Wear Your Letters
BFA Senior Exhibition | April 2015
The Southern Sorority Woman knows she is always under notice from the general public—from the letters she dons on her laptop in classes to the people/places with whom she associates with in social situations. Whether or not these gestures of conformation to the indoctrinated laws of Greek Life benefit her or not, she knows she is always representing her organization. These highly gendered performances portray a woman who is expected to maintain a high GPA; continually work for a petite and demure figure; to be an advocate for all society’s woes in every philanthropic endeavor; to put on a perfectly polished façade of untroubled happiness; and to outwardly wear letters every single day, while still maintaining a pristine, lady-like, unwavering confidence to her organization. She is expected to be perfect at all times. Wear Your Letters is a photographic series that considers the unique dimensions of power thrust between these women and the audience; knowing that as a Sorority Woman, one is always being judged, but at the same time assumed to be superficially judging those all around. Through explorations of the mold that is cast upon the women such as in “Sara” and “Ann”, the audience can take a better glimpse at the masquerades these women put on every day, as well as a view of the domestic landscape where the women seek refuge. In “Sara”, the audience is graciously given a hint of the elegance and dignity that comes with wearing attire appropriate with their member badge, while with “Ann” the viewer is able to observe that though the clothing falls off of her delicate wrist, she continues to hold her composure with poise. Wear Your Letters is a continuation of my exploration of the dynamics of gender performance, creation of an identity, and social expectations through multiple series of photographs that explore the diverse roles and presumptions placed on the modern woman raised in the South.
Jenna (Self Portrait), 2015