A Certain Kind of Woman
There is immense pressure on women to “perform” for the public. Whether this is the feeling that we must be “presentable” when we leave the house each day, or when we tailor our personalities in public in an attempt to be more socially amenable. There is an intense weariness that has consumed me after years of putting on disguises each day, trying to make myself perfect, likeable. I learned how to perform my feminine identity, and now I’m learning how to disassemble it, take it apart and see the bones underneath. I’ve learned how powerful my feminine identity is in its imperfectness, but also how incredibly fragile it is as well.
As a young girl, I was given many instructions on how a woman should act and spent my life in the well-intentioned disguises taught to me by my mother. I concealed much of my introverted personality by making sure I always appeared happy and complacent the way I was taught a woman should always behave. I gladly accepted these parameters in hopes that I would be desirable to society, and in turn happier within myself. My mother’s influence is paramount to my understanding of feminine identity; her impact is intertwined into each image in both subtle and prominent ways.
Utilizing self-portraiture, I am constantly experiencing a “hall of mirrors” effect where it is difficult to distinguish between truth and illusion, as I am both subject and maker. I am a complicated construct of both the rejection and acceptance of society’s definition of femininity. I am confronting the disguises that have become a part of my feminine identity while exposing and scrutinizing my own secrets. Working alone, I experience a powerful reclamation of power. I confront the viewer, the camera, and ultimately myself in an attempt to uncover and assert my inner identity underneath years of impersonations.
Hidden behind expected social roles, our inner identity can become lost. Through my work, I explore what happens when our masks become so convincing that we no longer recognize ourselves.