Womanhours

Tyler Payne
EXHIBITION  RUNS
   
April
   
12
 -  
April
   
23
Womanhours investigates women’s body-correcting practices – body-contour wear, Brazilian waxing, salt water cleansing and fake tanning – asking how these practices have contributed to, and transformed, the social construction of women’s gender. 

INFORMATION

How many hours does it take to be a woman? 

Womanhours investigates women’s body-correcting practices – body-contour wear, Brazilian waxing, salt water cleansing and fake tanning – asking how these practices have contributed to, and transformed, the social construction of women’s gender. This group of practices, popularised in recent decades, has become part of women’s everyday experience. Their normalisation – or rather, the normalisation of their effects on the appearance of the body – has established a strong cultural expectation toward their performance.

The very idea of ‘body-correcting’ practices exclusively for women, implies that the given female body is something to correct. The body-correcting practices have redefined women’s experience of their gender identity and feminine embodiment in the Global North. The pressure to perform these practices, in order to normalise the body, appears to be felt especially keenly by younger women, one reason for this being that younger female bodies are more often displayed in traditional media (film, television, magazines, etc.); younger female bodies, as objects of beauty, are also objects of more regular scrutiny and surveillance. However, it is also the case that images of female bodies are now more frequently circulated and consumed through higher levels of consumption of image-rich media via the internet.

What are the specific characteristics of this norm, of what I call the ‘Glossy Magazine Girl’? In the Global North (for predominantly white, heterosexual, able-bodied women) this normative image of ‘woman’ appears as a norm of beauty, but also of ‘healthy’ feminine subjectivity. The healthy ‘she’ is preternaturally thin, hairless, her skin unspotted by bulges or cellulite; her skin tone is a clear, clean white, or evenly bronzed. Such biological facts of the female body as pubic hair have become objects of disgust and disdain, for women and men alike.

Self-portraiture is an effective way to critique and undermine the normative regime of media’s Glossy Magazine Girl and the body-correcting practices that that norm mandates. Chiefly, this is done through a demystification of the ‘glossiness’ of this image: this image enforces the norm through fetish, since the objectification of women by the camera’s ‘male gaze’ is taken as the real, framed by the photographic lens and the invisible editing work. My artwork thus confronts the male gaze with the awkward, comic labour of body-correcting practices.

Bio

Tyler Payne is a visual artist based in Melbourne. She has been exhibiting in solo and group shows since 2008. In 2016, at the completion of my Masters of Research (Fine Art) at RMIT University she debuted her series, Womanhours. Her practice investigates women’s body-correcting practices, and how these practices have contributed to, and transformed, the social construction of women’s gender. The concrete body-correcting practices studied include body-contour wear, Brazilian waxing, anal bleaching, salt water cleansing and fake tanning. This group of practices, popularised in recent decades, has become part of women’s everyday experience. Their normalisation – or rather, the normalisation of their effects on the appearance of the body – has established a strong cultural expectation toward their performance by all women. Her work asks: how many hours does it take to be a woman?

Payne is currently a PhD candidate at RMIT where she teaches also teach digital and video art.

How many hours does it take to be a woman? 

Womanhours investigates women’s body-correcting practices – body-contour wear, Brazilian waxing, salt water cleansing and fake tanning – asking how these practices have contributed to, and transformed, the social construction of women’s gender. This group of practices, popularised in recent decades, has become part of women’s everyday experience. Their normalisation – or rather, the normalisation of their effects on the appearance of the body – has established a strong cultural expectation toward their performance.

The very idea of ‘body-correcting’ practices exclusively for women, implies that the given female body is something to correct. The body-correcting practices have redefined women’s experience of their gender identity and feminine embodiment in the Global North. The pressure to perform these practices, in order to normalise the body, appears to be felt especially keenly by younger women, one reason for this being that younger female bodies are more often displayed in traditional media (film, television, magazines, etc.); younger female bodies, as objects of beauty, are also objects of more regular scrutiny and surveillance. However, it is also the case that images of female bodies are now more frequently circulated and consumed through higher levels of consumption of image-rich media via the internet.

What are the specific characteristics of this norm, of what I call the ‘Glossy Magazine Girl’? In the Global North (for predominantly white, heterosexual, able-bodied women) this normative image of ‘woman’ appears as a norm of beauty, but also of ‘healthy’ feminine subjectivity. The healthy ‘she’ is preternaturally thin, hairless, her skin unspotted by bulges or cellulite; her skin tone is a clear, clean white, or evenly bronzed. Such biological facts of the female body as pubic hair have become objects of disgust and disdain, for women and men alike.

Self-portraiture is an effective way to critique and undermine the normative regime of media’s Glossy Magazine Girl and the body-correcting practices that that norm mandates. Chiefly, this is done through a demystification of the ‘glossiness’ of this image: this image enforces the norm through fetish, since the objectification of women by the camera’s ‘male gaze’ is taken as the real, framed by the photographic lens and the invisible editing work. My artwork thus confronts the male gaze with the awkward, comic labour of body-correcting practices.

Bio

Tyler Payne is a visual artist based in Melbourne. She has been exhibiting in solo and group shows since 2008. In 2016, at the completion of my Masters of Research (Fine Art) at RMIT University she debuted her series, Womanhours. Her practice investigates women’s body-correcting practices, and how these practices have contributed to, and transformed, the social construction of women’s gender. The concrete body-correcting practices studied include body-contour wear, Brazilian waxing, anal bleaching, salt water cleansing and fake tanning. This group of practices, popularised in recent decades, has become part of women’s everyday experience. Their normalisation – or rather, the normalisation of their effects on the appearance of the body – has established a strong cultural expectation toward their performance by all women. Her work asks: how many hours does it take to be a woman?

Payne is currently a PhD candidate at RMIT where she teaches also teach digital and video art.

FEATURED  WORKS

Tyler Payne, SPANK, 2016, installation / banner material, skybond, timber

Tyler Payne, Brazilian Wax, 2015, DSLR Video / edition of 6, 18:4 minutes running time

Tyler Payne, Brazilian Wax, 2015, DSLR Video / edition of 6, 18:4 minutes running time

Tyler Payne, Fake Tan, 2016, DSLR Video / edition of 6, 4:47 minutes running time

Tyler Payne, Fake Tan, 2016, DSLR Video / edition of 6, 4:47 minutes running time

Tyler Payne, Salt Water Cleanse, 2016, DSLR Video / edition of 6, 10:26 minutes running time

Tyler Payne, Salt Water Cleanse, 2016, DSLR Video / edition of 6, 10:26 minutes running time

Tyler Payne, Untitled (Fake Tan Series #1), 2016, Photographic Inkjet Print, 59.4 x 84.1cm

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS