You Would Be Prettier If You Smiled
Admonishing a woman for failing to smile is a not uncommon phenomenon whereby men, regardless of their status, may ‘correct’ any woman for her expression, even if she is his superior. It is a form of banter that hides an attempt to establish gender hierarchy. In these works, century-old photographs of weeping women are presented to the viewer to be interpreted at will, whether as representations of a private moment in grief or ecstasy, of fine art or even as pornography. The question is whether the woman is somehow at fault for expressing sadness when, instead, she should be doing her best to put on a brave and even attractive face. Again, the images are layered under mixed media suggesting the passage of time, asking whether interpretations of gender and emotion have shifted across multiple generations.