Lori Malépart-Traversy, while getting her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University in Canada, created an adorable, humourous and extremely informative animated short documentary film in 2016— Le Clitoris. The film addresses the biological and historical know-hows of one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented organ of the female anatomy: the clitoris.
The clitoris is a small organ located at the top of the vulva, just above the urethra and the vaginal opening. The head of the clitoris is estimated to have more than 8,000 sensory nerve endings and hence, is quite sensitive. The sole purpose of the existence of clitoris is to provide pleasure.
Yes, that’s right. It exists purely for pleasure. As the film correctly points out, women are lucky to have the only organ in human body dedicated exclusively to pleasure, however, it also points how the existence and eminence of this pleasurable organ has been obscured over the years. Women can achieve sexual pleasure through the clitoris itself but with the invention of concepts like the ‘vaginal orgasm‘, given by Sigmund Freud, women’s sexual pleasure had been forced to become dependent on penetration.
Also Read: Female Masturbation: Politics and Pleasure
Like our society, the talk surrounding sexual pleasure largely remains male dominated. It is a lesser known but well-proven fact that the key to female orgasm is the clitoral stimulation, not so much the vaginal penetration or the G-spot. Only one-quarter of women reliably experience orgasm through penetrative sex, no matter how long it lasts, what the size of the penis is or what kind of relationship the woman shares with the man.
Contrary to what most women and men believe, and are shown endlessly in porn, the vaginal penetration isn’t the essence of sexual pleasure for women. The clitoris is. But since the primary focus of sexual intercourse is male pleasure, the penetrative aspect of it is given much more importance. Malépart-Traversy’s film is an attempt to change just that.
Malépart-Traversy was aiming for simplicity and efficiency while creating the three-minute film, which took about eight months to complete. She wanted to use her hand-drawn animation as a vehicle to address this subject as humour helps ease the viewers into such a delicate subject. Her purpose behind this short film was to ‘demystify female sexuality by discovering the anatomy and functioning of this (clitoris) organ, its history and its “discovery” by male doctors, its role in the female orgasm and its function as a tool of empowerment for women’.
The short film discusses how in ancient Greece in the Middle Ages, the female orgasms were encouraged for better fertility. Up until the 19th century, the Catholic Church too advised women to have orgasms to help release sexual tension. But starting in the 1800s, doctors began rallying against women’s orgasms and incorrectly termed it as causing terrible diseases, like Hysteria, and termed clitoris to be completely useless to female sexuality. Freud’s concept of ‘vaginal orgasm‘ pushed the clitoris further into what Malépart-Traversy called the ‘clitoral obscurantism‘. And even today, so many people fail to realise the truth about the existence of the clitoris. It is merely reduced to being included in foreplay, instead of being given due importance for the female orgasm.
Lori Malépart-Traversy’s edifying film was first screened at several film festivals in Canada in 2016 before it finally premiered online on Cartoon Brew, as a part of the CB Fest, on June 18, 2017. The film has bagged numerous awards, like the Best Short Film Award at Festival Vues d’en face 2017 and the Best Documentary at Chicago Feminist Film Festival 2017, and rightly so!
Featured Image Credit: Cartoon Brew