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Man peering at a clitoris

Le Clitoris, By Lori Malépart-Traversy

Our Pick of the Week is a charming film by Lori Malépart-Traversy about… well, the Clitoris. (I briefly considered labeling this film NSFW, but quickly discarded the notion. There’s nothing here that is the least bit prurient or offensive – there’s just beauty and humor.) Here it is:

What I loved about this film was that I learnt things. I really had no idea that the clitoris I knew was just a tip-of-the-iceberg. And the idea of many different men pretending to have discovered it makes me giggle even as I type this.

It also makes me think about the teacher’s voice. This is going to be round-about, but I will get back to Le Clitoris.

A few years ago, my wife gave me a present of an Udu. What is an Udu? It looks something like this:

Udu, a Nigerian pottery drum

An Udu is a Nigerian pottery drum. This is just one shape; mine looks flatter, sort of like a flying saucer. Along with this gifted Udu came a gifted lesson with an Udu master.

I started taking the lessons, but I became a little frustrated because too much of it was the teacher talking, instead of me drilling the Udu patterns he was teaching me. Was this lesson about him or was it about me learning how to play this instrument?

By the third or fourth lesson, though, I realized. He was teaching me. Those stories were a way of communicating the ethos of being a musician: the motivations, the pleasure, the commitment, the sharing with friends. He wasn’t just trying to teach me how to play Udu patterns, he was teaching what it meant to be a drummer. Good teachers sneak the important stuff in.

In the same way, I think a lot of the teaching in this little movie is the tone and sweetness of the voice. Yes, you learn about the clitoris, but an ethos is being transmitted as well – about what it means to be a woman who owns her sexuality – and maybe that’s the most important lesson of all.

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