A question that I have been thinking about a lot lately is what would it be like if it was a man in here instead of a woman. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know it would be different. They would probably ask him questions about what it feels like to live without privacy, but I am pretty sure that people wouldn’t be concerned about his safety nor would they be asking him if he feels objectified.
I don’t feel objectified by anyone’s behavior. In fact, people have been incredibly respectful towards me. However, the fact that I am a woman living in a very public way I can’t deny that it’s a very voyeuristic experience for those watching. In some cases though, I think people watching are more uncomfortable then I am. Multiple people have emailed me to tell me they feel so uncomfortable watching me that they look at my surroundings instead of looking directly at me.
The fact that I am a woman probably does bring more attention to the project, but it was not a deliberate decision. In fact, Josh was originally going to collaborate with a man who was going to try and create a small carbon footprint. When that didn’t work out and he and I started collaborating, we didn’t discuss the implications of me being a woman. I think we both though of it in a rather gender neutral way.
However, a few days leading up to my coming in here, I did start to get concerned for my safety. I also wondered if anyone would try to flash me or do something else to make me feel uncomfortable. Those thoughts faded quickly once I was in here and nothing of the sort happened. Other then a couple facebook comments on my hair and a phone number taped to the window things have been really quiet in the objectification department.
I have been reluctant to discuss this element of the project in interviews because the media tends to get fixated on this topic and there is much more to our project then that. I recognize that this is part of the project too and I am happy to discuss it, I just don’t want it to be the only thing we discuss.
That being said if we had done this without people being able to see me, it is likely that the response would have been much different. I am most definitely not the first artist to put themselves in this situation to make a statement. It is what gets people’s attention, but I hope that it is the other concepts that continue to hold people’s interest.