In March of 2012, when I started witnessing all the attacks on birth control, abortion rights, equal pay, and retractions of protections for survivors of domestic violence, I wanted to see an artistic response. I have seen and studied art that has acted as great catalyst for change – and what we need is a great change. I wanted to create a body of share-able and instantly understandable work that people could connect with and use to continue to spread the word: “women’s rights are being sabotaged, but we are fighting back.”
I am not an excellent verbal communicator. I have a tendency to lose my words. Most of the time when I try to communicate ideas I end up using hand motions, sounds, and gibberish-sounding words to express the feeling of a situation instead of waiting for the perfect descriptive sentences. Many of the phrases I use in my project are from a list that was a product of much advance thinking.
Art has always been a communicative force for me. Drawing, painting, dance, photography – each of these things helps me to share my thoughts in a way that is authentic to me. When I discovered photography at age 18, it fit. I was able to produce my thoughts in the way that I thought them. My photographs are direct translations of my thought process, unhampered by lost words. In this way, I find photography to be ideal for me as a way to seek change.
I’m a feminist because I can’t live in a world where I am defined, limited, and categorized by my genitalia, where women are objectified beyond reason, where rape culture thrives, and where these injustices (and more) are so blatantly ignored and denied by so many people.
I believe in the power of intersectional feminism. Even though I still have a lot to learn, I think that by going together, we can go far. I do my best to incorporate as many different aspects of women’s struggles in my work – I want everyone to see themselves in my photographs. The oppression and dehumanization of women affects everyone, and I strongly desire to represent that.
Part of making that happen is being open to the idea that I will always have something to learn – that a detail, a concept, an idea, will always be a mystery to me. This is both frustrating and incredibly motivating. This project has not only helped me to express my anger towards the amount of power that patriarchy wields, but has been an incredible vehicle to understanding parts of feminism that I hadn’t previously been conscious of. As a result, I am so much more aware of what I am being taught by media and privilege, and how to try to circumvent that conditioning to achieve greater equality.