Ilse Aichinger, 1948
Lilly Axster
Katherine Klinger
Hannah Arendt, 1950
Hannah Fröhlich
Nicola Lauré al-Samarai
Simone de Beauvoir, 1949
Dagmar Fink
Tom Holert
Billie Holiday, 1939
Jamika Ajalon
Rúbia Salgado
Adrian Piper, 1983
Belinda Kazeem
Anna Kowalska
Yvonne Rainer, 1990
Monika Bernold
Long version
Short version
Reference text Rainer
Shirley Tate
Yvonne Rainer, 1990

MCU—medium close-up
MS—medium shot
sync—the visual image is synchronized with the soundtrack
v-o—voice over

MCU, interview with FAITH RINGGOLD, an African American woman in her late fifties.
FAITH: The attitude is wrong … I mean, getting older … getting older is a bitch! (She laughs uproariously.)

MS, interview with SHIRLEY TRIEST, a seventy-four-year-old white woman. She is seated at a diningroom table. Yvonne Rainer questions her from offscreen.
YVONNE RAINER (v-o): Did you have any symptoms, like hot flashes?
SHIRLEY: No, nothing at all.
YVONNE R.: Then we have no story here.
SHIRLEY (laughing): Yes, we have no story here. I told you … the parts of me that work, work very well!

MS, interview with HELENE MOGLEN, a white woman in her late fifties. She is seated in front of windows which look out on trees and distant hills.
HELENE: Yes, I realize that one of the things that has made it so much of a positive experience for me is that my life is so very comfortable. So I have genuine alternatives now that I can take advantage of. […]

Film clip from TV movie Between Friends. Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett are drinking white wine in a fire-lit, well furnished room.
TAYLOR: Well, it’s no big deal […] for him. He doesn’t have a uterus. Anyway, I don’t want to go around uterusless.
BURNETT: Y’know, when you’re over forty the whole apparatus seems to reorganize. Wouldn’t y’know, after all these years I finally got my head together and my ass falls apart. (They both laugh.) Oh god, I’m going to will menopause away!

Cut to black velvet drapes. Audience applause is heard as YVONNE RAINER enters and sits down in CU. She is a white woman in her midfifties. She removes her glasses and earrings, and then looks directly at the camera. Music begins: Chet Baker playing “My Funny Valentine” on the trumpet. Intertitles appear on a word-processor screen.

A Film by
Yvonne Rainer
and Many Others
special guest appearance by

Footage from an educational film on menopause: A white, middle-aged male DOCTOR, sitting in a garden, addresses the camera.
DOCTOR: In our counseling we emphasize the fact that even though the role of motherhood is over, the menopausal patient can now enter a new role as a wife and a woman, a role which needs redirection and reevaluation. […]

YVONNE R. reappears in front of black drapes. Music fades out. She smears flaming red lipstick over her lips without regard for accuracy, then begins to read aloud:
YVONNE R. (sync): It’s sort of appropriate that this is my last major, I think, public address here to talk to women […]

MS of CLAUDIA GREGORY, an African-American woman signing in American Sign Language (ASL). She stands center-frame in front of the black drapes. YVONNE R. (still speaking in sync) appears in a small oval in the lower right corner:
[W]e talk all this equal rights, and we beg men for equal rights and we’ve achieved nothing. Like—I could say a rude word, I’m an Australian, but I won’t say it. […]

A Film by
Yvonne Washington
and Many Others

YVONNE WASHINGTON (v-o): I was bone tired. I had been careening around the country at a break-neck pace.
Again cut to SIGNER in front of black velours, signing the v-o. […]
YVONNE R. reappears in lower right corner. ASL SIGNER continues to interpret center-frame.
YVONNE R. (sync): OK, nuclear war. Every single town and city in your country is targeted with at least one bomb. […] If you drop a big bomb on a reactor, you can terminate permanentely an area the size of West Germany. […]

Helen Caldicott, 1986

ASL SIGNER reappears, still center-frame, YVONNE R. is gone. […]
YVONNE W. (v-o): […] Menopause is a well-kept secret, something you don’t want to know about unless you’re a woman who […]
CU of YVONNE R.’s face center frame. Her voice is muted behind that of
YVONNE W. (v-o): … let herself go.


Privilege by Yvonne Rainer, 16 mm, color and black & white, 103 min., 1990. In: Yvonne Rainer, A Woman Who …, The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore 1999. Quotes: pp. 285-291.
© Yvonne Rainer 1990 (film) & 1999 (script)
For the film see: