Chehalis Hegner & Lisa Beard in Dialogue
This work-in-progress collaboration features two “women”: Veronica, a mannequin undoubtedly manufactured to emulate the freakishly idealized image of a female, and Sam, a young man whose daily obsessive objective is to transform himself into a version of what he feels a powerful and desirable woman should look and act like.
At first glance, this mannequin (Veronica) may not appear to be offensive in any way. She actually seems to look more like a real woman than many traditionally conceived mannequins. However, upon closer examination, she is six-feet tall, has hands the size of an eight-year-old, anamorphic legs, a minute waist and enormous breasts. When combined, these physical attributes depict a highly distorted female form. Do women really want to be depicted like this? Do they desire to see themselves in this way? Do the majority of women even possess anything close to the same attributes as this manufactured muse that was designed to titillate and draw sales-worthy attention from both males and females alike?
Similarly, with Sam, it may seem that his desire to transform himself into a woman like Veronica is complimentary towards women in general, but when carefully considered, it is not. Interestingly, his view of turning himself into a gorgeous woman comes very close to mimicking Veronica’s looks. What’s more is that the performance piece of Sam’s portrayal of women adds to this distorted view: it is often sassy, narcissistic, over the top, animated, depressed, and subservient.
The problem is that a large number of women are not actually comfortable being themselves, and are either not willing or able to supply the guidelines and boundaries for what an acceptable view of women should look like; instead images of women are often carefully constructed by the corporate makers of the super-sexy, made-to-order mannequins or by the drag-queen men who portray themselves as the types of women they see and want to emulate. Both Veronica and Sam express a clear and concerning objectification of women, one that is still not obvious to many. We hope these diptychs encourage honest dialogue about the problematic view of women that persists.
All Images in Wild Ponies ©Lisa Beard & ©Chehalis Hegner