Frequently Asked Questions
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Since the interview subjects needed to come from across the country, this was a difficult task. And since I needed to build a relationship of trust in order to make the women feel comfortable talking on camera about their very personal experiences, I could not rely on total strangers. Instead, I found a mix of acquaintances and acquaintances-of-friends. You’d be surprised how many people you’re connected to through a few degrees! I’m generally curious about other people’s experiences (a personality trait that contributed to my doing this project), so I had accumulated some friends around the country. The difficult part was that I really had to ask a lot of people to help in order to get to the right ones. It meant that I needed to becoming comfortable talking about sexuality with distant acquaintances and even strangers! That was hard. The interview subjects were my partners in the project, sharing my belief that women’s stories are silenced and marginalized, and that fundamentally we do want to connect and listen to each other’s real stories, if only we’re given the chance.
I interviewed nine people and used all nine interviews. I felt that each story was compelling and needed to be told. The project was about going in-depth in each person’s story rather than covering all viewpoints or perspectives. As a way to expand the story beyond these nine, the Subjectified project has extended to interactive social media work, like the November 2013 Do Tell project.
I was not at all confident that I’d know what questions would be relevant to an older woman. I was about 24 when this project began, and I felt more optimistic that I would be able to connect with women in my own age range. The other reason I pursued this particular group is that young women’s sexuality is very commonly portrayed (and misconstrued) in the media, and I wanted to replace some of those stereotypes and misconceptions with the stories of real people and real experiences. I would love to see a documentary about older women’s experiences of sexuality, as well as men’s and other groups’! If you’re inspired to work on a project like this, get in touch and I’ll be glad to guide you toward helpful resources. More people should tell more stories.
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