Generations of women have taught themselves how to conform to societal standards. Some have become experienced in manipulating their appearance and mannerisms to not necessarily reflect their individualism but to connect or become accepted within this standard. Why is it that girls are still obligated to conceal the reality of themselves?
When I look at Julia Jones’s Alice 1, I see that girl. For me, this tiny princess, dressed in her billowy white dress trapped in her pink prison, surrounded by her childhood trinkets, is doing what she thinks she is supposed to do while containing all urges to be herself. Staring into her dull eyes and mundane expression, I feel saddened by her repression. The combination of untruths camouflaged in this portrait induces strong emotion about the subject and a reflection of my own experience.
The women of our future should feel free. Yet I still feel this little girl is hiding something. After reading Jones’s artist statement, I came to understand she did not share my interpretation of the little girl in her pink prison. Still, every time I walk past this petite lass, wearing her pink ribbons and tiny barrettes, I think more about the truths she might be hiding.
Alice 1 is part of the While in Class exhibit at Woman Made Gallery through February 25, 2010.
-Stephanie El Tawil, WMG Intern