Few among us revel in the oppressive nature of verbal sexual harassment while commuting (unless you are this person), and one Brooklyn-based artist is reinterpreting her experiences with sexism into artwork that brilliantly explores gender oppressive behaviors. In her series You Are My Duchess , Elana Adler embroiders catcalls into feminist needlepoint works of art. Adler juxtaposes the delicateness of her embroidery with the verbal objectification she’s experienced first-hand, transforming them into powerful visual presences.
The series comprises more than 32 samplers, each of which Adler says on her blog "captures a moment, giving these words a visual presence, a power, and a state of concreteness." "These words were hurled casually and heard quickly but required hours of time-consuming, careful stitching," she continues. "The physically delicate, traditionally feminine, form of the piece engages the viewer and confronts him/ her with a sweetness that may mask its crassness and vulgarity." Pretty badass, no?
When asked why she chose needlepoint as her medium, Adler told Bustle, "Needlepoint made sense to me because of its connotations and how it historically references women's work. I also liked the idea of how laborious it was. That these statements would stick to me or be in my mind for a very long time."
"These words were hurled casually and heard quickly but required hours of time-consuming, careful stitching. The physically delicate, traditionally feminine, form of the piece engages the viewer and confronts him/ her with a sweetness that may mask its crassness and vulgarity."
It is her hope, she says, that the works will serve to challenge the systemic gender oppression experienced by women daily. "The series will inform some and resonate with others," Adler said. "I think it is very relatable, most have experienced this behavior. Perhaps it will cause people to think more about what they are saying and how they are saying it before it is said, hopefully concluding with less objectification."
Take a peek at some of her work below, and see the full series on her website.
Images: Elana Adler (9)