Throughout this project, I conceptualize and solidify the subtly complicated position of being raised as a woman in the United States. The complexity of being trained by society to act acceptably feminine and the expectation to "fall in line” as a homemaker and caregiver has always been something with which I struggle. I use this work to approach the subject of mandated passivity in women and to raise the question of why being a dutiful supporter is historically woman’s role. I also emphasize the correlation of male dominant and female submissive roles by including facts about sexual assault. These issues are not separate, but rather are founded in each other. Man’s power often comes at the cost of woman’s independence. Americans often try to obfuscate the impact of societal expectation, especially in the South, and through my work I force people to recognize that these incidents originate in and are influenced by formative experiences such as “locker room talk” and other heavily enforced social expectations.
I utilize hand drawn elements in order to convey that message through the eyes of the human experience and use text layered with digitally designed image layouts. My figures are rendered using traditional drawing techniques that appear similar to historical printmaking techniques used for protest propaganda and suffragette posters, therefore implying the long history behind societal prejudice against women. The text elements and digital media serve to bring my work into the contemporary dialogue regarding these topics. The emotional impact of sexist prejudices cannot be understated, and I convey these feelings through hand drawn elements. My mark making often includes continuous, fluid line work and shading, intended to bring the audience into and around the composition. These compositions explore asymmetrical balance to create visual interest. Noticeable negative space symbolizes a sense of loss and gives the viewer’s eye a place to rest. Throughout this series, viewers gain a new perspective on modern sexism and the necessity of feminism. As viewers walk away, they take the final question of the piece with them, “WHY IS THAT” and hopefully continue the vital conversation around sexual assault and harassment in the United States. We must work towards a society where woman feel comfortable existing however they choose, and starting this conversation is the first step.
My undergraduate honors thesis continues exploring this subject. Read it online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rx-ucyzFI_CX7x_PmAD79RKkmRxRs55E/view?usp=sharing