As part of our UNDEFINED project, Ooh St. Lou will be sharing bios of the women featured in the original shoot.
What do you do?
I exist as a women in 21st Century America, which can be more of a chore than either of my careers. For work, I’m a multidisciplinary artist, secondary art educator and future yoga instructor. Concurrently, I’m an environmentalist, activist and casual athlete.
What prompted you to take part in the UNDEFINED project?
I saw it as a poignant and creative response to an article that revealed the pervasiveness of sexism in our society.
What stereotyping have you faced in your career, and how have you handled it?
I’ve literally been sexually harassed in every place that I’ve worked, including schools.
For a period of time, I was working at KOLR10, a small news station in SW Missouri. I was one of two women working in studio production. We wore headsets so we could communicate with Master Control while on the air. The men would make degrading comments about the female anchors; they were stupid, sexist and it was just annoying to listen to while trying to work. As soon as I spoke up to get them to stop, I started being wildly harassed. It got to the point that they would discuss, over headset, what my vagina smelled like. My e-mail was hacked, I was yelled at, shunned by those working in other areas (including said female anchors), confronted with obscene sexual advances and touched in erroneous areas without invitation.
- Despite my experience and the quality of my work, I was denied a promotion that favored a man without credentials.
- It is often assumed that I don’t know how to use tools or construct things, despite my career as a sculptor and installation artist.
- My intelligence and abilities have consistently been second to my sex appeal.
- My abilities to type and sit quietly have consistently taken precedence over my leadership abilities.
- Most things require explaining and/or assistance from an overzealous male.
- It is often assumed that I required guardianship from an older male colleague.
- I am often called ‘cutie’ or ‘sweetheart’, though my career does not include a need to be cute or sweet.
- I’ve been called ‘little girl’ by a colleague who later compared me to a soldier and himself a captain. I was 29 at the time and he was yelling.
In all these settings, I received mega backlash when I’ve handled the situation myself. When I went to my supervisor it’s grown incredibly hostile. In the above situation, I started working on a lawsuit. At the same time, that station was bought out by KY3 and the harassers did not transfer.
Where can people find out more about you/what you do?
Anything else we need to know?
I really love what you’re doing. (Ed. note: thanks!)
The Undefined project explores and is a response to sexism in local media, for more information see our original post on the project. UNDEFINED will be on display at SOHA gallery in January 2017, visit the Facebook event page for more information on the show.