Global Series: Talking Sex, Changing Cultures

Artists have long served as social trailblazers, growing the boundaries of what's publicly acceptable and using their work to create dialogue about uncomfortable subjects - including, notably, sex and sexuality. In the developing world, where sexual mores and gender roles are often more traditional, this ruffling of features is particularly vital, and not a little risky.

Our ongoing series, "Talking sex, changing cultures", looks at how musicians, painters, filmmakers and dancers are spurring social change, from Brazil to Vietnam and beyond.

By singing frankly about sex, drugs and life on the streets, the women of Rio de Janeiro's male-dominated favela funk scene are redefining what feminism sounds like, one (salacious) song at a time.

Truong Tan's catalogue for his first solo exhibition in 1994 documents his tentative exploration of performance art and frequent use of ropes. Photo by Truong Tan used with permission. CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC

LGBTQ rights remain a work in progress in Vietnam, where until 2000 it was illegal for gay couples to live together. On the vanguard of change are queer artists, who've been pushing the boundaries of public acceptance for decades.

Some deride a new Carnival trend in which women revel in the streets wearing swimsuits and feather boas. But Trinidad's "bikini mas", which channels a long-standing tradition of female self-affirmation, is a both an act of rebellion and a survival tactic.

The "risque" storyline of Lipstick Under My Burkha, Alankrita Srivastava's new feminist film, has Indian censors in a tizzy.

Catesby Holmes, Global Commissioning Editor, The Conversation; Clea Chakraverty, Commissioning Editor, The Conversation; Fabrice Rousselot, Global Editor, The Conversation, and Stephan Schmidt, Audience Developer, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.