Lady Sings it Better: promoting safe sex for women who play with women (and sometimes fruit)
“Fisting a watermelon is very different from fisting a woman…Women don’t dissolve.”
– Maeve Marsden, Lady Sings it Better
We think a lot of lesbian, queer, bi and same-sex attracted women grow up with the same safe sex message we did, which was “Put condom on penis. End conversation.” A lot of us seem to be under the impression that STIs aren’t an issue for women having sex with women, and that simply isn’t true. But what is true is that we tend to be invisible – the way we have sex, our sexual health needs, our safe sex practices – they all tend to vanish from most sex education and safe sex messages…
“There’s no doubt in my mind that sex education is lacking, not only in schools but in the broader community. There’s such silence and shame attached to talking about sex and this is compounded when dealing with issues like homophobia and transphobia. We need more honesty, humour and openness in the way we discuss sex, with young people and with each other.
Working with Claude on our video was a chance to see what might transpire if we combined Lady Sings it Better’s particular style of comedy cabaret with a message about women’s sexual health. Our work tends to focus on exposing misogyny in pop culture, but creating ‘Closer’ was all about a positive celebration of women’s sexuality, sexual health, humour and desire. Rather than approaching sex ed literally we wanted to find a playful way to open a discussion about safe sex and gloves. Perhaps we should’ve added a disclaimer so people know it’s not an instructional video… Fisting a watermelon is very different from fisting a woman. Women don’t dissolve.
As a fat woman it was particularly fun for me to be able to play with the symbolism of eating and sex, especially as we were eating such healthy (and delicious!) fruit. The song itself, a Nine Inch Nails cover, is so purposefully sexual and direct, qualities not associated with traditional femininity. Desire with abandon, greed, mess: these aren’t considered feminine qualities, and they’re considered particularly inappropriate when expressed by a fat woman or a queer one. There are moments with the fruit that are a little abject. I enjoy that.
We had so much fun creating ‘Closer’ and exploring different ways to really play: with the fruit, the music and each other. Lady Sings it Better has performers of all sexualities – straight, queer, gay, bisexual etc – and we worked with a queer, feminist crew to make ‘Closer’. I think the diversity and sex-positivity of the artists collaborating shows through in the clip.
Sexuality should be joyful, consensual, playful, messy, fun and safe. We’ve tried to communicate that in our own little cabaret way.”
Performing ‘Closer’ by Nine Inch Nails, Lady Sings it Better.
Directed by: Maeve Marsden and Nikki Stevens
Produced by: Phoebe Meredith with Viv McGregor
Director of Photography: Max Bourke
Camera Assistant: Lili Bojovic
Studio Services: SheSheTV
Hair: Adam Powell
Lady Sings it Better: Maeve Marsden, Libby Wood, Fiona Pearson, Benjamin Kiehne, Lauren Allison, Hannah James
Arrangement by Tim Hansen
No Maltese Terriers were harmed during the making of this video. Unfortunately, the watermelon didn’t survive.