About the film
This story starts with a moment every woman remembers: getting her first period. Filmmaker Shelby Hadden was 14 years old and her mom handed her a box of tampons and a jar of vaseline. When she attempted insertion, it felt like she was trying to force it into a hole that didn’t exist, causing excruciating stabbing pain. Every month, her mother would be on the other side of the bathroom door trying to coach her through it, insisting it was all about finding the right angle – but Shelby never found it.
Tightly Wound is a 10-minute animated film that follows Shelby’s experience with vaginismus; a pelvic floor condition characterized by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles that tighten the vaginal entrance, causing pain, penetration problems, and inability to have intercourse. It chronicles the various ways it has affected her life – how health professionals have failed her, men have rejected her, and shame, anger, and hatred have plagued her body. Tightly Wound is based on Shelby's essay that was published in BUST Magazine in the Oct/Nov 2016 issue.