‘Sexy Baby’ explores the new, sexualized culture shaped by an age in which everything and anything is available online, altering female sexual identity and self-esteem.
It's not a shocking revelation that we live in a culture obsessed with sex. "Sex sells" is a phrase that few even find offensive anymore – it's just a fact. But how does living in a society that appears to value a woman's body more than her mind affect her self-esteem or sense of self. Sexy Baby explores these issues by following the lives of three very different women.
Winifred is 12 and her life revolves around Facebook. Her parents are divorced, but still co-parenting and carefully monitoring what happens in her account. If she breaks the rules, her account is deactivated. This has happened several times in a 12-month period.
Laura is a 22-year-old elementary school teacher. She's young, beautiful and unhappy. Laura desperately wants labiaplasty and she's finally saved enough money to get it. She has nightmares about her perceived deformity and believes she can only be happy after the operation.
Nichole is 32. She is a stripper-turned-porn star-turned-pole dance instructor. She is married and trying to start a family with her husband, who was also an actor in the adult industry.
How girls and women represent themselves in cyberspace and on social media, particularly Facebook, is a growing concern. Revealing or "seductive" photos can lead to unwanted comments or attention, by the subject or in this case her parents. The danger and permanence of things put on the Internet has yet to resonate with some people, particularly those who have grown up within the realm of Web 2.0. Winifred illustrates all of these points and more perfectly.
Labiaplasty is a cosmetic surgery gaining popularity at an exponential rate. But it's a constructed imperfection, like so many others, created for profit not peace of mind. Laura's insecurities and nightmares beckoned for psychological attention rather than surgical, but she was convinced she was physically inadequate. This is shown to be just another consequence of being bombarded with so-called perfect bodies.
Building a life outside of and beyond pornography has always seemed like a tricky endeavour. But Nichole shows it's possible. The most difficult thing her marriage may face is infertility; not infidelity as they are 100 per cent devoted to each other.
These women were great ways into these issues as they each experienced various aspects of the issues and were part of age groups most affected by each topic.
Sexy Baby screens as a part of Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival on May 1 at 9 p.m. at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, May 3 at 6:45 p.m. at Isabel Bader Theatre, and May 4 at 7 p.m. at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Directors:Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus