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Feminist artist recalls her adolescent curiosity in works that explore online sexuality

Photo of Anne Hirsch by Joe Schmelzer (via Anne Hirsch/Facebook)

Ann Hirsch isn’t afraid to expose herself on the internet.

The artist and feminist critic has been staging video and new media works focusing on her body, in galleries and on the internet, for the past decade as part of her mission to explore the role of women and female sexuality online. In her newest show at a gallery in London, Hirsch depicts herself as a pre-teen in the 1990s, chatting online with an older male as the conversation quickly becomes sexual. Hirsh said she realized as she grew older that she felt shame about exploring her sexuality online, and felt exploited by an older male looking to feel power and dominance with a young girl on the internet.

“The dominant way women are viewed on the internet is through pornography. I wanted to present an alternative way to look at a woman’s body other than through oppressing her, degrading her, having her look a certain way, act a certain way,” Hirsch told The Guardian.

Hirsch has also created YouTube videos questioning the types of women depicted online, from booty-shaking dancers who don’t speak to those who hide any evidence of their sexuality in pursuit of seriousness.

“Now, as a woman, how do I show myself online [in a way] that feels like it’s moving a conversation forward, doing something new and showing women in a way that they’re not normally seen?” She said. “I’m sure that in five more years, everyone will be showing their vagina on the internet.”

Read the full profile of Hirsch in The Guardian.

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