Gorgeous photo series reclaims femme sexuality and challenges gender expectations
September 12, 2017
If I didn’t censor out the models nipple in the banner photo above, Facebook would remove it for violating their “community standards.” This is only because the model is read as a woman.
Maggie West is here to say, “fuck that!”
The photographer’s latest project, a photo series and art installation titled “98” (inspired by the Department of Justice statistic that a sexual assault happens in America every 98 seconds), challenges the patriarchal view that women must fulfill some ridiculous standard of purity at all times, seeking to reclaim the sexuality inherent to all (non)genders but denied only to some. According to The Huffington Post, “the installation was inspired by stained glass artwork, and was funded by the Amber Rose Foundation and the upmarket sex toy company Lelo.” The installation will be unveiled on October 1st, the day of the third annual Amber Rose SlutWalk, in Downtown Los Angeles.
As is West’s signature, the nude photos use neon lights to create intimate portraits of women and femmes, and includes queer and trans models. “98” flips the script on patriarchal standards, celebrating the bodies and sexuality of all kinds of women and femmes.
“Throughout history, most women depicted in stained glass artwork are saints,” West told HuffPo. “The majority of these saints were virgins, many of whom suffered gruesome violent deaths rather than lose their ‘purity.’ [But] Rather than be celebrated for their purity, this piece […] pays tribute to women’s freedom to sexually express themselves and protest sexual violence.”
Check out some of the gorgeous photos below!
Per HuffPo: “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.”
Per HuffPo: 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.”