100 Vaginas | feature
TX date 19th February 2019 on Channel 4, and full documentary available On Demand.
about 100 Vaginas is an honest portrait of women which breaks boundaries around the way women’s bodies are presented in the media. At a time when the numbers of women going for cervical smear tests are down, but the numbers of young girls and women asking for labiaplasty are going up, we need to be more honest and courageous about understanding our bodies and naming them. Our vulvas define our identity as women in so many ways and yet we are conditioned not to talk about them publically. Periods. Discharge. Menopause. Masturbation. Pubic hair. Smell. Taste. Clitoris. Virginity. Rape. Abuse. Giving birth. Cancer. Religion. Orgasm. FGM. Porn. Desire. Let's talk...
production company Burning Bright Productions
distributor Channel 4
commission editor Shaminder Nahal
director Jenny Ash
producers Jenny Ash, Susanne Curran
grader Richard Fearon @ MPC
format Alexa Mini
location London, UK
Grazia: "The interviews are woven through with footage of life models offering us powerfully intimate portraits. A girl on the loo removing a bloody tampon, a close-up of a clitoris, masturbation. Shocking stuff for mainstream TV and yet it isn’t, there is nothing salacious or pornographic here, the effect is more like a beautiful painting. I felt I was viewing a Rembrandt or an Old Dutch Master. Full marks for the cinematography."
The Independent (5 stars): "The camera work in 100 Vaginas is exquisite. It never feels intrusive or exploitative, although the subject matter is about as up-close-and-personal as it is possible to be."
WFTV: "I (Jenny Ash, director) was excited to come across cinematographer Ann Evelin Lawford’s work which has an unusual and arresting female gaze. This is actually her first foray into broadcast television – and she added a great intensity and beauty to the film. "
The Guardian (5 stars): "What it undoubtedly was, instead, was gently but firmly and relentlessly radical. It’s not until you see a full set of female genitals filling your screen that you realise how little you see anything of or about them in wider culture. It’s not until you hear women laughing and describing how they masturbate and how their bodies change as they do that you recognise that while male masturbation is an openly acknowledged fact (and practically a sitcom staple), the female equivalent is effectively denied, except when co-opted in service to porn."
The Telegraph (5 stars): "Squeamish viewers who have yet to watch should be aware they will see blood, tampons and more. The programme included strong language. Sometimes Ash gave reality a break, and offered a euphemistic visual metaphor like a squeezed passion fruit or firework exploding. But squeamish sex education teachers can breathe a sigh of relief. Show children this documentary and much of your work is done."