One student's nearly-nude campus protest against sexual assault
There were a variety of ways in which people honored sexual assault awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. Some wore red lipstick all month long for the #redmylips awareness campaign, on April 29th, supporters wore jeans for the sexual assault awareness event Denim Day, and on April 27th, Texas State studio art major Monica Rostvold stood up for sexual assault awareness by wearing (almost) nothing at all.
As USA Today reports, the college junior created a performance art piece in which she sat on the steps of the school’s Albert B. Alkek Library for 45 minutes wearing only nude pasties, a nude thong, a red blindfold, and headphones.
“I wanted to create a piece about how women are seen as sexual objects, and how the female body is objectified,” Rostvold explained to USA Today. “In society, there is so much pressure for people to be ‘sexy.’ I wanted to talk about how our bodies are seen as sexual objects, and I feel like sexual assault falls under that. If our bodies were seen as natural, maybe assault wouldn’t happen as often.”
For the forty-five minute duration of the performance piece, no explanation was given, and passerbys were left to come up with their own interpretations as to what was going on. Later, Rostvold took to Instagram to give her piece context.
“I want people to view my body as beauty and power and not a sexual object,” Rostvold explained in the text accompanying the shot. A survivors of sexual assault and a friend of survivors, Rostvold created a piece for Sexual Assault Awareness Month exploring “the standards that exist in our society” and, by doing so, she resolved to “…take control of my body by eliminating my presence and exposing myself.”
We are thrilled that this inspired young artist made this bold statement and created a piece that is both so personal and powerful. It sounds like Rostvold was also pretty thrilled with how the piece turned out.
“I honestly didn’t expect it to be as moving or spread so much awareness. I didn’t realize how much people connected with it on a personal level…everyone is really supportive and connected, and I’m happy (the performance piece) sparked conversation.”