GALLERY: Maggie West’s Neon NSFW Full-Frontal Fight Against Rape Culture

Celebrating women’s bodies; protesting gender inequality, sexual harassment, and police violence; and lifting each other up is essential feminist work. In a new art installation, Los Angeles-based photographer Maggie West, who specializes in experimental technicolor lighting and whose work increasingly critiques still-rigid contemporary ideas about gender and sexuality, worked with 40 women subjects — including Stephanie Beatriz, Joanna Angel, Nikki Hearts, Gaby Dunn, Trace Lysette, Alexis Zall, Isis King and more — to do just 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,” says Whitney Bell, one of the women featured.

Part of Amber Rose’s third Slutwalk, 96 is an outdoor steel-and-plexiglass art installation, with nudes printed on triangles to form an outdoor stained glass ceiling in the middle of Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. A play on the idea of women saints depicted in stained glass as a celebration of their purity, in 96, West celebrates women’s freedom to sexual self-expression and to protest sexual violence. In an artist statement, West notes, “The title, 98, is taken from a Department of Justice statistic that says every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.”

The project includes 40 women, including queer women and trans women — artists, sex workers, actors, models, photographers, and the internet famous — to help highlight the unavoidable experience of sexual harassment. “Diversity is a very important part of this project. All women (including queer women, trans women, sex workers, etc.) have experienced the type of harassment, violence and discrimination Slutwalk was designed to protest,” says West. “This installation brings together women of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexual orientations to send a message about a woman’s right to sexual expression without experiencing threats or violence.”

96 opens October 1. Can’t get to downtown LA or want a preview? Check out a selection of the work below.

Stephanie Beatriz by Maggie West

Megan Lytle by Maggie West

Paulina Hurtado by Maggie West

Gaby Dunn by Maggie West

Ana Foxxx by Maggie West

Arisce Wanzer by Maggie West

Tanya Negin by Maggie West

Kellee Moran by Maggie West

Keisha Grey by Maggie West

Leigh Raven by Maggie West

Nikki Hearts by Maggie West

Jazzmyne Robbins by Maggie West

Sanam Sindhi by Maggie West

Caroline Miner by Maggie West

Isis King by Maggie West

Crissy Milazzo by Maggie West

Riley Nixon by Maggie West

Stephanie Frosch by Maggie West

Luna Lovebad by Maggie West

Gia Gunn by Maggie West


Are you following us on Facebook?

Profile gravatar of Carolyn Yates

Carolyn Yates is the NSFW Editor and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Bitch, Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She recently moved to Los Angeles from Montreal. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 761 articles for us.

10 Comments

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.