The gender pay gap is the average difference in pay for men and women. When this piece was created, women earned 79 cents for every $1.00 earned by a man. Many factors create this disparity, including discrimination, undervaluing of women’s work, occupational segregation and the motherhood penalty.
An old divided tray houses the vintage wedding toppers, perched on stacks of pennies representing their pay difference. The lightbulb represents the epiphany of society as it is recognizing this systemic marginalization of women.
Chick, baby, cow, honey...these are just some of the terms used to describe or refer to women. Women are considered objects and kept in boxes that limit their identities. These stereotypical views of women affect how they perceive themselves, as well as how they are perceived in society. This can affect self-esteem, educational pursuits and economic potential.
This shadow box represents twenty-five of these objects. Mounted beneath it, a music box plays “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”
The phrase “a woman’s place is in the home” is one of the reminders of the patriarchal structure of society. Keeping women in “the home” keeps them in domestic servitude, keeps them uneducated, keeps them dependent upon men and prevents them from ever threatening the patriarchy. They become figurative prisoners and sexual slaves to their captor, male dominance. This piece represents those themes through literal images of captive women, tucked inside a traditional house.
Human trafficking is the forced labor and exploitation of a person for the explicit benefit of another person. An estimated 21 million people are currently victims, with nearly 5 million involved in the sex industry. Some research suggests that there may be up to 10 million children involved in sex work.
The artist used a photo of her daughter to represent the young women and girls forced into the sex industry by human trafficking. Her mouth is silenced by a barcode, as she is now a commodity to be sold and silenced. The hardware on the piece is a visual reminder of how they are chained and (literally and figuratively) screwed.
Abortion opponents fight tirelessly to protect the unborn. They put their time, money and votes toward this cause for which they support so fervently. However, life doesn’t end at birth. The needs of children who are abused and neglected because they are born into a world of poverty, addiction, mental illness, sexism, racism and numerous other social ills remain overlooked. Until we address these other challenges, it is obtuse to devote so much energy into bringing children into this world only to neglect their needs as soon as they have taken their first breath.