Par Femme: a sex-positive, body-positive online destination created for women, by women. This group of Australian femmes created the revolutionary pairing of clothing— the fabrics that touch the bodies of women every day— and stories of those bodies through blog-formatted content. The result? A source of inspiration for women to feel good in their bodies both naked and in a sexy slip dress or feminine undershirt. Par Femme believes that knowledge is an important part of sexual empowerment, which is why they started the Par Femme Book Club: a source for women to safely explore their sexuality through literature.
Below we speak with Monica Nakata, founder and former publisher of Oyster Magazine, who founded Par Femme with its former co-owner, Ruby Heery.
What inspired you to create Par Femme?
The initial conversation began around the time I’d sold Oyster and was contracted to work on the magazine. Ruby had started an Instagram called Par Femme, and I was drawn to the curation of erotic images through her personal perspective. That’s when discussions about where we could take Par Femme (beyond an Instagram page) really took hold. Our vision was to create a website ‘for women, by women’ where they could shop and explore the adult world in a safe, educational and aesthetically-curated environment. We wanted to build a community of sexually-empowered women.
What is one aspect of sexuality that you wish more people talked about?
Masturbation. Historically, women’s sexuality has been a taboo topic, and globally we are taught that female sexuality and pleasure is at best bad or dirty, and at worst that it doesn’t exist. This is obviously hugely problematic, because sexuality is at the core of how we see ourselves. Creating a safe, open dialogue around female pleasure is tremendously important in engendering self-love/esteem in women, and I think that by normalizing women’s sexuality, we’re going to see more conversations and education around consent, desires, and sexual empowerment from an early age (so important!). We’ve come a long way, but I think there’s still a lot of residual shame and guilt that we need to overcome.
Who are the women who inspire you? And, how do you find women to contribute to the book club?
I’m mostly inspired by women throughout history who fought for what they believed in when there was a lot at stake. Nowadays, I admire and am inspired by so many different women so it’s hard to pick just a few, but I’m really just in awe of women as a collective.
We approached friends of Par Femme to contribute to our book club first, and then widened the network to include various women both within and outside of the creative industry. We’re now hoping to reach out to the wider Par Femme community to contribute so that all manner of opinions, world-views and books can be discussed and explored (if that sounds like you, get in touch!).
Favorite sex-positive book or source of information?
At the moment, it’d be Vagina: A Re-education by Lynne Enright.
Favorite sex song?
I can’t think of anything that isn’t super corny!
Where do you see Par Femme going? What is next on the horizon for the brand?
Last year, we had an opportunity to do a pop-up night at a private residence in Paddington. The theme was Connected Pleasure. We showcased an exhibition with photographer Natalia Parsonson and a Par Femme contributor talked around the theme of connected pleasure. We created this beautiful physical space, free of judgement, where the Par Femme community could meet and get to know each other/the products we host on the site a little more intimately. It was truly a special night. Alongside doing more events of this nature, we’re really focused on strengthening our editorial arm and continuing to grow our Par Femme community.
Photo courtesy of Par Femme