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May 24, 2016 by

Jessie Kahnweiler Confronts Online Dating App Sexters

L.A.-based filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler does not shy away from controversy. She has just released a new video where she confronts men who’ve sent her online sexts on Tinder. In the video she confronts these men in person—men unprepared for her experiment—to have them read their online sexts to her in person. Even they are embarrassed by their communication, and it’s clear from the exercise that the men treat women in person differently than online.

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This video can be seen as a continuation of “The Skinny,” Kahnweiler’s recent dark comedy series. Produced by Jill Soloway’s Wifey.TV and Refinery29, the web series premiered at the Sundance. The episodes follow Jessie’s life as a feminist and striving YouTube star in L.A., yet the series is unsettling; it deals with the realities of battling bulimia, based Kahnweiler’s own 10-year struggle with the eating disorder. 

the skinnyKahnweiler, 31, told the New York Times, “For years, I’ve been wanting to tell this story, but I haven’t known how.” Rather than tackling the topic of bulimia directly, she has a sidelong take on the reality of the disorder, which proves to be a more realistic depiction of the role an eating disorder can play in one’s life. Bulimia is never the highlight of “The Skinny,” but it’s always there, weaving in and out of the narrative, depending largely on what else is happening in her life. 

Throughout her career, Kahnweiler has made several other unsetting, provocative, and fiercely honest short films. “Meet My Rapist,” for example, shows a woman who runs into her assailant in a farmers market. In Jessie Gets Arrested,” she illustrates white privilege through trying to get arrested, and failing, despite violating a dozen laws, including selling prescription medication to cops.  

meet my rapist

Kahnweiler is known for her ability to depict the dark and hidden corners of the female experience. When her ex-boyfriend rapes her in Episode 5 of “The Skinny,” rather than creating a moment of high drama, the scene shows the subtleties of how a conversation can escalate from flirting, seduction and pleasure to violence. Our culture often refers to rape as something that happens to a woman alone on the street at night. But in reality, 85% of rape victims already know the perpetrator. The normality of Kahnweiler’s rape scene and the silence that follows are deeply unsettling. Through comedy, Kahnweiler conveys darker, often uncomfortable realities.