Sophie Walker: More transcribing, many stories


The past month I’ve continued transcribing, looking at what I have so far and thinking about who I want to interview in the coming month. As I’ve been reading over the transcriptions, a number of moments strike me as beautiful, vulnerable, often funny. I’ve also begun to think about the publication/zine I want to create that includes transcriptions and illustrations illuminating certain stories, conversations between family members, and commissioned art and writing on the subject of gender, sex and sex education, dating, etc. This is a few months away, and I don’t think I will think of this portion as “research.” Below is a segment of an interview that I particularly love. I will ask everyone involved to come up with a pseudonym (many people have opted to use their real name), but for now, because this human identified herself as a woman, I have used that as her pseudonym. 

SOPHIE What is your earliest memory of hearing about sex?

WOMAN Hearing about sex…I don’t know if it was a conversation or…I think I sensed sex happening before I knew what it was, that sounds so crazy. But just knowing that someone in the next room was having sex, I have more early memories of that, than conversations. Like my parents. Being like “oh they’re doing it, they’re having sex.”

SOPHIE Someone’s doing something that I’m not supposed to be hearing or I’m not allowed to see.

WOMAN Exactly.

SOPHIE It’s funny how you intuit that without anyone telling you. I was also really curious and wanted to listen, wanted to know what the fuck was going on, what I was not privy to in my own life.

WOMAN I wanted to ask my mom questions about it, afterwards. I knew that was completely not going to happen, but I wanted to be like “so…” But I do remember, I must have been six, seven, eight, somewhere there, and I knew what sex was at this point, but I was like “I’m going to ask my mom what sex is and see what she says to me.” And I was like “mom, what’s sex?” And I said it in an offhand, child way, I knew what I was doing was really crazy, and she was like “um, it’s when a snail and a something come together in the dirt.” I was like “ohhh.” She was like “uh huh.” Just totally like, “we’re not doing this right now.” And when I tell her to this day she’s like “no I didn’t,” and I’m like “yes you did tell me that.” She was like “well you must have been too young”, but I’m like “if I asked…” But she just wasn’t doing it that day.

I love this because what parents or adults say when prompted to explain sex is often absurd in many interviews I’ve conducted, such as the above: “when a snail and a something come together in the dirt.” I think to most children this answer is not plausible, and on reflection amusing but at the time completely frustrating. Though I did not receive information like this, I do remember being irritated by not understanding everything that was going on, a feeling that continues to fuel my interest in these subjects today.

2 thoughts on “Sophie Walker: More transcribing, many stories

  1. This conversation is both entertaining and a strikingly honest observation of what we all, to some extent, have experienced. I’ve always found it funny that there were a few people in our lives that we really could not talk about sex with (like my friend’s father for example, who wouldn’t really discuss it with her aside from “just be safe”, but who last week made this really hilarious but crude joke when she was there- she was so shocked!) I can’t wait to read about more of these. I would recommend, if you’re interested, looking into readings about the general taboo of the human body in our society today. As a dancer, this has informed a lot of my understanding of dance in the world today, but I think it completely serves this topic and these questions around sex education as well

    1. Alice, thank you so much for this comment! I’d love to read more about this—any suggested readings?


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