Twelve beautiful, strong, vibrant and articulate Chicago women sit in a congenial circle, talking and laughing about what most women in their late teens and early twenties talk and laugh about: their own sexuality. As we listen in like voyeurs we learn a great deal about what these modern young women think about their bodies and their lives. We also find that the same women serve as admirably behind the camera as they do in front of it.
They are "The Empowered Fe Fes," a combination support group and video crew, who have produced "Beyond Disability: The Fe Fe Stories," which premiered last October. Working with Chicago’s Access Living and the nonprofit Beyondmedia Education, the Empowered Fe Fes learned all aspects of video production as they interviewed dozens of people and created a lively and honest framework in which to describe their feelings about a subject that is complex and unique to each individual. In the video we also find that such lives change like all others, that relationships are always complicated, and that it’s a good idea to laugh a lot when growing up in a society obsessed with bodies and their standardization and commercialization.
Those of us who are older know the wisdom of sexuality. These young women build upon this wisdom and respond to it by taking charge of all the aspects of their own bodies. The result is reassuring. Judging from this video, fewer of them will be as damaged by abusers, ticket-punchers and the ignorant than previous generations.
The promo video "Doin' It: Sex, Disability and Videotape" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwlwe9Juo6E) makes it clear that this group of women know who they are and what they want in all aspects of their lives, including how to express their sexuality. Watch it.