tech

SECOND SEX WAR Exhibition Explores Gender Identity in VR Pornography

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The SECOND SEX WAR exhibition by Sidsel Meineche Hansen uses an Oculus Rift and three-dimensional (3D) animations to explore how gender is reproduced in virtual reality (VR) sex videos.

Hansen is well known for her exhibitions and seminars that review the body and its industrial complex. Her latest exhibition, commissioned by Gasworks, London, uses common sexual representations of the female form to highlight the polarity of gender in adult content currently available for virtual reality.

Rob Sharp from Artsy described the exhibit:

“Looking down while wearing an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, the viewer sees a computer-generated torso gyrating erotically around an abstract shape. Pulsating music blasts in the background as the camera angle automatically shifts to view a sexualized avatar’s unmistakably female face.”

SECOND SEX WAR refers to the feminist sex wars of the 1970s and 80s when the nature of explicit content was under debate. While a large slice of feminists believed women’s bodies were being exploited by the patriarchy, others considered female nudity an empowering aspect of free speech. Hansen’s latest work adds a fresh perspective. She subscribes to neither view presented in the sex wars, and instead, offers an alternative.

Read the full piece at Future of Sex. 

Image via: myvirtuallady

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HerSwab Lets Women Test Themselves for Cervical Cancer and HPV

Detect sexually transmitted infections from the comfort of your own home.

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Cervical cancer is the 14th most prevalent cancer in the world. According to the World Health Organization, the disease affects 530,000 women each year and takes 275,000 lives.

However, it is the easiest cancer to prevent among women when proper screening and follow-up take place. Lesions found via pap smears can be treated before they become cancerous, and early stage cervical cancer can be managed relatively well. The crucial factor in stopping the disease is to find it before it reaches an advanced stage.

Many women affected don’t have access to sexual health care. Without being regularly tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), they are at risk of becoming infertile or developing cervical cancer.

Even those of us with access to sexual health care often aren’t tested as regularly as we should be. Pap smears and STI tests aren’t fun. They can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Many women are reluctant to be tested for fear of judgement and discrimination from their doctors.

That’s why Jessica Ching, co-founder of Toronto-based sexual health startup Eve Medical, createdHerSwab. While speaking with women about an upcoming appointment, she was prompted to find an alternative way to manage sexual health.

Read the full piece at Future of Sex. 

Image source: Manuel Medina

New Background Check Technology can Thwart Sexual Violence and Harassment

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Facial recognition and text analysis are preventing women from meeting attackers.

There was no way for Katia to know the man she’d met online was planning to rape her. Like many women using online dating apps and websites, she was cautious and did everything right.

On the night of their first date, the college graduate told her mother and best friend where she would be. She presumed safety in the public locale of a city bar, and she was right, for a time.

Katia continued to see the man, text him, and speak to him on the phone. Having gained her trust, he was privy to her home address. It wasn’t until after the fourth date that things started to go wrong.

One night the man she’d met online, and had considered up until that point to be a “cool guy,” showed up at her apartment with a bottle of wine laced with Rohypnol and raped her.

Katia was beaten and threatened at knifepoint in a five-hour aggravated rape and assault. Despite surviving the ordeal, her life was torn apart. And sadly, even retrospectively, there had been no way to predict it—until now.

New and innovative reverse image searching

Named after one of the many victims of aggravated rape, KATIA aims to stop women from ever meeting an attacker. Responding to the flaws of traditional background checks, which require both first and last names, the program takes advantage of the assets women often have: pictures and text.

An evidence-based rape screening tool, the program uses two unique programming techniques with “R,” a statistical computer and graphics language, to highlight potential dangers.

Read the full post at Future of Sex.

Image source: NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons License 

Smart Jewelry to Protect Women from Sexual Assault

walking1Athena, a wearable smart device intended to protect women from assault, is the first product released by social justice innovators Roar for Good.

Easily clipped to bags or clothing, the piece of smart jewelry allows women a subtle way to call for help should they ever feel unsafe or threatened.

Pressing the button for three seconds causes Athena to emit a loud alarm while sending a distress message with its wearer’s GPS location to stored emergency contacts. The concave structure of the button prevents accidental alarms, and pressing the button quickly three times sends a silent message when its user is in need of discretion.

Roar for Good co-founder and Chief Executive Yasmine Mustafa explained the thought process behind the device’s capabilities in an interview with Her Philly.

“We talked to police and self-defense instructors and asked them what would work best in terms of a deterrent that can’t be used against the wearer,” she said. “Existing self-defense tools double as weapons and we learned women are afraid they’ll be overpowered and they’re own device would be used against them.”

Read the full piece at Future of Sex.

Image via Michael.

Biohackers Want to Save Lives with DIY Gynaecology

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Despite the achievements of feminism, thousands of women around the world remain deprived of safe gynaecological treatment. Sex workers, immigrants, and the uninsured are just a few who fall through the bureaucratic gaps that deny them life-changing service. However, a collective of biohackers and feminists aims to change this. By harnessing recyclable electronics and information sharing, this group of “Gynepunks” is riding the wave of do-it-yourself gynaecology.

Do-it-yourself-gynaecology isn’t a new idea. Conceived during the feminist movement of the 1970s, it was a response to both a lack of available services and the male-dominated field that women found onerous and judgemental.

Options at this stage were limited. Primarily, women learned about “gynaecological self-help” through feminist events and publications. After the cervical-self-exam took off in 1972, women became increasingly excited to learn about their bodies and how to treat them.

Read the full piece at Future of Sex

Image via National Eye Institute

On-Demand Sexual Health Apps Offer Peace of Mind and LGBT-Inclusive Products

Sexual health app Screet is getting a “super-queer reboot.”

Originally conceived during the 2015 Startup Bus Competition, a three-day bus ride/hackathon, the app spawned from a sleepy, 5am suggestion to create an “Uber for condoms.” But after learning the market had been filled by providers like L International and Durex, a group of innovators changed focus.

Instead, Screet co-founder Creatrix Tiara found a gap in on-demand sexual health products and contraception, specifically those aimed at women and members of the LGBT community. And although the original Startup Bus team has dissolved, Tiara is still fighting to make Screet the go-to place for inclusive, accessible products.

Read the full piece at Future of Sex.

Image via Tanay Mondal.

Could Virtual Reality Revolutionize Safety for Sex Workers?

29-year-old Ela Darling is taking back her power via virtual reality. Beginning as a teen model and librarian, the now co-founder of VR adult entertainment company VRtube [NSFW], and secretary of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) is making a keen dip into the world of holograms.

In this piece I explore the ways that virtual reality is enabling female performers to take control of their careers, safety and lives.

Read the full article at Future of Sex.

Image: brh_images