Stage 9
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English
Talk
Beginner
Live Nude Girls: Feminist Art & Sex Work in the Digital Age

Short thesis

From cam girls to performance artists, independent content providers are demanding ownership over their own bodies and representation. Sexualized images of the female body have historically served the male gaze and been exploited for profit. Today's artists and sex workers are no longer dependent on gatekeepers such as galleries and agencies. Using tools such as live-streaming and social media, they can cultivate their own brand and clients - and in some cases, develop their own platforms for distribution. What are the revolutionary possibilities and contradictions facing women selling sex on the Internet?

Description

The Internet has revolutionized art and sex work. While women have historically been underrepresented in the art world, women today have unprecedented control over how they depict themselves. Meanwhile, sex work has become democratized - making it possible for anyone with an Internet connection to sell intimacy and their body. How are sex workers and feminist artists paving the way for a future free of capitalism and patriarchy?

Historically, the female body has served the male gaze and been exploited for profit. Social media platforms such as Snapchat, Tumblr, and Instagram enable women to become independent content creation and subvert the narrative of the passive female "muse". Yet these same corporations also directly profit from user-generated content and the images distributed by them are often geared toward titillating men. Do these tools create real alternatives to exploitation or have they merely replaced traditional gatekeepers (such as galleries or escort agencies) with new ones (multinational Internet companies)? What are the revolutionary possibilities and contradictions facing women who working on the Internet?