Girlhood: Lost and Found
“Girlhood: Lost and Found” explores the experience young girls face growing up in a world full of preconceived notions of what it means to be a woman. Lost objects in the street coupled with intimate portraits mirror the many ways women lose their sense of identity as they maneuver life as a female. These images examine attachments formed in early childhood influenced by female stereotypes portrayed in our daily lives. The discarded items offer the opportunity to question and reflect upon the desires women abandon to conform to these subliminal ideals and pressures as we navigate the culture we live in. How do we reclaim the lost girl and her true nature, betrayed by false truth and unrealistic expectations to fit the restrictive mold accepted by society? This work is my personal journey to discover a way back to the person I was before I learned how the world saw me. It is my hope that like the objects in these images, by tossing unnecessary baggage aside, the external influences that took hold in girlhood will also be left behind, clearing the way for a reunion with the woman I am truly meant to be.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Stella when she joined my son’s school as a new third grader and quickly became one of his best friends. I was intrigued as I watched this young girl with a sweet, gentle, soft personality in conversation, then run off and go tear it up on the playground and basketball court with all the boys. When she stepped onto the rink I was in awe as she dominated the ice. Stella was one of the only female ice hockey players in her class, and she was unintimidated and shining. A force of nature in a high contact sport surrounded by mostly boys, she was uninhibited and alive with the energy you feel from someone who is aligned with their truth. May Stella always embrace the different sides of her true nature, and inspire all of us to connect with what we truly love and make life choices from that place, uninfluenced by external ideas of who the world thinks we are supposed to be. Did you know that professional female hockey players can earn as little as $2000 per season with the average salary being between $5000-$10,000 per year with no health insurance? Men in the NHL earn over a million dollars annually with the highest paid players earning $14-$15 million. The Women’s National Hockey team recently boycotted the World Championships to protest unequal treatment in the sport regarding issues ranging from pay, equipment, funding, exposure, and media coverage.
Regardless of physical, emotional, or environmental conditions, every woman will inevitably come face to face with the issue of motherhood and the absence or presence of it in their lives. Often we get to choose which path to go down, and other times we have to make choices based on circumstances beyond our control. Then we must tackle the wide range of emotions and life decisions that show up once we arrive at either destination. My fascination lies in wondering how we might choose differently if we grew into womanhood without the effects of any external influences that may have shaped our perception of what it meant to be a woman. Would we still want the same things? Are we making decisions based on our honest desires, or from years of programming and fear of being considered less than? Would we be as hard on ourselves when we fall short of the fabled woman who “has it all” once we are there? These images were made with the hope of creating space for connection, unlearning, and nonjudgmental support despite our differences.