You are what you wear – Deconstructing Female Identity

Marcy B. Freedman is an artist and an art historian based in the New York metropolitan area. Curator Kathleen Reckling once invited her to participate in an exhibition called: “SHE: Deconstructing Female Identity”. Within the project, Marcy was confronted by a lot of people who shared their impression of her so she could face the question if it matters that we are what we wear.

It seems as if women always face an unsolvable conundrum: On one hand, they want to be appreciated for their personal qualities or accomplishments. On the other hand, women love to dress up. As we have already talked about the importance of a correct attire, we face again the problem, that if women dress up too much they are not seen as serious as their male counterpart but treated as sex objects and eye candy.

What Artist Marcy B. Freedman in her exhibition did, was simply presenting clothes from her closet. She selected fifty outfits and presented them on a wall and on a clothes rack. Additional, she presented an interactive performance called “you are what you wear”. With the opening reception of the exhibition and every other occasion, she advised the gallery visitors to select different outfits for her.



When Marcy now changed her clothes, she asked a few people to share their impression of her. Surprisingly for her the responses varied dramatically, according to the type of clothing that she was wearing.


Probably less surprising for us, because we have already had the chance to have a look inside the gender problematics. Nevertheless, Marcy stays the same person through the exhibition time but people responded to her in radically different ways according to her outfits. People often judge her by her cover and not by the person she is.

To finish up, it is sad but true: To judge somebody without knowing someone and just facing his exterior look seems very narrow-minded.

If we could really see that we are all out of blood and water respectively humans without being blinded by stereotypes, we could get closer again and stop judging people without reason.




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