Itemization of Women (2011)

Curated by kcdoyle
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In today's modern world, one would not expect to still see the itemization of women. Yet, it is evident everywhere. The media presents women as sexual items and objects by our masculine dominated society. Millions of advertisements depict women with or as an item, connecting their identity. The itemization of women has long been a method by advertisers who have used the female body to sell anything from food to plumbing supplies. In recent decades, these images have been projected almost everywhere in society from the workplace to the home, much to the discomfort of the women. Although the argument "there is no harm in that, it is natural" has been made over the years, it is now evident that even if outright harm is not a result of keeping and displaying sexualized images of women, their impact is negative. Through this subordination, women have subconsciously evaluate themselves according to their physical appearance and ability to attract the male gaze. Women are perpetuated as powerful only by how desirable they are. Repeated visual images of modelesque women in the media further this male contrived notion as being valid. Women are the 'Other' in our society, not only to men, but to women themselves, who have accepted their objectification through itemization and play the role of 'Other' as defined by men. While it is true that men have also been subjected to this phenomenon, it has been nothing in comparison to women. The purpose of this exhibition is to comment upon this relationship between women and items and to question the nature of our society. The audience is intended to feel the oppression and vulnerability that women feel by looking at these images. From the girl standing next to a barcode, to the desperate hand, to the mysterious shadowed silhouette of a man, to the scrambled babel and numbers, to the see through woman, and finally to the voyeuristic eye these images come together to send this message. I will go through each of the images and explain how each individually contributed to the overall exhibition. The first image of the girl standing next to the barcode, "Barcode Web Counter," literally illustrates the itemization of women as it places a barcode and a woman in the image, juxtaposing the barcode. The barcode is larger than the woman, making her inferior. The second image of the desperate hand, "1+1," is symbolic in that it is a universal sign for help, a sign for our society to do something to save women from this itemized state. The third image of the shadowed man fittingly titled:"YOU ARE MY SUBJECTS" immediately denotes the male presence in our society and the implications connected to always having the feeling that one is under or subject to his gaze. The fourth image "Babel" with the connotation of the film, exemplifies the coded and scrambledness of items in our society. There an infinite amount each saying something different and when they are placed on the figure of the female they become lost, as her identity fades away. The fifth image of the see-through face of a woman, called "She is always walking away...1948-2006..." represents the fact that the itemization of women has become a downward progression. Slowly each female body representing an item is contributing to the suicide of the female body. The face, our most expressive and unidentifiable feature will slowly fade away until there is nothing left. The last image, "Is watching," with the voyeuristic eye is about how society looks at everything through this one public eye. It is not their own personal eye, but one that has conformed to society's morals and values. We see women as a sex object or an item that has a relationship with being sexual. This stereotype cannot change until society changes its outlook and use of the female body in the media. On this note I will conclude the exhibition. I believe that our society has the capacity to equate women with moral values instead of barcodes. I hope that these images collectively demonstrated the vitality of doing in order to see progress in our contemporary society.

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