GIRL CULTURE Confidential

post by: Dejay Duckett

Did you catch the Article by Robin Rice on Girl Culture in the Philadelphia Citypaper  last week (June 15)?  If not, check it out here: http://www.citypaper.net/arts/2011-06-09-lauren-greenfield-girl-culture.html

The exhibition of nearly 50 color photographs by Lauren Greenfield, along with the short film “Fashion show,” have been a sensation across the country, and will be shown in the Arthur Ross Gallery only until July 24.  It’s getting down to the wire, so don’t miss it!

In her article, Rice states:

“Greenfield’s sensitivity to her subject’s faces is exquisite, but the fact that she rarely chooses to preserve and authentic smile confirms her intentional editing of the bigger picture…that no girl in the American Culture can escape the mandate to try to be waif thin, buxom and barely clothed.  This claustrophobic evocation of a world that demands these things of young women without exception helps to convey the pressures many girls feel.”

Few can forget the awkwardness of the middle school years; the looming social  hierarchy; the general preoccupation with the size of one’s thighs; the constant comparisons to the “ideal,” whether real or imagined. Greenfield’s photographs capture these girls in the moment, looking at the contemporary girl with fresh eyes.  They are color-saturated and printed on glossy paper as if to emphasize the artifice, the surface-ness of it all. In a society where there is a growing demand for items like string bikinis for 5 year olds (!) the exhibition is more timely than ever.

“In this work, I have been interested in documenting the pathological in the everyday. I am interested in the tyranny of the popular and thin girls over the ones who don’t fit that mold. I am interested in the competition suffered by the popular girls, and their sense that popularity is not as satisfying as it appears. I am interested in the time-consuming grooming and beauty rituals that are an integral part of daily life. I am interested in the fact that to fall outside the ideal body type is to be a modern-day pariah. I am interested in how girls’ feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness are expressed in physical and self-destructive ways: controlling their food intake, cutting their bodies, being sexually promiscuous. I am interested in the way that the female body has become a palimpsest on which many of our culture’s conflicting messages about femininity are written and rewritten. Most of all, I am interested in the element of performance and exhibitionism that seems to define the contemporary experience of being a girl.”    Lauren Greenfield

This exhibition is not to be missed. Did you already see it?  We would love to hear your thoughts!

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