Sarah Massey

Sarah Massey BA (Hons) Fine Art 2020

In a world where social media is used more than ever before, it’s overlooked that the images we see online are overly sexual. Whether the photos shared are promoting a fitness brand or just someone posing in a mirror, the images are sexually charged with the focus being on a body in an erotic pose. My work confronts the images seen on our screens by placing them directly in front of the viewer in the form of sculpture. My interactive leather sculptures position and manipulate the viewer’s body into the sexual poses that are casually shared over social media feeds. By physically positioning the viewer into uncomfortable poses, my work draws attention and generates questions about the normalised trend of sexual objectification that happens everyday infront of our eyes.

My work is directly influenced by images of women promoting fitness equipment and gymwear that I had seen shared on social media. Although the images are supposed to be promoting the fitness industry, there is often little or no emphasis on the fitness aspect of the image, just a highly sexualised body performing a sexy pose which has no relation to the product or gymwear being advertised. My research has shown that instead of encouraging people to go to the gym these images make individuals feel discontent with their own bodies and promote the posting of sexually objectifying images of yourself online. I combine the fitness aspect and sexual imagery into one by using materials such as leather which evokes experiences of wipe down gym equipment but is also suggestive of BDSM and fetish wear. My work’s raunchy nature directly highlights these issues and invites the viewer to interact with and be sexually objectified by the sculptures whilst creating conversations about the harmful nature of social media in a real-life environment.