9 Photos That Capture The Spirit Of SlutWalk (NSFW)

Artist Maggie West is sick of women being seen as only "pure" or "virginal." She tells Refinery29 that, in her art, she aims to depict women as they are — and that often means that they're completely comfortable in their bodies and sexually empowered. But most importantly, she depicts women in environments where they are safe from shame and violence.
"The prevalence of sexual assault in this country is insane," West says, citing the common statistic that every 98 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. West's latest work, a photography installation aptly titled 98, aims to shine a light on this issue.
Created to emulate a stained glass ceiling, 98 features nude portraits of 40 different women (rather than religious icons normally seen in this medium). It will be on display at Amber Rose's annual SlutWalk on October 1. As attendees gather in downtown LA to fight sexual harassment and discrimination, they can walk underneath the installation and view the portraits overhead.
"All women have experienced the type of harassment, violence, and discrimination SlutWalk was designed to protest," West says. "I created this piece to both remind viewers of the pervasiveness of this problem, as well as celebrate women's sexual freedom."
These two themes, resistance as well as celebration, come through in West's photos. Shot in dreamy, colorful lighting, her subjects are women from all walks of life — West lists trans women, sex workers, actors, and YouTube stars among them. While some of the women bare it all directly to the camera, others pose in a way that conceals parts of their bodies. West explains that she gave each woman the freedom to express herself sexually as she saw fit.
In a time when taking (and possibly sharing) nude photos can get women banned from social media or publicly shamed, West's work reminds women that they shouldn't feel obligated to hide their bodies: "If a woman chooses to express herself sexually... she still deserves to live her life without harassment or threats of violence."
Ahead, view a selection of West's portraits. And if you're attending the Walk this Sunday, be sure to experience 98 in its entirety in Pershing Square.