Femininity and Freedom - Hear What our Judges Had To Say

The Sassy Show asked to see your videos exploring three of our favourite themes: body image, sexuality, and our menstrual cycle. And boy, did you deliver! To help us critique the work, we brought on board performance artists and Doctor in Gender Studies, Maiada Aboud, and Roots Soul singer Teshay Makeda. Both women harness themes of femininity within their own work, using creativity as a form of self-expression and social critique.

Read on to hear what Aboud and Makeda had to say about the 7 winner's short films, offering their support and productive feedback in relation to the execution of each piece of work. All films are hosted on The S° Rated Video Channel for you to see in full.


Free The Red

by Anneliek Nieuwland, Contemporary Artist, The Netherlands


"A lot of my work is autobiographical, this one in particular. I speak freely about how, during my period, I could literally feel my uterus shedding and would get such bad pains in my vagina that I couldn’t move. I had the feeling there was something wrong with me and I went to the doctor.

To cut a long story short, in 2012 they removed my uterus. The horrible pains in my vagina were caused by a calcified myoma pushing on my blather. During the operation, they hit an artery, so recovery was long. The period towards and after the operation I processed the experience by making different artworks like this video. On one side menstruation is a beautiful thing, and is a sign of fertility, on the other side it can be very horrible if your body is malfunctioning and you feel half a woman"

Anneliek Nieuwland

Aboud: I can clearly say this movie was one of my favourite ones. I really liked the artistic approach and the way the video speaks for itself. The animation is very strong on its own but I feel the text reading 'Oh, no it's happened again' is a bit unnecessary. However, the music and the beat gives the video more strength. I like the contrast between the white and black. My understanding is that all this pain from menstruation is shared among most women and it will end when it is supposed to end. I think the artist should keep an open ending without any question and keep her private experience to be revealed within the text accompanying the video.

Makeda: It was shedding and releasing one's flow and made me feel her pain as I can relate to womb trauma. I think it was very brave and powerful to create such a personal piece. I really loved the pulse/heartbeat that stayed consistent throughout - the womb has her own pulse.


Pussy Protection (Doo-Wop Parody)

by Meakoom, Singer, UK


An experimental music video about respecting yourself and your vagina by East London singer, Meakoom. This Poetic Doo Wop is one of Meakoom's many musical creations that reflects the steady, soulful approach she takes to life.

Aboud: This musical creation made me enjoy my feminine side and think how beautiful we are as females. The video is a bit mainstream for me and does not experiment in the making but it's nice to listen to and enjoy.

Makeda: I loved the authenticity and overall creativity of this piece; being free but protected with one's own voice, with the ending of crossing one's legs representing the protection of one's sacred space.


Wave Pulses

by Gislaine Costa, Performer, Brazil


The performer sews a uterus and heart on her body, and initiates touching actions, followed by sinuous movements and poses that refer to archetypal images of the feminine. As these movements intensify, pearls appear that decorate the body and mark the passage of time.

Between movements, there is interaction with a mask, which brings the sense of losing and revealing identity, especially to see the deep. The dance is inspired by the belly dance, of the old priestesses, gypsies and prostitutes, and from this sacred and profane fusion, the reconnection with the feminine power appears. In a cycle of death and rebirth, breaking free from taboos, violence and repression, in search of a cure and pleasure.

Aboud: I love the movements, femininity, and the intensity and the act of decorating the body in order to mark time. The video gives a sacred and profane feeling to femininity.

What I don't resonate with are the belly dancer's moves: I think it would have worked better if the artist kept the movement to minimal symbolic abstract movements within the diptych. Although I think the video could be shortened a bit, it is very inspiring and artistic, the contrast between the black and white works perfectly.

It represented to me the feminine pearl. Taking off the veil also made me think it was a challenge to patriarchy and religion - Teshay Makeda

Makeda: The activations through the womb dances made me feel like I need to dance more. I loved the webs that were created through the womb with the same tread that placed it on her. Aesthetically, the pearls were beautiful.


Sexy Break Out

by Lady Blue Phoenix, Burlesque Performer. UK


Lady Blue Phoenix is a Burlesque Performer who celebrates her curvy, plus size body through dance and performance. Using Burlesque as a tool to embrace her own self expression, Lady Blue Phoenix brings Sass and seduction to life. Sexy Break Out is a home video that combines fun and playfulness with stripping and sexuality.