Mrs. John America
This series conveys the role of women in American society in the 1950-1960 era. The limited choices and societal expectations women had in regards to career and family responsibilities are represented through iconography such as Sears and Roebuck catalogs and women’s magazines collected from those decades. Vintage wallpapers and clipped recipes, some from my own mother’s recipe box, portray their environment from that era. Large typeset style numbers represent the addresses these women took care of, as the morals of the time dictated, whether desired or entrapped. The woman figure in each piece is made up solely of hair and a dress that are made from traditional upholstery fabric. The lack of any body features represents the women being identified with their home, losing their own identity, and many times serving as just a pretty figure, a vessel of procreation, and decoration on the arm of her husband who was the “King of his Castle”.
I grew up in this era, my own mother being a housewife by trade most of her life. Luckily for myself, my sister, and my father, she flourished as Mother and Wife, and she was never as happy as when she was home, cooking and cleaning everyday for us. Growing up in the midst of the Feminist movement, I feel somewhat conflicted working on this series. On one hand I have always considered myself a feminist, and I feel it is important to create my collages in this series to remind all women that we need to celebrate and still protect a women’s rights of equality. On the other hand, I do so with full respect of the mother that I had, who lovingly kept us clean and well dressed, cooking three course dinners 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. These women did all this without the modern conveniences we are lucky to have today and looked fabulously coifed in their teased and sprayed boufant, keeping their seams in their nylons straight!