Ignoring Societies Shit, Reece Spofford, Multi Media
Currently in society, social media and advertising highly influence the shaping of identity and appearance in young women. The media has never been more saturated with images of beauty and idealistic standards then today. The bombardment of imagery surrounding our everyday lifestyle projects the necessity for beauty to be a top priority. While scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, it is hard not to be influenced by the appearances of women who are praised for the specific ways they look. Countless numbers of women concern themselves with such images and struggle to keep up with the demands of prescribed agendas. A kind of misogynistic behaviour within popular culture; social media, advertising, celebrity culture, and politics, has contributed to the stereotypes that persuade women to believe in certain forms of aesthetic. What is alarming about this trend is the amount of women that believe there natural looks are unacceptable, and some form of change it required. Trending beauty regimes and cosmetic surgeries have blown up in society; jeopardizing the thought that natural beauty can exist equally to the constructed ideals we are constantly surrounded by.
The objective of my work is to challenge those beauty standards. Time and time again, myself, and the women in my own life, feel like their appearances are not satisfactory enough in comparison to the criterion societies project. The biggest challenge I face with this affair is, how can I create work that speaks volumes to the strength of embracing natural beauty? To tackle this issue, I chose to use the medium of posters. Posters have a long history of communicating social concerns that arise during influential times, and work to challenge certain issues. The images selected are drawings and photographs from my own collection that have been manipulated to combine with text that sparks critical thought. The blurbs of text are not positive phrases of persuasion like what is seen in commercial advertising. They are negative expressions that highlight the stereotypical thoughts in society that people pin against themselves often influencing their thoughts for self-adjustment.
Artists like Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger; with their use of bold text were an influence to my work. Both women frequently use text to highlight the issues surrounding femininity and gender. Another significance influence to my work was Shelia Bretteville. Her poster work “Pink” from 1974 exclusively used the colour pink because of its associations with the female gender. She collected drawings, photos, notes, etc. that approached the concerns of sexism at the time. Much like Bretteville, using the colour pink was a specific decision to visually vocalize my female concerns. My work deals specifically with feminine stereotypes in the media that affect women and their thoughts towards appearances; as the appearances of women are still aggressively subjected to more judgment than men.
As the posters are displayed beside the mural “Ignoring Societies Shit” I want viewers to take note of the phrases of text that work in conjunction with such a bold statement. “Groups of posters can seep into our consciousness, describing not only artistic but technical, social and political revolutions alongside modes and rhythms of everyday life.”1 As social media pushes unrealistic beauty standards, my posters voice the importance for viewers, specifically women; to be highly critical of the images they are taking reference from in the media. Are these images real? Have manipulations been made? Who or what is the source behind the image? Why is my natural beauty not being highlighted? And what can I do about it? Asking these questions, focusing more on self-confidence, and working towards emotional and psychological well-being is extremely crucial to self-worth; especially in comparison to whatever temporary cosmetic procedures can fix.
1Guffey, E. Elizabeth. Posters: A Global History. London: Reaktion Books, 2015. 39.