—intro + interview by Bianca Betancourt @bybiancabee
In the same ways that love and sex can be fiercely exhilarating, they can be just as equally emotionally tragic. Artist and filmmaker Ricardo Bouyett explores this concept in his latest short film "No Love For Fuckboys"—a visual creative piece that is a response to his own experience of exploring love and hookup culture post sexual assault.
CIRCUS spoke with Bouyett regarding his personal inspiration behind the film and why now more than ever it's so vital for POC and queer creatives to share their stories. Read our Q&A with Bouyett below and peep the premiere of "No Love For Fuckboys", above.
CIRCUS: Tell us about how the "Oh Bouy" Collective started and how participating in that led to the creation of this short film.
BOUYETT: I created “Oh Bouy” because therapy was too expensive and I found more healing in creating this body of work than I would have otherwise. The collective was split into four parts: two short films and two fine art zines all exploring different facets of my recovery, my PTSD, and life after. In the last volume of the collective I wrote a poem about how I was sleeping with men to hide parts of myself so I wouldn’t have to deal with my PTSD. There was a line I wrote where I said, “I learned that there is no such thing as love for fuckboys when I fucked these men over and under my bed through the crevices between my veins. Fucking them physically, spiritually, thinking I am closer to salvation by pumping blood that carried their names to my heart.” I was holding myself accountable for the toxic behavior I started to engage in for the sake of avoiding the hard truth about where I was in my recovery. When I moved back to Chicago this past January I decided to expand on that idea and just talk about what navigating the dating scene since the assault had been like. How wanting to be touched but not wanting to be triggered is a ropewalk over the Atlantic.
CIRCUS: Many survivors of sexual assault don't speak up afterwards–why did you decide to not only speak out but create a visual in response to how one's life changes afterwards?
BOUYETT: Because many survivors of sexual assault can’t speak up afterwards. That’s why I do it. As a Latino man who can pass for White or for Puerto Rican I can navigate through different lines of privilege that not many women, men, or non-binary individuals can. When I first started making work about my experience in college people mocked me, didn’t believe it actually happened, and made it increasingly difficult for me to feel like sharing my story mattered. But I made it a point to myself that I had to keep making work and speaking out against rape culture so others in my position who are unable to speak out can feel like someone has their back. That someone that might look like them has been through it and that recovery is possible. It’s hard, I have my lapses, and sometimes I want to quit. But in an America where women, men, and non-binary people of all races are being targeted simply for being who they are, I have a responsibility to speak out.
CIRCUS: You mentioned in your director's note how leaving Chicago to live in Maryland for a few months was a culture shock experience. Why do you think Chicago is so important as a home to not just POCs but also the queer community as well?
BOUYETT: Living in Maryland for 8 months was a culture shock simply because I hadn’t lived in any other state other than Illinois. When I moved there and started working in the northeastern region of the state I started to see and experience more racism than I ever had in my entire life. While in Illinois friends would whitewash me or guys would fetishize me for being Puerto Rican, people in Maryland would try to get me deported just because my name was “Ricardo” and they felt deceived because the way I dressed and spoke had them convinced I was a white boy from New York. Not to say that all of Maryland is like this, just the region I was living in. When writing about that experience I wasn’t necessarily speaking highly of Chicago either. While Chicago isn’t perfect, it certainly is more welcoming of different racial backgrounds. From the neighborhoods, to the sense of community and camaraderie amongst people in the city, Chicago feels almost like a hot spring for creativity, collaboration, and community. Coming back was all about reclaiming the parts of myself that I let my rapist keep, and now with the release of my new film, I have done just that.