Prettybird director Sindha Agha has depicted the female experience of painful sex as part of a visceral visual essay series for BBC Three.
Created as part of the online channel’s ‘Body Language’ series, Agha’s film contrasts a feminine pastel palette against the painful imagery of broken glass and glinting knives. The film is narrated by the words of sufferer Rhoda Hierons, who compares the pain of sex as “glass shattering inside you and embedding itself”.
Agha’s visuals include honey being dripped into a hand-blown glass vase, a Jenga tower made from pink wafers and a mango filled with cut-up straws.
“I’m trying to create an external language for women’s innermost experiences,” Agha explained. “As women, I feel we’ve been led to believe that many of our experiences are indescribable, incommunicable; that even when we can figure out how to talk about what happens inside our bodies and our minds, that we’d better not — that others don’t want to hear it because it’s too gross, too sad, too strange. Above all, that we won’t be understood."
She added: “My hope is that the style will compel those who typically wouldn’t to stop and listen, and that the visceral visuals will lead people to inhabit our bodies and minds for a few minutes, in turn building empathy for the way in which women still suffer on a massive scale from systemic injustices in healthcare.”
The film exploring endometriosis, which affects women who experience pain from tissue growing outside of the womb, will sit alongside other spots on early menopause, endometriosis and maternal mental health as part of the ‘Body Language’ series. BBC Three commissioned the series to re-examine the normalisation of women’s pain, hormonal shifts and physical trauma.
It forms part of its Hear Her series, which marks 100 years of women’s voting rights via TV, radio and online.