Accessories of Expectations

Paper dolls have long been a way to project future roles onto children, particularly girls. Like other dolls, the popular toy has shaped self-perceptions to fit conventional ideals of desirability.

Even though career-focused versions of late have widened the scope of what’s possible and likable, these three adaptations of the classic plaything depict life-like women beguiled by “having it all.” They wear flat stylized accessories that signal success while their expressions suggest fear, exhaustion, and sexualization. They’re framed in clear acrylic boxes that amplify the sense that women are objects on view. 

These pieces were first created for Land That I Love, an exhibition about empty proclamations that we cherish women and nature. They specifically focus on the former and point out the toll of meeting expectations.

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