It is very common to find that women’s voices, bodies and contributions are deliberately omitted from mainstream narratives. From official documentation of historical events to religious texts. From right-wing to left-wing politics. From writing to film. HerStory Films Project was undertaken by a collective of feminist writers, educators, and filmmakers who were keen on creating spaces for Malaysian women to come together and learn how to share their stories with others using broadcast media. The group sought to collect stories about love, sex, and desire from Malaysian women, with an emphasis on diversity and personal experiences of falling in—and out—of love in a distinctly Malaysian context. Together with Bernice Chauly, Mislina Mustaffa and Lina Tan, KRYSS’s Angela M. Kuga Thas was one of the advisors and member of the selection committee. Funded by Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, KRYSS acted as a fiscal sponsor for this project.
HerStory Films Project was a response to several observations: first, the global trend of collecting oral histories on a variety of subjects; second, the juxtaposition between the preponderance of statistics and news reports on Malaysians’ sex lives and sexual preferences and the sheer lack of personal narratives on the subject in the public domain; and third, the even greater lack of women telling their own stories of desire. According to group spokesperson and filmmaker Mien Lor, “When you pay attention to the media, you notice it is so often men talking about and giving purportedly expert advice on the subject of women’s sexuality. Why aren’t our voices—as women-identified Malaysians—being heard? Telling a story is a great way to reclaim these voices, these spaces, these larger narratives. Besides, it’s an interesting subject, isn’t it?”