The primary idea behind this series is to create a visual construct of my personal reflection on gender, which leads itself into topics of gender politics, performance and identity. As I was growing up there was also an image of myself in my own mind, which by general standards was never very feminine. Whenever I had the chance I dressed in ways that would resemble a tom boy. There was always a disconnection between seeing myself in a very feminine form and I always preferred dressing in “boys” clothes.
Perhaps this was the case as I was close with my older brother when we were growing up and I wanted to imitate him and his friends in as many ways as I could, mainly through my expression via my fashion choices.
Nevertheless, as a young person, pressures begin to arise in order to conform to social groups within primary and high school years, this inevitably leads to bullying in the forms of derogatory names as well as general teasing about resembling a male. Nonetheless, if it was a special occasion (example: formal, weddings etc.) I'd confirm into the standard feminine beauty ideals formed in society – illustrated in the very first image. However, if left to my own devices I dress relatively comfortable avoiding the hassle of lost time on makeup and expensive and uncomfortable outfits, which makes me unhappy.
However, most times the outfits which are worn on a daily basis can somewhat resemble a masculine or unisex representation as demonstrated in the second and third images. This then brings us to my final series of images where there's a gender performance going on, this can relate back to performing for others during special occasions, and my own performance through my preferred choice of clothing.
The expressions, lighting schemes, catch light, shadows and colours are all aspects that add to the idea of gender performance and identity. Presented in the form of a triptych the order of these images is meant to represent the spectrum of gender and where I find myself placed within them.
As this concept is meant to reflect a personal experience it seemed fitting to choose portraiture in order to convey that personal experience, rather than an arrangement of objects. I believe this creates a stronger tie to the idea of gender and my own experiences of gender in fashion.
Visual influencers include Cindy Sherman, Yousuf Karsh and Robert Mapplethorpe.