Meet The Teen Artist Tackling Everyday Sexism In Her Work
19-year-old Röra Blue first caught the Internet’s attention with her jarringly honest photo series, “The Unsent Project.” The project, which has already accumulated thousands of submissions, is a collection of unsent text messages to first loves. First launched on Tumblr, users can now submit their unsent texts directly through Röra’s website: They can choose the color of their message, type their unspoken words to first significant others, and can then print them into stickers.
Recently, Röra has focused her attention on a new, more feminist-minded project: “Handle With Care.”
According to Röra’s website, “Handle With Care” seeks to capture sexist comments — literally. Her photos asks viewers to pay attention to sexism by forcing them to engage with and critique many of most common sexist stereotypes and microaggression that are prevalent in our culture today.
For example, one photo features someone wearing a short red skirt that states, “Well what were you wearing?” on it. In another, a bowl of soup with alphabet noodles spells out, “You’re a woman, you belong in the kitchen.” The photo that perhaps draws the most attention, however, features red underwear on a clothesline that states, “Why are you upset? Is it that time of the month again?”
Although the project is only comprised of six photos, their collective effect undoubtedly challenges the everyday sexism that, although rampant, is also strangely accepted. While sentiments like “You’re a woman, you belong in the kitchen,” and "What were you wearing?" aren't unfamiliar quotes in the context of time and history, Röra engages viewers by confronting them head on. Especially because sexism has become even more susceptible to invisibility and to being implicitly tolerated due to its prevalence on social media, Röra's project forces us to confront these sexist comments for what they are by materializing them in this art.
“I focus on producing conceptual and interactive art," Röra told the FBomb in an email about the purpose of her project. "I think my art serves many different purposes for people. I like leaving my work open to interpretation.”
Rora also said that she pulled inspiration for her series “Handle With Care” from a women's studies class she was taking during the spring.
“I felt inspired to speak up about the sexism I have experienced during my life," she told the FBomb. "Two of the phrases used in 'Handle With Care' are things I have been told at different times during my life; the others are submissions from other women.”
While she did not necessarily have a mentor or role model for this project, Röra said she has been inspired by the women who have participated in the series. And this participation cuts to the heart of her goal of her series, which is "to get as many people as possible talking about sexism," she said, adding, "I think that through conversation and awareness we can work to end sexism over time.”
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