The Women’s March of January 2017 marked a new wave of resistance bringing millions of people together with a sense of common cause. This mobilization shepherded ignored voices to the fore; provoked by the trauma of a man being elected who flaunted his ability to objectify and molest women. From the greek myth of Cassandra and Apollo to Anita Hill women have not been believed when they speak out against their transgressors. The #MeToo movement of today feels like one of the ways our culture is shifting to acknowledge the experiences of many women. Each woman has a distinct personal and ancestral experience of sexual assault from the brutality of slavery, the rape and massacre of Native women, the violence and aggression that comes with colonization to stories of isolated individual incidents of rape, assault and molestation. By banding together and supporting the diverse voices of women who have been violated and abused, the abuse becomes a visible part of our culture, one we must confront. It is my hope that together we are stronger. That we as 21st century individuals are galvanized by both singular and collective histories of violence against women; that we desire to know deeply the experiences of others, to hold them up to the light in order to speak truth to a power that for centuries has gone unchallenged. Today we stand for change, for our foremothers, the struggles they endured and the work they did to lay the cornerstones of who we are today, to the bright future we imagine for our daughter’s and our daughter’s daughters.
#MeToo is a fine art photography series depicting women young and old giving voice to stories of sexual assault and abuse past and present. It includes twenty women from a diversity of backgrounds all clad in victorian style mourning dresses, a dress worn by European women during the period to connote the loss of a loved one. In this instance it is not the loss of a physical being, but the negation of the voice of women throughout history across the globe whom have been subjected to sexual violence that is referenced by the European style dress, the dress of one of the greatest colonizers in history. The seed of inspiration for this series was planted on the night of the Golden Globes when Hollywood women wore black as a collective voice of protest against the culture of sexual harassment. The #MeToo placard is a sort of reverse scarlet letter, in the case of Hester Pryne, she was made to wear the letter A and stand before a crowd, shamed for the act of adultery, here the collective impact of so many women who have a #MeToo experience is meant to bring awareness, it is a shameful history of unrepentant perpetration that we should no longer be willing to quietly endure. By depicting women of today in a dress code of the past it is my intention to demonstrate the sense of time that women have been subject to sexual abuse in hopes that we can create a cultural shift so that the experience is not perpetuated in future generations.