Concerning the Sext: Digital Regulation of Female Sexuality through Revenge Pornography
The amorous photographies of today arrive at the end of a historical practice of imaging nude female bodies, but two new elements have been introduced: first, the sexual imaging of women by women themselves, and second, their non-consensual online dissemination. This paper examines how revenge pornography constructed by consensually—but privately—shared sexts, punishes female sexuality in the digital sphere, both through the dissemination of its imagery and through cultures which propagate digital spaces dedicated to revenge porn. This is not only a question of socio-sexual uses of photography but of a digitally amplified, surveillant male eye, which watches, surveys, and decrees what is permissible about female sexuality, through the image.
“Pudicated” Nudity: Reading PETA’s “Nakedness” through the Aphrodite of Knidos
The first female nude depicted in Western history—the now famous Knidian Aphrodite, is often called the original Venus pudica, for the famous gesture she makes to cover her pubis. “Pudica,” a derivative of the Latin “pudere,” (which itself derives from the Greek αἰδώς/aidos), denotes both modesty and shame, from the original definition of the Latin verb. This Graeco-Latin root is also used medically in reference to the external genitalia as early as Claudius Galen in the 3rd century (Draper, 2020), thereby forever collapsing together sexuality and the morals by which it is culturally bound. This research works to understand modern nudity framing using a case study of PETA’s 30-year-long (1999-2020) “Rather Go Naked” campaign, through the gesture made famous by Praxiteles’ Aphrodite so long ago—a gesture which both references and replicates the implications of the original Venus pudica.
Radical fluidity: The menstrual cup’s feminist inscription upon the corporeal
As it stands, Western representation of the female is perpetually as deviant, and this consistently takes its form in the cultural (mis)treatment of menstruation. This research examines that treatment in the context of corporeal feminism; a politics that considers a culture’s negotiations with the bodily form representative of, and crucial in perpetuating, ideologies related to that body’s gender, as well as the body as a site of ideological production and change. It will consider corporeality in light of andro-political technologies positing the menstrual cup as an alternative technology which, in its construction and application, forces us to reconsider the modes of technologically enabled suppression of a sexually differentiated form, problematising binaries and reconsidering the female position in cultural space.