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Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. Please scroll down to read….

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10/5/10

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Girls are making choices that will preserve their true selves — or instill false selves. (They) become ‘female impersonators’ who fit their whole selves into small, crowded spaces. Vibrant, confident girls become shy, doubting young women. They become what the culture asks of its women, which is that they be thin and nonthreatening. Period.
(more from the book)

Creating this image, proved to be a confirmation of its theme! We say our culture nurtures children, but I don’t think it’s true. Look up “girl” on an art-site, and you’ll find few children there – mostly “hotties” in their teens. The exceptions? Vintage images, circa 1922. It was okay to be a child then, I guess – but not anymore?

Look up “women.” Again, another bevy of your Basic Barbie Dolls. Even “mothers and children” nets the same result. I finally found some “normal looking” girls (for lack of a better term) — under Mad Scientist! What was the message, there? Only “crazy girls” would take up science? (Come to think of it, that’s what I was told in school myself!)

I found the cellist under “sitting” – a bit obscure – and the gal with the beer was in the “drinking” group.

No wonder everyone’s confused! Once upon a time, the Message was, “Find and Keep A Husband. That’s your job.” Now it’s more like, “You can be anything you want! *Just be thin and sexy while you’re doing it!”* Tall order, though; success requires focus. If you’re focused on your body-size, your looks, your hair, your Image — how far r’ ya gonna get in Theoretical Cosmology (or anything else??)

It’s one thing to say, “It’s *okay*to be sexy and comfortable about your body” (after all, we’ve gone from an era where a “Lady” didn’t even show her ankles, just about a hundred years ago!) – but another thing to say, “You *must!”* Freedom should be freedom to be — yourself!

Beer-drinking girl – from WolfcatStock

Cellist – Cello 6 from Attemptestock

Would be scientist (far left) – Mad Scientist 14 by Deathrockstock

Girl whose image in the mirror says, “You’re Fatter than an Elephant!” — Goth 28 from LisaJen (face isn’t really hers)

Model in the window 1 (far right) – Female Stock 8 from Katanaz

Model in the window 2 – Female Stock 33 from Katanaz

Girl behind the would-be scientist (left) – Female Stock 117 from Katanaz

Little girl fascinated by the sexy mannequin – Child Stock 56 by MissyStock

The Mall – Shopping Center Stock by Chiron178

Screaming Woman (all of us!) – Goth Stock 9 by SamiSox

Tags

composite, digital compilation, photoshop collage, nadya johnson

Comments

  • Simon Groves
    Simon Grovesabout 4 years ago

    It’s hard enough being a man! Similar stuff goes on in a boys world, boys are encouraged to be the false self that makes the girl need to use a false self…. this is a very brave and good well produced piece…. A shopping mall for window shopping a girls own life…? This is a compassionate piece!

  • Thanks, Simon! Yes — I am all too well aware that boys have a similar dilemma. I tend to think that we (as women) tend to focus on ourselves — until perhaps we raise a son??? A definite eye-opener for me! I appreciate your comment!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • Simon Groves
    Simon Grovesabout 4 years ago

    Nadya this is a strong piece, I admire your work on this… I will retire my male input and wish all benefit from this to the cause of womens restoration to Self…. My Marilyn Monroe piece was my attempt to love the one behind the mask…. I do that best quietly :-) xxx strong stuff!!! all power to you!

  • AngelinaLucia10
    AngelinaLucia10about 4 years ago

    Awesome!!

  • Thank you so much for your comment, Angelina! Much appreciated!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • virgosun
    virgosunabout 4 years ago

    Powerful work, and a terribly important message – this image is jam-packed with statement – the little girl is a particularly strong symbol. I find it ludicrous that little girls are dressed “sexually” to be fashionable, and yet teen sexuality is treated with shock and horror… like, what were you expecting, people???
    I will add that I agree with Bright, though, in that boys have a certain weight of false expectations too. Both genders need to be free to be themselves. Whatever else, brilliant work!

  • Thanks! I agree that boys have the problem too; well, raise a son and you can’t help but see it! Really, I was inspired to do this awhile back when I received a magazine in the mail (one I never ordered!!) and my first thought was, “Sheesh! Glad I don’t have a little girl around the house!” It was NOT Victoria’s Secret or any other sort of thing where you’d “expect” the stuff… just a bland old “women’s magazine” but holy cow. Well! On one hand, recipes for soup — on the other, ads for hookers’ clothes! lol (Now mind you, I am not a prude. Really! I was a go-go dancer once upon a time… back when they (we) were wearing little skirts before the “pole” idea came along! But do we need that kind of model for our kids??? Or more importantly, do they?! Glad you like this, I appreciate your thoughtful comment!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • Tammy  (Robison)Espino
    Tammy (Robiso...about 4 years ago

    You have such a great imagination!! Awesome work~

  • Thanks Tammy!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • Greta  McLaughlin
    Greta McLaughlinabout 4 years ago

  • Thank you, Greta!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • John Poon
    John Poonabout 4 years ago

    Wonderfully emotional piece!

  • Thanks for your comment, John!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • Anna Shaw
    Anna Shawabout 4 years ago

    This is very powerful Nadya – and such a great message. The image has been so well blended, and the more you look – the more you see. This is most definitely an all time fave.
    xx

  • Anna, thank you so much – and for the fave, too!!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • Mynybee
    Mynybeeabout 4 years ago

  • Thank you, Myn!

    – Nadya Johnson

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorabout 4 years ago

    Nadya well done One of your best ,my friend you have made apowerful work and write well done !!LIZ

  • Lia, thanks so much!

    – Nadya Johnson

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