Pretty in Pink by Shiann Roark

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Pretty in Pink explores gender as a social construct in the context of adolescent females. The pressure people face to conform to specific human characteristics allotted to them with their biological sex can be immense; especially for those who don’t fit the gender binary.

The stark contrast that exists between the expectation and treatment of males and females isn’t healthy for anyone. No one of any gender should be told what they can or cannot like, act like, or look like; that isn’t equality. Sexist connotations such as “like a girl” or “be a man” have become seamless in the daily language of this culture. In general, these terms equate socially constructed characteristics of femininity with negativity. If we raised children as people instead of as girls and boys, so many doors we didn’t know existed would open. This, of course, isn’t rooted in internalized misogyny, claiming that it’s wrong to fit the binary; everyone is valid, no matter what their identification and interests include.

The photos of this series chronicle various “feminine” activities with a dark and gruesome perspective that builds as the series progresses. Some photos capture the pressures felt by the media to look a certain way. Other photos display the treatment of women in society. It’s all meant to feel very intense and shocking while still containing over the top “girly” elements.