A conversation with Maïa Mazaurette
season 2 episode 6
Mar 31 2020
Mar 31 2020
Artist and sexpert Maïa Mazaurette shares her perspective on appreciating the male body and challenging popular culture’s “sex machinery”
About our guest
Maia Mazaurette is an author, columnist, and illustrator. Her work spans both editorial and fiction, approaching questions of contemporary sexuality and the body's place in society. Regularly featured in Le Monde, GQ Magazine, Usbek & Rica, et Le Temps, she untangles the norms, taboos, and stereotypes that frame our sexuality and intimate relationships. An expat for 12 years and an adventuring nomad, for now she calls Brooklyn home.
“What is masculine? What is beautiful for a man?”
Maïa Mazaurette, Sans titre, 2019, mixed media, 40,5 x 30,5 cm
Maïa Mazaurette, Sans titre, 2019, mixed media, 30,4 x 22,7 cm
Maïa Mazaurette, Sans titre, 2019, mixed media, 45,5 x 30 cm
“As women, we don’t have a lot of occasions to look at men for three hours at a time.”
Maïa Mazaurette, Sans titre, 2019, mixed media, 29,5 x 20,5 cm
“We see that every single piece of the sex machinery is being challenged at the moment”
Maïa Mazaurette, Sans titre, 2019, mixed media, 30,5 x 22,5 cm
Resources mentionedTEDxTours: Ce que l'on a oublié de vous dire sur le sexe | Maïa MazauretteLe Monde: Le Sexe Selon MaïaGQ Magazine: GQ Magazine: SexactuPodcast ArteRadio: Sex and SoundsÉditions de la Martinière
Editions Anne Carrière
Usbek & Rica
Amazon Authors Page
Celebrating and appreciating male bodies
With all of the grim news about coronavirus right now, it’s especially important to give ourselves a mental health break, and let ourselves enjoy something positive and fun for a moment. I’m pleased to say that this podcast fits that description perfectly.
Today I am excited to welcome Maïa Mazaurette, who is a sexpert, writer, columnist, keynote speaker, painter, and illustrator, and is challenging gender roles and sex norms through her writing and artwork.
Maïa has been researching the role of sex in artwork for over 15 years, and regularly shares her sex expertise and knowledge through the columns she writes for GQ France magazine and several newspapers. As an artist and painter, she focuses on the male body, in part to challenge what she terms the “sex machinery” of the world’s dominant sexual culture.
Continuing the sexual revolution
Maïa began drawing and painting men after repeatedly asking other women to do the same, but receiving no response.
“Two years ago I decided that I could not keep asking people to do something that I wouldn’t want to make happen myself,” she says. “And I started to look for models and I started to work… and I started to realize that some things were more complicated than I imagined.”
Among those challenges, she says, has been figuring out how to pose her models in a way that is masculine, but not imposing or aggressive.
“What is masculine? What is beautiful for a man?” she asks. “We are used to seeing them as sexy human beings only when they’re doing something because you have the idea that women are passive and men are active.”
“If you want to have one man alone in a picture, and … he’s not applying his power on a human being or an object, then you suddenly have a man who is displaying some kind of female quality and then it’s not sexy anymore and it doesn’t work,” she says.
Finding her way around this problem has led Maïa to experiment with different poses, developing an entirely new “language of position” that translates her models’ sexiness and beauty to the canvas.
Maïa sees her work as a way to continue and even radically change the direction of the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s. That change should include making it possible to appreciate regular male bodies in our everyday lives, and with more frequency.
“As women, we don’t have a lot of occasions to look at men for three hours at a time. Usually we mostly see men who are dressed up and also in museums and also on tv,”
she says, adding that 75 percent of the museum artwork we see is female-centric.
Focusing on men in her work changes that dynamic, giving women an opportunity to stare at beautifully rendered male bodies for as long as they wish.
She also wants to help people create a new language around sex, one that finds a middle ground between the somewhat vulgar language and the prim, reproductive-focused language from earlier eras.
Her hope is that her work—both written and artistic—will encourage people consider the myriad of sexual possibilities that are open to them, and have happier sex lives as a result.
“We see that every single piece of the sex machinery is being challenged at the moment,” she says. “It is great sometimes to be puzzled, to be lost, because then we can write a different sex map… My wish is not to say what exactly is the sex utopia. I just want to explain what is mine so that people can disagree and make their own.”
next story ︎︎︎
Dr. Asma Naeem
Chief Curator of the Baltimore Museum of Art
︎︎︎ previous story
Photographer and conceptual artist