This exhibition juxtaposes the highly developed personalities of grandmothers against images of young girls dolled up for beauty contests. Miss Shapen intends to explore the sexualization of toddlers in our culture, and our distorted ideal of beauty. The result of toddler beauty pageants, where girls compete for money, is conflicted self worth for women.
The young girls in these contests aren’t even at an age where they can comprehend what exactly they’re doing. Their parents tan them, put makeup on them, and style their hair, then tell them to dance on a stage. This arrangement works because tons of people clap for the girls when they’re done, which reinforces the behavior. More importantly, however, is that their mothers command it.
Let us rather look to real women for beauty, intelligence, and wisdom. Our own grandmothers have lived full lives, and therefore can teach us what it means to be a woman. They can teach us the values of our culture as well as the mistakes that our society makes.
I encourage you to ask them what they think.