DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, WRITER, ACTOR
Juanita Butler is a prodigiously gifted Feminist Filmmaker, Director, Writer, Producer and Actor rocking the boat in Los Angeles. She skilfully employs her comedic talent to travel across those uncultivated public and domestic domains which women seek to claim as their own. An expert at twisting the script, she empowers women through her genius inventions such as the “Boner Blocker” and “Dr Dick’s Jack Off Off Cream.” Recently she took her inventions to even greater heights and gifted vaginas with the ability to blast powerful supersonic laser beams. One such target of this fine weaponry was Donald Trump; a man who we learn is so evil, that two vaginas had to work together, crank their laser power at maximum velocity, “cross beams”, and risk possible death. Thankfully, no vaginas died, fell in a coma, were harmed, or happened to be anywhere near the American President during the filming. Ms Butler’s distinguishing gaze captures the stories of women’s shared experiences. She politically stands in solidarity with the female resistance, a movement which exists and existed long before the word “patriarchy” was ever accepted into the literary cannon. As a Filmmaker, she is willing to explore and work in areas which women find awkward, dissatisfying and insufferable. Her message is there if you look at her work; women are fed up with tolerating the male perspective. Juanita brings women together in her (our) stories. Her brand of humour softens the glass ceiling. “Blast Donald Trump with Your Pussy Power”, is a metaphor for female resistance. We are all one of her unfortunate characters, or we probably know someone just like one of her characters. Whether it is the ethereal “Princess Annabelle”, a whimsical WASP YouTube upload addict, who shares the secret to her beauty regiment; it’s all in the “Unicorn blood,” or the Life Coach who is relying on her friend Tonya to get her “fucking shit together”, and film her promotional video, so she doesn’t end up moving back to live with her mom in Montana, we can all identify with her films, because the struggle is real.
Ladies and Gentlemen it is with much delight that I welcome and introduce the exceptionally remarkable Filmmaker Juanita Butler to PIZAZZ NEWS.
“High Power Entrepreneur” is a pleasurable parody to watch. It torturously explores some of the realities experienced in the everyday life of a Life Coach. I’m curious to know what feedback you received from your audience, particularly Life Coaches and their clients. What was the inspiration behind “High Power Entrepreneur”?
Juanita Butler, “High Powered Entrepreneur.”
The feedback has been great. I think (hope) we all feel that way sometimes. I think there’s something wrong if you’re not feeling frazzled and at your edge from time to time- for me it is often a consequence of putting myself out there and being vulnerable. I cried on the bathroom floor for an hour after releasing this very video, for example, because only 25 people saw it and I had worked so hard.
I can’t tell if other people are better adjusted than me or if they’re just faking it or not taking risks. In any case, I’m not making work for the well adjusted among us – I’m making it for those who feel like hot messes, and that includes myself.
It’s also just so funny how all the sudden, everyone is a life coach, and everyone has a life coach. “Get me my coaching coach!” We’re all in this little pool, swapping money back and forth. And this only happened over the last five years or so. Economic inequality has also been on the rise – coincidence?
The philosophy we live by in the United States is that if you work hard and are good, you can get rich just like Warren Buffet. But we look around and see that many poor people are working really, really hard. So we pay money to a sorcerer who claims to have the special sauce we’re missing.
Every day I see a new ad on Facebook that is basically in the exact same salesey format – I used to have the same niche problem as you, then I discovered the key to fixing it, now I’m living a successful, happy, perfect life. Take this free webinar – but hurry! This is your last chance to get the KEY to solving your problem. The uniformity of the sales pitches suggests that these coaches are not motivated by what would help people, but that they all took the same workshop on how to make money as a life coach. So they are schmucks who are selling other schmucks and a lot of it seems very desperate. Because people ARE desperate to make money.
That said, life coaches can do a lot of good- it’s great to have someone in your corner, problem-solving your life. I would get one if I could afford it.
“Princess Annabelle”, what a charming enchantress she is. I tried to find a goat and turn it into a Unicorn, but had no such luck! How and where in LA did you find a goat, and what inspired you to create “Princess Annabelle”?
Juanita Butler, “Princess Anabelle.”
I filmed that in Manor, outside of Austin, TX, at some friends’ farm. I was thinking about how I would fake a unicorn – a stuffed animal? No, it should really be living, so the stakes stay high. I asked if anyone I knew on Facebook had access to a goat. So many of my friends have helped me out over the years – lending or giving me props, acting, picking up food, or letting us film with their goat. I am so thankful to everyone who has helped out over the years – it’s such a fun gift!
I had no idea if Rainbow would be cool, but she really was. She just chilled with the fake horn on her head. I rely a lot on the Film Gods to help with my work, and I trust it will work out. That’s why film is so fun – it’s a mix of your problem solving abilities and external magical gifts.
I did not wear makeup during my 20s, so I never learned how to do it. Sometimes I would really want to do a smoky eye sometimes, but just had no idea how to do it. A friend suggested I check out Michelle Phan and then I got hooked.
I love and respect beauty bloggers so much. These women are getting paid to teach what they are really good at and love. I also hate that girl stuff still has to be about Being pretty, not about what we do. Yes, there are plenty of female scientists, but not enough, and when I made this video something like 80% of the content women watched on YouTube was beauty tutorials. Everyone is trying to be this high-voiced beautiful thing, and WHY?
This is my message to women: it is much better to experience than to BE experienced.
“Boner Blocker is designed to give you maximum erection deflection.” In this parody you offer to sell women a portable shield to wear to prevent unwanted male prodding of erections. I liked how one of your characters removes the device and decides not to “Boner Block” a particular gentleman on the dance floor. What compelled you to make “Boner Blocker”?
Juanita Butler, “Boner Blocker.”
Thanks! Yes, a boner is not always bad lol – it should always be consented to, though. This is true in person and with digital images aka dick pics.
I made that video because I had gone out dancing with a group of women and afterwards we were all walking back to our cars, laughing and saying how much fun it was, and one woman said, “no, I did not have a fun time – this old guy kept rubbing his boner all over me all night.” At that point every single woman in our group – there were around seven of us, from different friend circles – turned to her and said, oh, I’m so sorry – I HATE it when that happens!
I thought it was interesting that all these women, and surely more, were so well acquainted with having unwanted boners prodded into them – when dancing, on the subway, at a concert, wherever – and I had never seen it publicly addressed at all. All women know about it, but we can’t talk about it in front of men and sometimes not even in front of each other because talking about it is rude and vulgar. Every male performer in that video was like, “this really happens?” And every woman was like, “um, yes.” I see it as rude and vulgar to not talk about these things.
“Guy Jacking Off at You”, is done in the context of a public space. Guys jacking off in public affects women’s’ tennis playing abilities and can certainly be viewed as an overall mood depressor. Your wonderful solution is, “Dr Dick’s Jack Off – Off Cream.” I love it completely. I think it’s something both genders can watch and chuckle over. What stimulated this creation?
Juanita Butler, “A Guy Jacking Off At You.”
Thanks so much! Again, this is something almost every single one of my female friends has experienced, and most of my male friends are oblivious to.
It seems like such a random and Horrifying thing because we NEVER hear about it. When several of my female friends started telling me about this happening to them, in some cases shaking and crying after it had just happened, I thought there might be a pattern. So I started asking all my friends if it had happened to them. At one point, I was the ONLY one of my female friends who had not been jacked off at. I started wondering if there was something wrong with me. Then of course it happened to me, and it was disturbing and awful. But it would have been so much worse if I had thought I was alone in being violated like this – that’s when you start questioning your actions – what was I wearing? Should I have been on that street at 3pm?
Many people enjoy violating others. They are widespread, perhaps disturbingly more widespread than anyone thought, but I believe, or at least hope, they are the minority. In either case, they sure do benefit from our silence. That’s why the #metoo movement is so brilliant – it’s fighting two enemies at once – naming these dudes and making it harder for them to operate, and using “the power of empathy to stamp out shame” as the founder Tarana Burke said. I hope we keep talking about it forever.
“When Your Stoner Friend Shows up in Your Fantasies.” Why does your friend Eddy keep showing up in your fantasies and ruining them?
Juanita Butler, “When Your Stoner Friend Shows Up In Your Fantasies.”
This one is about being attracted to people you know you shouldn’t be attracted to. Or feeling anything you know you shouldn’t feel. We lie to ourselves so often about our true feelings because we don’t feel ready to deal with them. But our subconscious is not buying the lie, so it always bubbles up somewhere – in this case it is her friend surfacing in her fantasies.
I read somewhere recently that we should never be afraid of information, but as humans we avoid bad news, as if it’s not happening if we stick our heads in the sand about it- this is really the wrong way to think about things. It’s just information. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m pro-information.
“Smile”, what a marvelous kooky character and I wished she had turned around! Had she turned around and gotten her face out of the dirt for Mr. “52, 34, 34”, what might have happened?
Juanita Butler, “Smile.”
LOL I think what might have happened was an awkward coffee date that causes her to have about 16 more meltdowns. No one is safe!
“Not Hot or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Adult Braces.” How beautiful. I love everything about it. What is it about aging and beauty which makes these two elements Feminist issues?
Juanita Butler, “Not Hot or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Adult Braces.”
As you become older and “less hot,” you begin to shake free of a prison you didn’t even know you were in. There is space for you to look, because you are not always being looked at. Hot is a trap because it’s always comparative – that’s the only way it’s dynamic- I’m hotter than that girl over there, but less hot than Kim Kardashian, who is less hot than that other woman over there.
What is hot is always come to through some agreement by the masses. The most watched TV show is like The Big Bang Theory. I think that show is dumb as shit. Why would I blindly go along with what the people who watch NCIS think about anything? Why would I feel comfortable expressing my opinion and preference with TV, but not with who I find attractive? What if I think my friend Susan is the most beautiful person? What if I am attracted to this homeless guy? People need to get their minds right because life is short.
A professor told me that she was having a discussion about limited standards of female beauty, and a guy said that it limits what he is allowed to find attractive. I think many men would actually like to be with a bigger woman, but they are told they have to like a very narrow idea of what is beautiful, so they keep going out with skinny girls who spend two hours on their hair and don’t know how to have fun.
And many women would actually like to go out with a man who is shorter or nicer, but we think we have to go out with rich guys or alpha guys who also do not know how to have fun. Man, people waste their lives and their choices on some dumb shit.
“If Women Ruled the World.” I thoroughly related.
“You women have no idea just how much control you have over us men.”
The men are talking about sex in my experience too, and I think women of all ages are well and truly fed up with these conversations that situate women as being more “privileged”, simply because women have sexual options. At its core I interpret it to be essentially about power and control. Is this a conversation that can make a difference? And how did you intend this script to be viewed?
Juanita Butler, “If Women Ruled the World.”
That’s totally how I intended it to be viewed.
It’s like when an older sibling wants the cooler toy so they take it, and then the younger sibling starts making a fuss. The older kid starts in with this brilliant diabolical sales pitch – telling the younger kid that THEIR toy is actually the better one- look at how cool it is! The younger kid always has the funniest look on their face – they know what the older kid is telling them is bullshit, but they can’t really argue with the older kid’s logic, and they know the odds of getting the better toy are slim, because the older kid always gets what they want. So they go along with it, but they are pissed and wary.
“Blast Donald Trump with Your Pussy Power”. What does this mean to you?
Juanita Butler, “Blast Donald Trump with Your Pussy Power!”
There is a very powerful energy source that women have been sitting on for ages. It’s not the power to pussy whip a man into doing our bidding – that is a bullshit secondary power. And manipulating others is a diminished way of being. This is a higher power, lol, and it gives us the ability to cut through bullshit, to make our will be manifest in the world, and sometimes to stop time and space. This power can be experienced in the body but it doesn’t come from the body. It’s awesome and I’m happy to be alive when so many women are waking up to it. For too long it’s been sleeping and timid, beat back from centuries of forceful oppression and the willful ignorance it takes to support that kind of a system.
You created The Juani Begood Show and stated your mission as;
“My mission is to show that all those insecurities and vulnerabilities that we’re so scared of revealing actually unite us.”
Do you believe that commercial advertisers would be more successful in appealing to consumers if they incorporated female perspectives? And can such a perspective not alienate men?
Juanita Butler, “The Juani Begood Show.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the patriarchy is bad for men. Sure, it looks like they have the good toy and are winning now, but you don’t want that kid to grow up not knowing the joys of sharing and connecting with others.
I think advertisers already incorporate and exploit the female perspective, certainly our insecurities.
“Cindies” lingerie was a commercial you did which had me in stitches. Would doing more commercial work be something that would interest you in the future as either an Actor, Filmmaker, Writer or Producer?
Juanita Butler, “Cindies” Lingerie Commercial.
Totally! I’m always down to whore out my talents for some $$. So far no one is really knocking … I wonder why not??
If you could do a Part 2 to any of your previous work, which piece would you like to extend further and what might that story look like?
Not to be a downer but I would probably do a really funny video about rape. Or about letting yourself realize you were raped and how it’s not the end of the world. That would complete the Boner Blocker and Guy Jacking Off trilogy. See, they’re all on a spectrum.
Or I would continue with the character from “Smile” – it was so fun freaking out as her. You could put her anywhere – a job interview, the symphony, anywhere she is, some shit’s going down.
Which female comedians do you find funny?
Tiffany Haddish, Charlyne Yi, Amber Ruffin, Paula Pell, Ana Fabrega, Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, Mindy Kaling, Lena Waithe, Caitlin Moran, Issa Rae, Roseanne Barr, Rachel Bloom, Sarah Silverman, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams, Maria Bamford, Ali Wong, Lily Tomlin, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Mae Martin, Celeste Barber, Jessie Kahnweiler, probably so many more I’m not thinking of…
What drew you into Feminist Filmmaking?
I just write about what makes me uncomfortable, and a lot of feminist issues make me uncomfortable. It’s a way to deal with things that gives me back my power.
What is your opinion about the #metoo campaign and is this something that men can assist with?
I love it! I am always pro- talking about this stuff and really feel like this is such a healing and uncomfortable time for us. We are finally starting to think about creating the world I have been unconsciously dreaming of since I was a kid.
Well yes, men can stop harassing us. ha! I think the best way for the regular non-raping guy to help out would be to let themselves sit in the discomfort. Everyone is so quick to position themselves as “not a sexist” that a real opportunity for growth on a personal level is lost. The best way for men to be allies is not to push away any pain or responsibility by jumping into the “nice guy” camp… bitch, I am sexist against MYSELF so I damn sure know you are also sexist.
And it’s not our fault – we were all sweet little kids before this stuff was socialized into us. So we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves when we see it. The fucked up truth is that when you think that being misogynist is sinful and terrible, you will not even let yourself see when you are participating in it, because that doesn’t match with your idea of yourself as a “good” person. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you can give yourself a little leeway and forgiveness, you can at least see when you are doing it, which is one step closer to deciding not to do it.
The above is for regular dudes who might want to do better. For the POS bullies and violators out there, I don’t know what the answer is.
What is next for you in 2018?
I am editing a documentary we shot in Hawaii this summer – it’s about some homeless people and I am really excited about it. I am also planning another documentary project to shoot in the Appalachian Mountains this year. We have a couple more comedy shorts coming out soon, and I’m working on a feature-length screenplay.
I am also starting a minimalist jewelry line called SOBOCHI. It’s fair trade and uses real stones and silver.
You can check us out
@shopSOBOCHI on Instagram,
Juanita Butler, thank-you so much for sharing your beautiful films with us at PIZAZZ NEWS, I love your work enormously, and I hope you keep making Feminist films because I will keep watching, admiring and supporting your work!