This week I came upon an artist who my grandparents or even my parents generation would consider unconventional. Even for today she pushes the envelope a bit—but that’s what artists do best.
Violet Overn is an artist of photos, videos and real-life interaction. Although she doesn’t have any statement on her website, her work seems to focus on the portrayal of woman in different societal situations.
Just this week she released a series of photos about how girls are seen in the context of fraternities. In her statement about this series of photos, she makes it clear she sees the Greek system as far outdated and a huge issue for America’s women. It was this series of photos that took me to her website where I found more of her work.
I stumbled across a video that took me over half the clip to more clearly understand what her purpose of doing the video was. I encourage you to take a moment and observe Overn’s video art:
In the video Overn says “it’s about the stories, not their bodies”…“they should be interested in the stories, rather than what she looks like.”
“they should be interested in the stories, rather than what she looks like.”
This statement hits the heart of so many women in the field of media. WHY is it that if a journalist’s Instagram is perfection, her outfit is designer and/or she is a size 2, readers/viewers will suddenly tune in? But what Overn is honing in on is the fact that they might tune in and claim to be listening—but when it comes down to it, they’re really just watching.
Notice as Overn stood on the street, men walked by and took photos. Only a few came up to her and noticed the words on her body or asked her about what she was doing.
Overn is challenging thought. She’s challenging structure. And she’s challenging the normalcy that women have been living in for far too long.
Her art has made me step back, scratch my head and pause in the state of ‘hmmm.’ She so clearly makes a point of what is going on for women in the media business in a way that more people can understand. Overn makes what’s happening to women in the field of journalism very real.
This issue of women being eyecandy in the eyes of the media has challenged me to reconsider all that I’m working towards in my career. But at the same time, it’s pushed me to stick with it to out-perform the beauty queens who are handed the media positions and leave a mark on the business as the public voice and trusted place for truthful information that it was put in place to be.
Featured Photo: Violet Overn, courtesy of Huffington Post