Frank and honest: the Women On Sex web series

In creating her web series, Women On Sex, Mmabatho Montsho decided to publish it on the online medium because she wanted to maintain its integrity. She has interviewed numerous women from all walks of life, who speak candidly on topics related to women’s sexuality and sexual health.

Image description Actress and filmmaker Mmabatho Montsho has created a candid web series of videos in which women openly and honestly discuss issues related to female sexuality. (Image: Facebook)

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Priya Pitamber

A locally made web series, Women on Sex, from actress and filmmaker Mmabatho Montsho, is allowing women to talk openly about female sexuality. No topic is taboo, and in a series of interviews, women talk openly about things such as rape culture, virginity, sex and liberation, and much more.

“The series features candid, funny, thought-provoking interviews with amazing women such as Khanyi Mbau, Masasa Mbangeni, Hajra Omarjee and Refiloe Mpakanyane, among others,” Montsho wrote on her Facebook page.

Speaking to the Mail and Guardian, she said: “I hope to challenge the existing narrative that African women don’t engage with their own sexuality in progressive and intellectual ways; the perception (is) that we are ‘helpless victims’.

“This narrative has been forced on us and it’s our duty as black female filmmakers to dismantle those stereotypes and decolonise our stories.” She said that previously, there was no content that reflected black women as critical, thinking beings.

She started filming in 2012, but took a few breaks to raise funding for the series. So far, she has managed to shoot and publish six out of the 10 episodes. The first deals with virginity. “Virginity in a man is frowned upon, whereas (in) a woman it is imposed; it is expected,” said Khosi Jiyane, a clinical psychologist.

Watch the first episode here:

See the rest of the web series:

Reaction

People have lauded the videos, describing the series as empowering, and the interviewees as incredible.

“I am hooked on this,” wrote Thola Antamu on the Women On Sex Facebook page. “These women are incredible. I would love to know more about this concept. Why not turn it into a TV series? South Africa needs this. SABC needs this.”

Nontobeko Mdlalose described the series as thought-provoking. “It was about time that this be spoken about openly.”

Broadcasting

To maintain the integrity of her series, Montsho decided to broadcast online. “It also allows us to push certain sensitive boundaries.” It was permissible to say or show a lot more than one could on television screens.

“There is also the ongoing battle around intellectual property (IP),” she explained.

“When broadcasters commission your work, you relinquish all IP rights and you’re not exactly paid for it either. Those are the difficulties creatives are facing. That said, South Africa is still primarily a TV-watching audience, so my dream is to find a comfortable compromise and serve that audience.”