There must be a lot of people out there that could benefit from this information: a Q+A w/ Mona Chalab and Mae Ryan

Header photo x Mary Kang

Sinclair: How did you both meet and what was the inspiration for you to start collaborating?

Mona:  We met while we were both working at the Guardian. I loved the work Mae was creating and was excited about the possibility of working together – so we went to lunch and had a long chat about ideas. It’s still the way we work now – with lots of food and lots of generosity about saying dumb things before you get to great things.

Mae: When we went out to lunch, I knew that we would be great collaborators. There was a flow to our conversations that naturally led to creative and intellectually stimulating ideas. On top of all that, we both share a similar sense of humor and spent a decent amount of time on that first lunch laughing. I’m a big believer that making things should be fun so we make a good team.

MaeRyanHeadshot

Photo x Grant Slater

Sinclair: Regarding Touch Your Tits, from what you’ve seen, what has the response been to this production?

Mae: We’ve heard from a lot of people that they immediately started touching their tits after watching the video, which has been just the response we’ve been hoping for. It was surprising to us both that a shorter version of the video was not removed from Instagram.

The community guidelines on Instagram state that female nipples are only allowed to be seen in the context of a masectomy or breastfeeding, which I personally believe is a weirdly narrow scope, so we’ve been pleasantly surprised that our educational video has survived the moderators. It was sad  that some people on Instagram commented that women touching their own breasts is disgusting, but that makes us even more sure that more information like this needs to exist online to counteract those narratives.

View this post on Instagram

TOUCH YOUR TITS TOUCH YOUR TITS TOUCH YOUR TITS Because your tits have been good to you. Because touching them can help catch breast cancer early. Because it doesn’t have to be confusing and scary – not with this fun 2 minute video I made with @maeryan. Link to the full thing in bio. The beautiful music you’re hearing is “Have You Ever Thought About?” by @emmy_the_great & @danimarkham. We had huge (huge!) help on set from @anne_pope, @braundstudios, @brittany__washington, @freeseoul, @oradekorn, @pocarinightsweats & @rossalinazzz. The gorgeous chorus is @aleksabrown, @jennydeluxe, @juliarothman, @marionspencer, @shortbits, @siii_siii, @toooth, @traubtraub & @treenaphoto. Clothes from the brilliant @installationbk.

A post shared by Mona Chalabi (@monachalabi) on

Sinclair: What’s something we get wrong when talking about women’s bodies?

Mona: I think the emphasis is often about sex and reproduction. But in order to really take care of our bodies properly, we need to understand them beyond that narrow set of functions (as I’m typing this right now, I’m neither having sex nor making a baby!).

Mae: When we first started researching our series, Vagina Dispatches, we realized that growing up, we hadn’t gotten a lot of information about our own bodies. It was surprising because I felt like I got a great education, but there was this gap in our knowledge that surprised us both. We trusted that if we still had a lot of questions, there must be a lot of people out there that could benefit from this information.

Sinclair: Who are a few amazing people that we should follow? 

Mona:

Mae:

Sinclair: What’s something you wish you could say to your 16 year old self?

Mona: Trust your gut – especially when it comes to your instincts about people.

Mae: Keep making things. The creative process will sustain you.

💎💎💎

Mona Chalabi is a writer and illustrator. InstagramWebsiteTwitter.

Mae Ryan is a filmmaker. Instagram. WebsiteTwitter.

Featured Awesomeness  🔥🔥🔥

You can buy the t-shirts and towels for touchyourtits.com here!