Stephanie Sarley gives “Food Porn” new meaning with Viral Instagram Videos

By Kira Barrett
For Unwind magazine

Stephanie Sarley’s artwork creates a whole new meaning to the term “food porn.” Sarley, a contemporary artist from Oakland, California, is recognized for her many different types of artwork, but is most famous for her “fruit-fingering” videos on Instagram.

Sarley’s biggest viral video is one of her fingering a blood orange that’s been cut in half. Her finger caresses the centerline of the orange tenderly, and at the end of the video, Sarley punctures the grapefruit with her finger, and juice squirts everywhere.

Obviously, this is an imitation of the female orgasm, as Sarley herself has stated. What’s interesting is the accuracy of the artist’s work. The subject of the video, “a piece of grapefruit,” is innocent enough, but looking at the video feels like literally watching porn, similar to the food orgy at the end of the recent movie Sausage Party. For those who missed it, the scene depicts cartoon characters of food involved in an intense orgy. Although it’s just animated food, the scene left viewers surprised and even disgusted.

Upon showing Sarley’s fruit videos to University of Maryland students, the main reaction was silence. People were enthralled by the video, and often too uncomfortable to say anything. At the end of the video, there was a lot of nervous laughter, a couple “what the f*cks?” and a few comments like, “Oh, I think I saw that on Instagram.”

People also called the video awkward or weird. Sarley intends for those types of reactions to her artwork. Many people are uncomfortable with the female body, and Sarley aims to de-stigmatize it.

“I didn’t invent fingering fruit,” Sarley said in an article. “It’s a natural thing to finger things, to play with your food. But, what I invented was a compelling video that meant something to people, about menstruation and virginity and sex and love. It meant so many different things.”

Sarley says her work is meant to be playful also. She enjoys that her work amuses and arouses people, as well as makes people think.

Sarley’s other prominent works include different portrayals of the female and male body, including a popular coloring book called “Dog Dick,” and a series called “Orcunts.” “Orcunts” originated as a way to successfully post drawings of vaginas on Instagram without getting banned. The drawings use flowers to represent a woman’s vulva and labia.

Another series called “Crotch Monsters” does the same thing, but instead of flowers, depicts monsters smoking cigarettes or sticking out pierced tongues.

In essence, Sarley “seek[s] to battle these stereotypes, that mentality that women can’t own their sexuality. They can, and it’s really powerful.”

Although students at this university, as well as the general public, felt awkward about this artwork,  Sarley’s art is reaching many young adults through social media. Hopefully Sarley’s art and others like it will continue to mold society’s view on the female form towards one that is more accepting.

To check out Sarley’s work for yourself, visit her website: StephanieSarley.com.

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