Empowerment and Feminism in Film

The female orgasm is not a myth.

Two clubs, the New Paltz Voice for Choice and The Feminist Collective organized a screening of “ORGASM Inc.” on Monday, Nov. 14 to discuss the impact of the pharmaceutical industry on a woman’s psyche.

“This film was brought to our attention by Planned Parenthood who offered to do a screening for us,” Ashley Drzymala, a member of the New Paltz Voice for Change said. “Given the name, we were all intrigued. None of us had seen the film, so we then watched the trailer and realized what the film was about: corporations making a profit off women’s sexuality. We knew we had to see it ourselves and make our community aware of it.”

Gabrielle Lamake, a member of The Feminist Collective, said showing the film “kind of worked” because it increased awareness of the issue. Professor of educational studies Nancy Schniedewand facilitated the event  and knew Tiffany Card, county affairs manager of Planned Parenthood, who attended the showing.

“[The film] gives a different perspective on the medical industry,” Lamake said. “Women are being exploited over the labels on new drugs. It’s understanding the medical industry, maybe we can understand different sides.”

“ORGASM Inc.” follows filmmaker Liz Canner who takes a job for a pharmaceutical company  editing erotic videos for, according to orgasminc.org, “what they hope will be the first Viagra drug for women that wins the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval.” The industry essentially created a new disease specifically geared towards women: it is called Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD).

“Pharmaceutical companies are inventing and defining diseases to make healthy women convinced they are sick so that they can make billions of dollars, rather than addressing the real problems that are the causes of so many women not being sexually satisfied,” Drzymala said.

“ORGASM Inc.” explores the marketing campaigns that are, as the website states, “literally and figuratively reshaping our everyday lives around health, illness and desire.” They even wish to reshape that climatic moment.

A “brief” discussion followed the movie, Lamake said. Card challenged attendees and asked them to describe how they felt about the media’s portrayal of women, according to Lamake. Words like anger and frustration were brought up. Drzymala said the discussion explored what this new drug, and what these pharmaceutical practices “mean for women’s health.”

Drzymala said women should be allowed to explore their own sexuality, having been fooled by a billion dollar industry.

“Women are not encouraged to explore their own sexuality whether by ourselves, or with a partner. We are made to think that being sexual at all is being ‘hypersexual’ and therefore a slut. We are made to think that women don’t masturbate, so we feel weird doing it which means we don’t know how to make ourselves orgasm,” Drzymala said. “Instead, we are fooled into believing the ‘myth of the vaginal orgasm’ that tells us we will finally have one when we find the one who will give it to us through vaginal  penetration.”

There will be a screening of “ORGASM Inc.” on April 25, 2012 at the Women’s Health Summit in Boston, Mass.