This Series Sums Up Ridiculous Gendered Insults

by Eliza Castile

It's no secret that language is hardly kind to women; our body parts are synonymous with insults, and the compliments aren't much better. Either way, everyday phrases reduce women to their bodies again and again — a trend that the photo series Words for Women by Anna Friemoth skewers using cartoonish, surreal portraits of the ways we subtly disparage femininity. Each photograph is a literal depiction of labels for women, from "golddigger" to "sugar t*ts," and the results highlight just how ridiculous such language can be — but also how important it can be to laugh about it every once in a while.

Friemoth tells Bustle over email that the series arose from the intersection of visual interest in the phrases and the desire to make viewers think. "I started thinking about labels people throw at women and how ridiculous they are... I really liked the concept of using compound nouns to create a literal interpretation of words used to describe women because it provided some interesting visual opportunities and was thought provoking at the same time," she writes.

Words for Women does exactly what Friemoth intended. Between the bright colors and exaggerated angles, the series is certainly visually arresting; at the same time, however, it serves to mock sexist language by taking it ever-so-literally.

Pushover, Anna Friemoth

Although you'd think the subject would be upsetting, Friemoth's bright colors and incredibly literal interpretations give the series a wonderfully playful tone. For instance, one photograph captures the subject smearing butter on her fully made-up face (Butterface), while another shows a woman wrapped up in a candy wrapper (Arm Candy) — it's impossible not to at least smile in the face of such absurdity.

Butterface, Anna Friemoth

"I hope to inspire the viewers to stop and think about the absurdity of these words that are used everyday to demean women," Friemoth adds. "What do these words say about our attitudes towards women?"

Trophy Wife, Anna Friemoth

Words for Women is currently on display at Gallery 151 in New York City until March 18.

Images courtesy of Gallery 151 and the artist; "Words for Women" is made possible by the generous support of Alfa Development, Wallplay & Michael Namer.