Interview by Ralph Edelstein.
Linda de Munck has been making videos on YouTube for over 8 years. At the age of 15 she started making short films about make-up and beauty. Now she has a successful channel in which she talks openly about sex, love and taboos and is always trying to take it a step further. In addition, she uses her Instagram to push boundaries in these areas.
What does feminism mean to you in 2019?
I always found it a difficult concept, and never dared to call myself a feminist. That changed last year, and now I can proudly state that I am a feminist. In the simplest definition, feminism deals with equality between women and men. Modern feminism is about being able to express yourself as a woman. It’s about being successful and being proud of it, without being oppressed. And it’s about being able to be yourself as a woman, to feel you are equal, without worrying about men’s wants or expectations.
Which taboos are you breaking?
Taboos around simple things, or at least, what I believe to be simple. Like female masturbation, or woman watching porn. But also the taboo around the fact that women disregard their own pleasure in bed because they (unconsciously) believe sex should focus on the pleasure of men. Actually everything that has to do with sex, menstruation, feminine problems and the daily love struggles.
Do you experience resistance in what you do?
Well, not so much resistance as misunderstanding. Lots of people lack the open-mindedness to understand my work. These are often young people who – to put it a bluntly – do not understand life yet. There are a lot of people who haven’t experienced different ways of life to theirs and resist lifestyles they don’t understand. I also receive quite a lot of comments of a sexual nature. I don’t think this is resistance, but it just really is of no added value, so I’d rather skip it.
Is there any taboo you don’t dare to take on?
I try to discuss everything from my own experience. This does make it difficult to discuss things that I haven’t gone through myself. Let’s take BDSM, I’m interested in the topic and would love to know more about it, but I wouldn’t take it on at the moment. I’m not afraid to talk about it, but I would probably ask an expert to jump in. As far as sex goes, nothing feels too crazy or off-limits to me. However, I am more cautious with taboos around drugs. I believe we should discuss drugs as openly as sex, the only problem is that sex is good for you and drugs are not. I do wish to share my own experiences and show that it’s okay if you use something from time to time, but I do not want to promote it, so I try to be very mindful of that.
Zie je door jouw werk dingen positief veranderen?
Ja, vooral op individueel niveau. Ik krijg veel berichten van jonge meiden die me bedanken omdat ze door mijn vlogs anders over dingen zijn gaan denken. Of die uit de kast hebben durven komen omdat ik mijn eigen verhaal gedeeld heb. Ze kunnen zich daarin herkennen en dat helpt hen zichzelf te accepteren, wat ze dan ook zijn of wat ze dan ook voelen.
Uiteindelijk komt al die twijfel van jonge meisjes en vrouwen voort uit schaamte en onzekerheid. Dat is de reden dat ik kan doen wat ik doe en dat het werkt. Als er immers geen schaamte en onzekerheid zou zijn, zou mijn werk niet nodig zijn. Dus, zie ik positieve verandering? Ja, langzaam maar zeker. Maar er is nog heel veel te doen.
Do you see a positive change as a result of your work?
Yes, especially on an individual level. I receive a lot of messages from young girls who thank me for my vlogs because it made them think differently about things. I also hear from girls who found the courage to come out of the closet because I shared my own story. They recognize themselves in my stories and it helps them to accept what they’re feeling and accept themselves for who they really are.
Ultimately, all this doubt young girls and women have can be boiled down to feelings of shame and insecurity. That is why I’m able to do what I do and why it has an impact. After all, if shame and insecurity wouldn’t exist my work wouldn’t be necessary. So, do I see a positive change? Yes, slowly but surely. But there is still a long way to go.
Why do you think there is still such a long way to go? Nowadays, everything is out in the open due to the internet and social media. You would expect all taboos to have been erased by now.
It’s actually the other way around. Currently, we’re seeing a rise of prudishness. Young people are having sex for the first time at a later age. The average has gone up from seventeen to eighteen years old. I believe that’s actually the result of the large amount of time we’re spending on social media nowadays. You simply do not make the time for sex or, worse even, we no longer learn how to interact with a boy or girl in real life.
So, in your opinion, do social media actually create new taboos?
Yes, I do think that’s the case. Last summer, a discussion on topless sunbathing was unleashed in the media. Women don’t feel the freedom to go topless because they’re afraid pictures will end up on the internet. In this case, social media contribute to women’s feelings of insecurity and shame about their bodies. However, in linear media, sex is increasingly discussed in a commercial way. I believe it’s important to provide a more diverse context in which these topics are discussed.
Because otherwise we will be stuck with ‘woman pleases man, because it’s expected’?
Exactly, the typical porn scene. I believe the current media is still being over influenced by these traditional perspectives on sex. We have collectively internalized these traditional patterns and that’s exactly what I wish to change!
Want to know more about Yoni? Read our story.