A playful animated film uses humor and illustration to deconstruct the biological logistics and historical context behind the only organ in the human body dedicated exclusively to pleasure: Le Clitoris. The documentary short by Montreal native Lori Malepart-Traversy delves into the physical anatomy of the clitoris and how it has been skewed and misinterpreted by different men throughout history.
The history of the clit stretches all the way back to the days of Ancient Greece when female orgasm was encouraged by doctors for better fertility. Up until the 19th century, even the Catholic church approved of female orgasm to release sexual tension. However, in the early 1800s doctors started to rail against the clit, claiming it was a useless organ that made women susceptible to dangerous diseases like "hysteria." Then Sigmund Freud came along and proclaimed, "a mature woman must find her pleasure exclusively through penetration," relegating the clitoris to what Malepart-Traversy calls "clitoral obscurantism."
Malepart-Traversy spent eight months drawing and animating Le Clitoris while she was getting her BFA from Concordia University. During the process, the artist says she strived for simplicity and efficiency, using animation as a vehicle to discuss delicate subject matter. Malepart-Traversy tells Cartoon Brew, "Humor puts less pressure on the viewer… on what you should think or what you should say… Making the viewer laugh is a good way to enter the subject."
By creating a character out of the clitoris, Malepart-Traversy hopes people will start to look at it as "something more alive than just a flap, or vulva, or hole, or vagina." Last year, Le Clitoris was showcased at film festivals around the world. The documentary was finally released to the public two days ago. Watch it in its entirety below: