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Alumni Showcase: Explicit Expectations

I was recently involved in an art show put together by a few fellow high school alumni. Explicit Expectations was specifically done for this showcase, a mixed media piece done in a combination of magazine cutout decoupage and oil paint. It was a refreshing chance for me to get my brushes wet again. Being able to show how much I've grown overall as an artist since high school and getting to paint something that felt really personal and relevant to me, as well as something millions of women can relate to, has been pretty exciting. I got a chance to kind of take a risk with this piece and put what's inside out into the open.

Mixed media on paper 24 x 18 inches


A Statement on the Way the Media Treats Women and Their Bodies.


There are many levels to this particular clip alone that are worth discussing. It was taken from an issue of Cosmo Magazine featuring model Ashley Graham, a woman considered to be the first plus-sized model to make the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. It is noted that the model received a great amount of this sentiment for many years. There is irony in seeing a women’s magazine highlight such a topic, considering the media – including the magazine industry – has always been the force setting the standards for skinny being the embodiment of beauty and shaming women for not conforming. The fact that Graham’s featured article promoting “self love regardless of size” is surrounded by the typical Cosmo-esque “change your entire body” trash content is just icing on the shit cake. Women are endlessly being told to love ourselves while simultaneously being told to change everything. “Be you,” they say, as they condemn everything which makes us unique.


Gender Roles Hinder Our Potential

Ingrained within ourselves through social conditioning are roles inherited based on gender assigned at birth. These more subtle expectations are often overlooked despite their prominence, as they are so constant that we don’t recognize the actual effects taking place. How we should act, who we should be, the proper way to interact with men and exist in public spaces. Our bodies are a spectacle to be criticized, ridiculed, owned, and violated. We are to bloom only to be plucked and utilized as a vessel for pollination. We must be elegant, graceful, delicate, pure, refined, modest, and ultimately determined to achieve unrealistic ideals of unattainable and unnatural perfection.


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