Arturo Gomez Molina
Founders of Ovarian Psycos feminist group presented “Ovarian Psycos: A Screening and Conversation on Activism in East L.A.” Tuesday night at Scripps College.
The screening and discussion that followed were a part of “Scripps Presents,” a series of events debuted last year which invite audiences to have a conversation with storytellers, musicians, policymakers and activists who are actively seeking to change the world they live in.
“Before we start the film, I want you guys to be critical of what you are seeing,” Ovarian Psycos founding member Xela de la X said. “Look for what it is lacking and see how we are being portrayed by white women.”
De la X and Jocelyn Hernandez, also known as “Joss the Boss,” are both founding members of Ovarian Psycos and spoke to the audience before the screening of the film at Garrison Theatre.
Ovarian Psycos was established in 2011 as a community organization for women of color in East Los Angeles to band together and fight the ongoing battle of oppression they face every day.
The organization hosts various workshops, fundraisers and bike rides on the South and East side of Los Angeles.
Almost all bike rides are for women only.
“People say to me, ‘What if there were bike rides just for guys?’” Hernandez said in a Q&A after the film. “I tell them everything in this world is ‘just for guys,’ and we want our own respectable space.”
The film followed de la X, Hernandez and other founding members in their everyday lives and as an organization. It showcased event planning meetings, massive bike rides, spiritual rituals and one-on-ones with select members and their personal struggles.
After the screening de la X and Hernandez sat down with Assistant Professor of Chicano Studies Martha Gonzalez on stage. They used the time primarily to ask the audience for feedback on film.
Many women in the crowd said the film was romanticized and gave the typical mainstream look at East Los Angeles.
De la X and Hernandez both agreed and said the filmmakers were not completely transparent with everything they were doing as it was promised when filming began.
De la X said since the debut of the film in 2016 it has been distributed to companies like Netflix and Virgin Airlines and is making the filmmakers money that neither Ovarian Psycos nor their neighborhoods have seen.
“These women came out swinging and I would not have expected any less,” Gonzalez said. “I hope the audience saw the real side of the women that were being portrayed and that they think twice when going into neighborhoods like theirs for the purpose of their thesis.”
Gonzalez said she was invited to moderate the event by the director of public events and community programs, Corrina Lesser.
De la X and Hernandez said they are actively looking to make a second film without any outside help. They want to tell the story the way they intended to tell it.
“We are all super vigilant and critical to all academics using our work,” de la X said. “Reach out to us before screening and stop excluding us. We still exist.”
Ovarian Psycos are still heavily involved in the East Los Angeles community. Their bimonthly, year-long workshop Combat Bootcamp helps community members get involved in different projects that support community building. They are also looking to open more chapters in different cities and plan to roll out starter kits for anyone interested.
Arturo Gomez Molina can be contacted at email@example.com.