INSTALLATION ART: Usually, INSTALLATION ART comprises an interior space holding an assortment of objects that promote certain thoughts or feelings. In the Girl House art installation, the interior space was an 11’ x 12’ wooden house on the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside property. The girls fashioned the inside of the house to look like a bedroom.
The objects used in INSTALLATION ART may seem very disconnected from one another, or there may be an obvious point of view. In the Girl House art installation, the objects in the bedroom worked together to express a point of view about the subject of sexual harassment.
The girls created the bedroom of an imaginary girl (whom they named Crystal) who is being harassed, artistically expressing her fears and the potential consequences of sexual harassment. _______________________________________________________________________________
SEXISM is discrimination based on gender. Usually, SEXISM refers to a system of laws, traditions, policies, and practices that discriminate against girls and women. SEXISM is described in more detail in the “Contributing Cultural Factors Activity,” p. 24.
INTERNALIZED SEXISM occurs when girls and women, who have been socialized by a patriarchal system, see themselves as inferior to boys and men. Consequences of INTERNALIZED SEXISM may include deferring to males, tolerating discrimination and/or abuse, competing with other girls and women for male approval, and/or holding oneself or other females back so that males can succeed. ________________________________________________________________________________ 14
SILHOUETTE (SHOWN IN FILM):
A SILHOUETTE is an outline of something, usually filled in with black on a light background. The girls chose SILHOUETTES to represent the faceless but threatening boys and men who harass girls. In the Girl House art installation, the color black in the SILHOUETTE represents the absence of light and is not meant to indicate race. Actually, girls and women are more likely to experience harassment from people of their own race -- white women are more likely to be sexually harassed and assaulted by white men, and black women are more likely to be sexually harassed and assaulted by black men.15 Before showing the film to students, it is important to read and discuss this definition with them so as not to perpetuate the stereotypical image of the black male stranger targeting white females. ________________________________________________________________________________
The WOMANHOUSE art installation (with performance art) was first conceived by Paula Harper and team-taught by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. Twenty-one female students from the California Institute of the Arts took over a 17-room Hollywood mansion over a two-month period in the fall of 1971. The purpose of the project was for students to examine the limitations of female roles and to express their thoughts artistically. Consciousness-raising circles, where the students gathered to dialogue, debate, and share, were an integral part of the learning experience. From January 30 to February 28, 1972, thousands of people came to see WOMANHOUSE, a hugely successful and unique event. ________________________________________________________________________________
These definitions are influenced by my readings of books and essays by Bell Hooks and Riane Eisler.
Thanks to Mary Valentine, Asst. Professor of Sociology, College of the Canyons, for this information.
Beyond: A Facilitator’s Guide for Empowering