This collection was for my final fashion show at Oakland School for the Arts. The theme was body politic and I decided to get a little more personal with my art and talk about street harassment. The collection is an internal story of my experiences getting catcalled. Often times when I get catcalled it’s an anxiety provoking and scary feeling being susceptible to mental and physical abuse. The anxiety provoking nature of catcalling is represented through the chaotic appearance of tulle and the various shapes it forms. The large silhouettes that I am creating represent three things. The first is that the tulle garment acts as my own thoughts drowning me as I think of what could happen every time I’m in public. So to all men who might be reading this thinking, “Why when I’m not even trying to get at the girl, she gets defensive.” In my personal experience when I’m in public I’m always on a defense because after it happens so many times you want to be able to prevent it. Which leads into the second reason for the tulle silhouettes. The second is the feeling of a barrier between the public and the individual, feeling like you need to be protected from outside forces. The last thing the tulle represents is the notion that girls need to cover up their bodies in order to avoid harassment. Not only is this just incorrect but it’s offensive, what the girl is wearing is her choice and she should not be made uncomfortable because of it. In addition, to the tulle dresses, the vinyl corsets within the collection are representative of the restricting nature of how I choose to present myself everyday. For the men who think it’s a compliment I can tell you right now that if you ask any woman around you if getting catcalled is a compliment most of them will say no. So now your asking, “How can I help this issue?” Well for starters lets start seeing women as human beings and not just bodies waiting to be “complimented,” and If its too hard for you to do that If you see someone being harassed say something to the harasser! Don’t stand there and act like you didn’t hear or see anything. And to the men who are already holding other men accountable, your doing amazing sweetie! keep it up! So with all of this I will leave you with a few quotes from some of my research.
“By the age of 12 years old 1 in 4 women will have experienced street harassment.”
“Street harassment is so deeply ingrained in our culture that many people don’t recognize it as a problem, but it is a form of gender-based violence that encompasses everything from unwanted comments, unwanted touching, groping, and public masturbation. It isn’t unusual for this behavior to escalate to assault or even murder”
Jessica Raven, ( executive director at Collective Action for Safe Spaces)
“As shown in the statistics above street harassment is an issue that mostly affects women, especially women of color, LGBTQIA people and gender non-conforming people”
Photographer: Greg Gutbezahl
Blue: Jasmine Powell
Red: Chloe Gorski