Exhibition Planning & Understanding My Project
Below is the most recent example of exhibition layouts. The images are A3 and constructed in three layers, the idea behind this is to show three aspects of sexual assault. The top layer shows the force of the assailant, the middle layer showcases the ineffectiveness of self defence items designed for women and the bottom layer is to show the transgression of emotion/pain/danger the woman is going through. To the left of the images the black box represents a frame which will have written, "incase of an emergency break glass". Inside the black box I will showcase the items photographed. In essence showing that when an assailant decides to make an attack these items used to make women feel safe are utterly ineffective.
The long curly hair is to represent a woman and femininity, linked with the bottom layer of images of a female body. The colours used in the background are to represent the ascent into danger. Starting out white and pure/angelic while the shape of the hair and the tear of the plastic bag represents some disturbance. Plastic is used to echo the white image of the female body and to also connect the artificiality of the woman to her constructed social meaning (a commodity). Moving onto the pink to represent the blush of woman as the brush comes in to hook the hair. Then finally the intense red and entangled hair to represent the attack at full force. The brush is spiked and club-like making the images feel aggressive along with the connotations of black and danger.
In the middle layer I have photographed the self defence weapons as commercial. The reason being is to reinforce the idea of the artificiality of these products. They're useless. They're designed to make women feel safe, just as lipstick is designed to make women feel beautiful. All items photographed were advertised as self defence products for women. Yet more hyper feminized products designed and targeted at women for profit. The rape alarm is not loud enough, the pepper spray is hard to access, the knuckle duster and other key-rings are only useful if you walk around in a constant state of fear, clutching at them for protection in the event of an attack.
Lastly, the bottom layer of images shown are to represent the physical and emotional pain/changes of the women in question. Developing from a peaceful and pure woman into a scorned and burnt one. The first image of her body in white and the pressing of her hair and face against the plastic is a representation of her being pulled out of the peaceful phase, as she is about to face something insidious. Progressing into a warm orange/pink as the danger levels rise, and finally into full blown danger and despair.
But what about the ones that happen in the home? At the swimming pool? At university? These items are designed for a late night walk home where I can confidently say 99% of women would feel unsafe.
The whole point of this project is not to make women feel any less safe, it is to point the finger at rape culture and how the designing and selling of these products only fuels the idea that women are to blame and need to be constantly protecting themselves from men, whom which they are taught heavily to look beautiful and appealing for. It seems no matter what women do or don't do the blame is left with them.
"Well she shouldn't have been walking out on her own after dark"
"Well she shouldn't dress like a slut"
"She was asking for it"
Research into the subject of harassment and the fear women hold about men was perfectly demonstrated on social media with the following questions asked on Twitter by @DanielleMuscato a civil rights activist and @Emrazz a feminist. Danielle asked, "What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?". Emrazz asked, "Women, imagine that for 24 hours, there were no men in the world. No men are being harmed in the creation of this hypothetical. They will all return. They are safe and happy wherever they are during this hypothetical time period. What would or could you do that day?".
Note the responses from women who simply wish to be able to walk alone at night. The limited life women are boxed into is unfair. The designing of such defence items does not solve the problem it only recognises there is one. The root cause of the problem is violence, rape and a culture that perpetuates these values. Until society and the leaders of that society recognise the need for a deeper change lies within the hands their hands too, only then will the violence against women and the innate fear they feel lessen.
With this being said and the aim of my project to point out the flaws in the culture that perpetuate rape and victim blaming our current social climate is ideal for sharing work like this. With the ripples of the MeToo Movement still going now is an ideal time to promote my work.