director's smooth restraint. When Melissa Tapper Goldman created her film she allowed the women in her documentary voice their stories.

Back in February, I went to the awesome series: Chicks Make Flicks presented by Women in Film & Video New England, and the Program in Women's & Gender Studies at MIT. The room was filled. When the lights came back on hands began shooting up in the air. We all had questions and the director - along with one of the women in the film - took the questions one by one. I was hooked.

Back at the Lesley Women's Center I had just assembled a magnificent panel to lead a discussion and answer questions about sex. Our vision? To become a resource for accurate and honest information about anything that anyone wanted to know about sex. Anything. So as Melissa answered the questions I only thought about bringing the film back to Lesley. During that Q&A her generosity was palpable as she encouraged others in the audience to do the same as she had. Pick up a camera, chase and nurture your passion, look for answers and share the results with the rest of us. A shy young man asked Melissa if young men would speak about sex. Would her documentary project number 2 be the male version of Subjectified? "You go do it!" She told him. "I am serious!" She was. She looked almost ready to continued and added: "Call me and I can talk to you about how I did this."

The film is closely shot and intimate. The conversation is fun and open, but it is also discreet. In the background, Melissa's voice is easy on the ears even when the questions are intimate or venture into areas that even today, with our informal and generous over sharing, could get a bit personal. Truth be told - and it is - the women of Subjectified tell us what we want to know. Melissa Tapper Goldman showcases the voices of the film's subjects and her point of view doesn't stray. Inevitably the audience takes in a narrative of stories that extend beyond sex and these specific women.

The stories the Subjectified women tell, sneak into areas as unique as each woman speaking for Melissa's camera. Some accounts deal with religion, body image, unique desire, experimentation, pregnancy and gender. But today reality and information sharing are omnipresent badges of youth's cultural identity. This is how we live. To read detailed interactions in media and watch 'real' conversations on line happen is, well, the way it is. And in Subjectified the conversations are stripped-down real, not glossy or managed. One doesn't sit in front of the screen and feel as if they are peeping into an embarrassing tale and shouldn't be listening. You don't get that funny pit in the stomach about hearing something you don't want to hear. To be clear in a manner of current speaking. This not over-sharing. In fact a viewer experiences Subjectified like talking comfortably to people you like. So it is easy-listening. Free-flow. These women are real. The stories they tell are real and there is no gimmick. We haven't inadvertently walked into a group-support meeting.

For about three weeks now, Duke University has been on the news, thanks through our friends at Jezebel, and now in traditional news outlets. The 'fuck-list' is all the rage and we, the more grown-ups, educators and parents, are scratching our heads about the significance of the 'hook-up' culture and the influence of alcohol in college campuses around the country, making hooking up and drinking a symbiotic pairing. But back in 1977, as my husband (an MIT grad)reminded me, a similarly infamous list was known on the MIT campus for years. He remembers showing up to his freshman orientation in 1980 where someone handed him a copy of 'Our Bodies Our Selves,' for which I will be eternally grateful. The assumption from a wise future-seeing person was that when you are young and you think about sex, nothing is a sure thing. There are questions. Many of them and some of them will only come into conscious focus when the first sexual experiences begin for young men and women of all ages and genders. So with the utilitarian nature of the search engine available to provide answer to this questions, I quiver. What the return query on a string search that includes the word sex in the Google white box?

Subjectified begins with one question: "Why do girls have sex?" You might have an assumption, a personal opinion, experience, hindsight. You can fill in the blanks and walk away thinking you have got it figured out for yourself, your sister, brother or children. Why do girls have sex? The answers, I promise will enlighten you.

Subjectified: Screening followed by a Q&A
Come by by 6pm and enjoy a reception with a light fare hosted by Alumni Relations
7 pm
Marran Theater Lesley University

Posted by: Daphne Strassmann

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