My final project was inspired by a disturbing site in the major clothing store “Forever 21”. What caught my eye was two mannequins that were black-faced with white features. These were the only mannequins in the store dressed with disrespectful quotes on them. They were dressed as if they were going to be featured in the latest Rhianna or 50 Cent video; one mannequin even had the words “Holla Back” across her shirt. This was a very disturbing site for me because this store was clearly pushing racial stereotypes through mannequins. The store is trying to appeal to the African American demographic in the wrong way. These images that Forever 21 is pushing are wrong, and are seen in other major clothing stores across America. Many store try to appeal to White shoppers, because they feel that they have the most money to spend, therefore a lot of major clothing stores have White mannequins . Whenever most major clothing stores try to come out with ethnic looking mannequins they play to the stereotype. Why can’t the ethnic mannequins have regular cloths, like the White surrounding mannequins? Why can’t all women identify with mannequins? Why do ethnic women feel offended when we see mannequins like two displayed in Forever 21? I needed the answers to these questions and more; so thats why i decided to construct a video of images and interviews for my final project.
This video was also inspired by the classes readings, for example Bergers “Ways of Seeing” definitely gave me a better perception on representation, and how people of the world perceive. Readings such as Practices of Looking by Sturken and Cartwright, and Bell Hooks analysis on how there is a lot of misrepresentation in ads. Overall I feel that the class broaden my perspective on how I view and how people view. I really took away a lot of valuable teachings and inserted them into this video.
http://nwkjournalism.rutgers.edu/smedina/ – Where the video lives -A blog “Art in The Hands of a City Slicker”