One of the messages men and women get through media is that women don’t have their own desires, especially sexual desire. The idea that women don’t enjoy sex as much as men do is still a relevant issue. We are sent the message that women don’t actually want sex for the pleasure, and instead must be given something else in exchange, or that it is some daunting responsibility to please our significant other, as seen during the Super Bowl commercials this year.
We need to counter these inaccurate messages with our own media messages about the existence of women’s desire, which is why I was excited to see a new website called The Desire Project. The site, created by Victoria Floethe and Kate Rose, uses a documentary series called That’s What She Said to start the conversation about female desire. The first episode, entitled “Defining Desire,” includes interviews with women of various backgrounds to answer the question, “What does desire mean to you?” What I love about this first episode is that it is a clear example of how the meaning of desire depends on the person.
Edith Zimmerman at The Hairpin interviewed creators Floethe and Rose, and when asked about their own desires, Floethe admits, “my most recent material desire was for linen sheets, which I did get. But, I suppose, more life-changing than even linen sheets, was the realization of Desire Project.” This is what I love about this documentary series. The Project covers more than sexual desire. It’s important to talk about women having their own desires in life, whether they are sexual desires, certain life goals, or linen sheets. Zimmerman’s discussion with the creators shows why it’s so vital that we get conversations about women’s desire out there. When asked if there were challenges to getting women to talk about desire, Rose answered, “Contrary to what people may think, women like to talk! And, brace yourself for this one, women like to talk about their feelings!” She also found that many people said, “No one has honestly asked me what I really want or engaged me like this.” It’s scary to think that if Floethe and Rose were surprised by how many women have never been asked what they really want in just their own interview pool, how many other women out there have never been asked that before?
With current inaccurate messages about women’s non-existent desires reaching so many people through the media, the method of using a documentary series that interviews women on video about what desire personally means to them is a powerful way to counter those messages, and accurately depict women having their own thoughts and feelings about what they want in life. Instead of just reading their statements on paper, we’re able to personalize these testimonies through watching each woman as she answers questions about desire. Zimmerman describes the site as a project that “features dozens of videos of women talking about desire – sexy desire, unsexy desire, one desire, two desire, red desire, blue desire.” The reality is women have desires, from sexual to non-sexual, and we want to fulfill and discuss them. Check out the site to watch the videos, and contribute to the conversation by submitting your own video!