Tightly Wound


Part of the Believe Me, It’s My Body Shorts Program

Suggested View Time:
4:30 PM EDT / 3:30 PM CDT
Thursday, August 13

Note: No closed captioning or subtitles available

This story starts with the moment every woman vividly remembers: getting her first period. Director Shelby Hadden was 14 years old and her mom handed her a box of tampons, a jar of Vaseline, and wished her luck as she went into the bathroom. When she attempted insertion, it felt like she was trying to force the tampon 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 coaching her through it, insisting it was all about finding the right angle… She never found it.

Tightly Wound is an animated personal essay film that follows Shelby’s experience living with pelvic floor dysfunction. She has vaginismus: a condition characterized by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles that tighten the vaginal entrance, causing pain, penetration problems, and inability to have intercourse. Tightly Wound tells the story of her long journey to diagnosis and treatment, her failed attempts at dating, and how her pelvic floor condition affects the way she sits, stands, breathes, exercises, and feels about herself.


USA, Chile

10 minutes

Director: Shelby Hadden

Writer: Shelby Hadden

Producers: Shelby Hadden, Sebastian Bisbal

Executive Producers: Sara Hirsh Bordo, Kimberlee Sullivan, Mark Tinsey, Kimberly Carter

Animator: Sebastian Bisbal

Cast: Shelby Hadden, Christina McGee, Meggin Hadden, Eman Esfandi, Amalia Allen, Sebastian Bisbal, Maddy Dimayuga, Sophia Loffreda

Shelby Hadden (Director, Writer, Producer)


July 15, 2020