American culture is hyper-sexualized. Nearly every commercial exchange is marketed in a way that instructs audiences to want sex, have sex, or be sex. Additionally, and disturbingly so, has increased the sexualization of children. It is now so frequent that it has become normal, signaling that many are desensitized to their own children being subjects and targets of sexual objectification.
In the same breath, we are hypocritically prudish. The topic of sex is avoided at dinner tables, in classrooms, and in public spaces resulting in a society that develops into sexual maturity in solitude, or seeks out alternatives such porn, and distorted popular culture to fuel its sex education. This foundation begins when children are old that sex is for adults. It becomes known as “it” and from the beginning sex is something that is dirty. This Victorian approach clearly is inadequate as many children sadly first experience sex as a shock, in sufferance and/or too soon. Then regardless of childhood we become adults. Nowhere do we ever become sexual beings. We always were, regardless of gender and or age. Yet somewhere along the line, we come to the current state of sexual identity that we now lay claim to as individuals and as a society.
Fishnets, Lace and Family photos is a visual exploration and juxtaposition of this private yet present biographical (and biological) narration that takes place within all. As I did this work, it because visual that the woman that I am now is due to the experiences that I had as a child, and my present sexual identity: my likes, dislikes, attractions, etc., are also the conclusive result of who my childhood identity. While the work is uncomfortable to view, especially in public, it begs me to ask, what responsibility, if any, do we have to ourselves, and our children to develop into our sexual identities without shame and in a way that is healthy? When does this transformation truly begin to take place and is it ever finished?