"And they told her that her worth was her purity, silence was her currency, and obedience was her talent; they told her her weight. But they forgot to measure her strength; stained, tattered, and tarnished she remade herself, stitch by stitch."
This piece is about both religious shaming and sexual assault. The dress depicts the conservative way in which women are expected to look and behave in the church society that I grew up in. It also comments on the "virgin maiden" image. It's been stained, distressed and restitched, illustrating the desire to remake ourselves once we are forcibly taken of; how once a women has been "taken" she is then tarnished. The white lily is a symbol of purity contrasted with the red lilies symbolizing lost virginity. Often, there is so much weight on women to be responsible for their purity as well as men's purity by keeping themselves covered so the man does not sin.
Over the course of this project, I spoke with a few different women about their experiences in these areas. The stories that these women shared with me were all almost identical to each other as well as my own. These actions have been fostered and nurtured over centuries, filling our world with a malignancy in which women are viewed as lesser, weaker, to be seen and not heard; to be traded, taken, given and owned like property.
Materials: 2018- 6.5'x 5' fabric, block printing, embroidery, tea staining and was completely hand sewn