Stunning Portrait Series Disrupts Society’s Notions Of Feminine Sexuality
| Maggie West is tired of seeing women forced into sainthood.
Her new project, an art installation called “98,” removes the concepts of sainthood and purity from femininity and lets feminine sexuality shine on its own. The installation was inspired by stained glass artwork, and was funded by the Amber Rose Foundation and the upmarket sex toy company Lelo. It will be unveiled on October 1, the day of the third annual Amber Rose SlutWalk, in Downtown Los Angeles.
“Throughout history, most women depicted in stained glass artwork are saints,” West said. “The majority of these saints were virgins, many of whom suffered gruesome violent deaths rather than lose their ‘purity.’”
But with “98,” she’s flipped the script.
“Rather than be celebrated for their purity, this piece ... pays tribute to women’s freedom to sexually express themselves and protest sexual violence.” West chose to call it “98″ based on the Department of Justice statistic that every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
West took intimate portraits of women and femmes in her signature neon portrait style for the project. The nude portraits are an absolute celebration of what so many women and femmes and shamed for: their bodies, their sexuality and their sexual desires.
West’s models are be incredibly diverse ― from gender expression to ethnicity to profession ― but they all have one unifying thread.
“All women (including queer women, trans women, sex workers, etc.) have experienced the type of harassment, violence and discrimination SlutWalk was designed to protest,” West said.
Check out some of the stunning portraits, and read why some of the models participated in West’s project, below.
“I stand as a trans women of color, proud of my body, and feel like it shouldn’t be policed without my consent,” Isis King, a trans model, told West. “The attention is misdirected and a victim should never shamed because of their self expression through clothes.”
“Growing up as a questioning, genderqueer individual I was often subjected to sexual harassment and threats of violence for not adequately performing masculinity and heteronormativity such that I am still scared to leave my
house,” Luka Fisher told West.
Jazzmyne Robbins said, “I wanted to participate in this series to exemplify that a woman can be powerful and confident in my sexuality without ‘asking for it.’ This was solely for me and my journey.”
“We live in an age where misogyny is the norm and Slutwalk is an opportunity for Women to come together and freely express the divine power of their sexuality,” Alaska Thunderfuck, a RuPaul Drag Race winner, said.
Whitney Bell, a writer and activist, told West that “an unashamed woman is a mighty powerful force, but a hoard of women who’ve taken to the streets to shed their shame — well that’s unstoppable.”