Fruit for Feminism
Social media has completely changed the way that people interact with and view art, as well as how artists share their work with the world.
Now more than ever, amateur and professional artists alike can share their art with the masses in entirely new ways, and none is complete without various social media accounts or an entire website to promote their creativity and brand.
But what happens when art becomes so provocative as to test the policy guidelines laid out by social media? Feminist artist Stephanie Sarley found out the hard way that, in an age of unprecedented digital sharing, this progressive app culture can be resistant to even the most abstract depictions of female sexuality.
Find out why this fruit was too hot for Instagram…
27-year-old Stephanie Sarley is an Oakland-based artist who specializes in painting and digital illustration. Her bold and unique work consists largely of suggestive, if not outright sexual depictions of the female genitalia, both with personified drawings of vaginas as well as sensual photography and even plenty of phallic work.
The author of Dick Dog and Friends Coloring Book, it’s no surprise that Sarley’s work is playful, sexual, and powerful in nature. But what got her banned from Instagram for a period back in March wasn’t even her most explicit work, but rather videos and photographs that only hinted at the female sex organs: a series fruit art videos that has been affectionately coined as “Fruit for Feminism.”
It All Started With a Blood Orange
“You. Are. Genius.” That’s how New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz hailed Sarley after first seeing her series of erotic fruit videos that have left followers on Instagram both in awe or utter confusion over the nature of her work. The series, which ranges from blood oranges and lemons to papaya and avocado, features Sarley sensually rubbing her finger over the pulpy, membranous surfaces of halved fruits before penetrating them, releasing both juices and seeds in unexpected bursts. Though we’re raised being told not to play with our food, Sarley has gone far beyond toying with her finger food, transforming these short recordings of fruit into carnal art that, while stirring something dark and even dirty deep within our minds, remains, at surface value, entirely innocent. Unfortunately, Instagram didn’t agree.