Positions of power

In 2014 and 2015, I worked on a personal photography project that addressed female representation in the media.

The subjects are posed in traditionally masculine positions yet are silenced by censor bars.

Each photo is paired with the subject's opinion on the way women are portrayed in popular media.  

Sojin Josephson

Sojin Josephson

"Even women of power who didn't become successful off of their looks are constantly looked at in the media—their weight, their new haircut, what designer they’re wearing. Sometimes their successful work is shaded by their appearances and what they’re doing fashion-wise. On the other hand, the success of men in their work isn’t shaded at all. With men, success is the primary thing we see, but looks are the primary thing we see for women—even if they’re super successful in work."

Leah Gordon

Leah Gordon

"Theres a trope I see a lot in the media: the double-talking woman who says one thing, but means another, and the man burdened with figuring out her true meaning. The media (Elizabethan or Facebookian) says that women are complicated. Which, fine – all humans are complicated – but this is an intentional, shrewd, manipulative kind of complicated. This portrayal of women makes it all about the man: women want to make mens’ lives harder, because they’re sneaky and tricksy."

Megan Marolf

Megan Marolf

"Glance at any magazine stand, and the headlines read, 'How to have a hot and healthy life.' The stories revolve around tips on dieting, exercise, and how to be good in bed. Instead of highlighting their careers, or how they make the world a better place, the focus is on the superficial aspects of femininity. This type of coverage leads society to think women are only good as arm candy, and offer not much else in terms of their intelligence or strength."

Morgan Wilkes

Morgan Wilkes

"Women are still seen as the baby makers and watchers of the home, and when they break out of these roles, they're usually met with resistance. Women are also, ironically, only taken seriously if they dress and act in effeminate ways. A few months ago, I was at a party where two guys were outside collecting money to get in, and were basing the price on how attractive they thought you were. I think I had to pay more because they didn't think my afro was attractive."

Annabelle Goldin-Mertdogan

Annabelle Goldin-Mertdogan

I hate this new movement where people say, "everyone is beautiful!" Everyone is simply not beautiful, according to Western standards, and that's ok. That phrase places beauty at the top of what we care about when it really shouldn't be. What happened to being compassionate, hardworking, empathetic, caring, and intelligent? Beauty might leave a lasting mark for someone's boner, but it doesn't leave a lasting mark on the world."

Rachael Schmoker

Rachael Schmoker

"A few years ago, I was at a family beach, walking back to my car in a bathing suit. I heard cat calls and tried to ignore them until I turned and saw a guy and his friends video taping me with a phone. I lost my voice that day; all I could say was, "Please, don't do that." I felt so vulnerable and uncomfortable in my own skin. One of my goals is to change the way society views women and to make it sexy to be successful, smart, and sophisticated. To change what sexy means."

Maggie Ryan

Maggie Ryan

"The fact that this project exists at all is one of the many reasons why we need feminism. Men's positions of power are a given, whereas women have to make a constant effort to prove that they are also powerful and worthy of respect."

Nikki Johnson

Nikki Johnson

"'Feminism' becoming synonymous with 'man-hating' exemplifies why we need feminism. People look at women who are voicing their frustrations over gender inequality and label them as angry bitches who hate men instead of listening to what they are really trying to say. In order to move toward a state of equality we need to start with a conversation where everyone's voices are heard." - Nikki Johnson

Kaci Cunningham

Kaci Cunningham

"In movies, if a woman isn't interested in a man, he just has to figure out how to work her, like a Rubik's Cube, and he'll eventually figure her out and win her over. As a result, this happens in real life. Just because I say no, doesn't mean I have a boyfriend. It doesn't mean I'm a bitch. It certainly doesn't mean I'm confused and need more time. It means that I'm capable of forming my own opinions, and I know what I want. I'm just not interested, and that won't change." - Kaci Cunningham

Jessica Neary

Jessica Neary

"Women in the media are portrayed as flawless. Not one love handle in sight or eyelash out of place. They don't even have pores. When women are exposed to the media in any way, they're told that something must be wrong with them if they can't achieve this perfection. For a long time I believed I needed to be a size zero with flawless skin and perfect abs. It was only when I got to college did I learn how ridiculous this idea was and finally tried to accept myself."

Grace (Junes) Mannix-Slobig

Grace (Junes) Mannix-Slobig

"Sophomore year, in speech class, we were talking about women's issues and nearly everyone started their sentences with, 'I'm not a feminist, but...' I thought, 'What could possibly cause widespread disassociation with such an important title?!' So, I spoke up and said, 'I am a feminist. Why aren't you?' It was unfortunate that so many people didn't understand the systematic oppression of women and the negative consequences of patriarchy for all parties." - Grace (Junes) Mannix-Slobig

Kayla Robertson

Kayla Robertson

"Because objectification in the media and fashion photography is so prevalent, men are taught it’s ok to treat women like objects, and women are taught that an object is the best thing they can aspire to be. When women are seen in the media this way, it’s hard to see women in the real world any differently. This enables violence, sexism, catcalling, and hugely affects the way women are treated."

Annisa Keith

Annisa Keith

"This glorified ideal that's presented in shiny advertisements is wrong, not only because it's physically unattainable, but that it's understood that if we don't constantly work at trying to elevate ourselves to this ideal level then we are not worthy of the admiration, love, and kindness that all women (and people) deserve."

Sydney Gillette

Sydney Gillette

"Stories about women who work in the media consistently spotlight their appearance. Instead of articles that discuss a woman’s job performance, we see publications that focus on their hair cut, the length of their skirt, or the how low cut their shirt is. However, who is the target audience for this type of article? Not men, but women. A double standard of women in the media will continue to exist until people, in particular women, stop reading and watching stories that support it."

Katheryn Houghton

Katheryn Houghton

"In advertisements, girls appear cute, shy and moldable – curious, but almost never strong. As girls grow up, they're encouraged to ask questions, but not too many or too loudly. Look at The Little Mermaid. She's curious, but naive and gets into trouble that only a seagull, crab and fish (all boys) can help her with. To get the man, she gives up her voice and can only communicate with her body. To keep the man, she has to change her body and leave her family, and does it all while looking sexy."

Nia Gillenwater

Nia Gillenwater

"A lot of times, when I say I go to a women's college, I feel like I have to explain that it's not a 'true' women's college because there are men everywhere. I'm always back peddling to show that I'm not a militant feminist, but really, what's wrong with being a militant feminist? It doesn't mean that I hate men, it means that I love other women and want all of us to have the best chances for happiness and success."

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