The Politics of Intimacy

In this seminal feminist video, ten women address the camera and seemingly each other in a wide-ranging exploration of such previously taboo subjects as women’s sexuality, power, and fears about intimacy. First-time videomaker, Julie Gustafson, forgoes shame and focuses on the women’s questions about orgasm, masturbation and male “ownership” of sexuality, as well as their joy in exploring their bodies and desire for satisfying sexual lives. The only expert in the tape is Dr. Mary Jane Sherfey, author of “Nature and Evolution of Female Sexuality,” who provides scientific descriptions of women’s orgasms and context for the historical suppression of female sexuality. According to the curators of the 1992 Whitney Museum’s series “From Object to Subject,” “by selecting women who vary in age, color, sexual experience and orientation and by using extreme close ups and a pace resembling real time, Gustafson creates an ideal consciousness raising group (c-r).” Indeed, “Politics of Intimacy” is a valuable document of the synergy between the growing women’s movement and the new video technology and aesthetics of its time. Originally shot in 1/2″ B & W video. Continue reading