@slut_wave unites female-identifying people all over the world as part of a celebration of diversity
“There is ONLY intersectional feminism,” Musa, the New Orleans based artist and DJ behind @slut_wave, explains. Scroll Musa’s grid and you’ll see women of all kinds being uplifted for the beauty in their difference. “My end goal is that anyone browsing the feed can find something that they identify with. That being said, I don't appreciate perfection or unrealistic expectations of beauty. I try to stay away from images that send messages emphasising the irrational need for women to be ‘perfect’. We deal with and dodge that enough as it is.”
There’s a lot of talk about social media being bad for our mental health, but @slut_wave’s aim is to make you feel good about the bits society has told you is bad. “Insta is effective in the way that it globally brings people together over the shared enjoyment of images and opinions,” Musa says, of using social media as a political tool for unity. “But I have a hard time with the platform because of its puritanical censorship of nudity, coupled with the protection of male aggressors. I receive a gross amount of male harassment simply because my handle features the word ‘slut’ in it. I get sent unsolicited pictures of genitals, solicited for sex, am assumed to be a prostitute, am bullied, etc. If I post screenshots of the people harassing me, the materials are almost always removed by Instagram, and I mysteriously lose my posting 'privileges' for weeks at a time, with no explanation. It's an inner conflict for me.”
This kind of censorship is something we’re seeing more and more from the social site – with accounts like @salty.world and @nakedboysreading, among many more, losing their accounts just this week due to Instagram’s questionable, confusing, and oppressive guidelines. But @slut_wave takes life outside of the internet too.
“I started Slut-Wave as an online radio show, that was featured on a now irrelevant radio collective associated with a contemporary art gallery,” Musa tells us. “It was a sex-positive talk radio & music show, featuring music about sex where women aren't trash. After being assaulted by one of the owners of said radio collective, I moved the show to a New Orleans FM radio station, WHIV FM, which is dedicated to human rights and social justice. I did that for a while, but was always getting in trouble for cursing or playing music with naughty words, and just found it to be a platform that wasn't for me. Slut-Wave branched out into a dance party in New Orleans, featuring female identifying hosts, DJs, and a safe space for women to party. The @slut_wave Instagram has become the crux for uniting female-identifying people all over the world.”
Censorship is everywhere, especially when it comes to the policing of non-normative bodies – be they fat, of colour, queer, or nude. But it’s accounts like @slut_wave that are the antidote to the kind of disempowerment these censoring structures make many of us feel. “@slut_wave is a place where people can find beauty and power in unconventional images of women.”
And it’s all by the community of women who follow and support the Instagram: with Musa posting images from within her community – a global space to uplift each other. It’s a space where people go to be together, to support. And when people don’t: “I will say that, I have a zero tolerance policy for bullying or insulting comments, because fuck that. Blocking comes in handy then.”