Jess De Wahls
German-born artist, Jess De Wahls discusses the controversy that erupted statements she made in her 2019 blog that “a woman is an adult human female. (Not an identity or feeling)” and “humans can not change sex” resulted in the Royal Academy removing her work from its gift shop after complaints were raised as to De Wahls’ alleged “transphobia.” In this episode, De Wahls discusses the fallout to her career from the these accusations, the larger horizon of free speech within the art world, specifically for women, where “understanding basic human biology and knowing that humans can’t change sex” is now considered controversial. Examining the institutional capture that has emboldened the managerial class, to include those in power within art institutions, De Wahls analyses how those claiming to be oppressed have paradoxically become de facto gatekeepers without thinking through the consequences to the freedom of expression. De Wahls compares the current era where people are afraid to speak on the unconvertible fact of human sexual dimorphism to what occurred under the Stasi of East Germany while analysing the ways that various communities that claim to be Marxist have bought into identity narratives that flow directly to and from capitalism recycling extremely sexist stereotypes and exerting control over women’s language and bodies.