Why did the project start?
After years of working at a thrift store, and opening my perspective to feminist thought, I became aware that gender, body image and sexuality are concepts deeply embedded in society and human interaction.
I’ll give you a quick example:
Many times customers will approach me asking if an item is for a boy or girl/man or woman… for this story, let’s say the item is a plush toy. I’ll respond after a moment that if they like it, then it shouldn’t matter. I’ll notice the confused look on their face, and they’ll ask their question again. This time, I’ll realize that they are looking for one answer, and I didn’t give it to them. So I’ll say it’s for the gender I think they advertised it for (pink? it’s a girl’s toy. Blue? it’s probably designed for a boy). Then they’ll either take the plush toy to the register, or give it to me to put back depending on whether the answer matched their gender identity.
I have encountered many situations where gender has limited an action of a person, or even myself. I find it weird that the social laws/constructions that we assign to gender dictate how we perform, even when it’s okay to bend gender norms.
I want to talk about experiences based on gender, body and sexuality, because it impacts how we identify, behave and interact with others. I want to provide the means to express identity, whether it be through gender or not – because we are defined by the gender in which we choose to identify. We are also defined by what society tells us is gender, although we can obtain the power to redefine our identities, on our terms.
This one of many encounters which opened my eyes to the lack of conversation. I became aware that acceptance of different perspectives and conversations about gender, body and sexuality weren’t readily made.
Through my experiences, I’ve become deprived of media.
I am deprived of visual art. I am deprived of literature. I am deprived of music. I am deprived of creative expression.
I am deprived of conversation.
I am deprived of progressive steps forward in social thought.
Here, I present my deprivation and explore topics of gender, body and sexuality in attempt to normalize conversation. I share my story to project a voice that was been oppressed in more ways than one, and I encourage you to join me on this journey.
I encourage you to join the conversation. As I share my story, I invite you to share yours.