To write about my social media photo-project Unfreaking tangible, is like talking about my third baby (I happily have two kids). It started on Facebook where I recognised a post from a Facebook friend, whom I know also in real life, about a situation she described with the words: “AGAIN my neighbour asked me if I´m pregnant. Uff!!” The comment itself was nothing new to me. I had a lot of experiences with that comment since I had my first child. What really hit me was the reaction from other Facebook members. Within an hour a lot of women had commented that they are faced with this question frequently in their daily lives. At this moment it was crystal clear to me. It´s not me, it´s not my friends who are affected by this or similar frequently asked questions- No! It`s EVERY woman!! Every woman is a victim of judgmental comments of others. We must be thin, but not too thin. We should have kids, but not too many, or too early or too late. We must smile all the time, but not be dressed to flashy. We can´t do it right! First it was a shock. Because as every “good” woman I always thought I am the problem. I should have been thinner, I´m not allowed to have a bump, because there’s no baby in it any more. And then I got angry, really angry. Because there’s no good explanation why it should be this way. We, as women have all the right to fucking look as we want to! And so, unfreaking tangible was born (at first Unfucking tangible) The name originated from my first reaction on facebook to all the stories the women told. It's a combination from the English word freaking and the German word comprehensible , what Means unbelievable.
So, what is the photo-project about?
I take pictures of women with a blackboard in the picture background. On the blackboard I ask them to write a comment they were told about their bodies or their gender role as a woman. I post the pictures with their respective background stories to the comment on Facebook to show how effected women are from these comments in their body awareness and lead the followers to more empathy and reflection.
During the shootings we talk a lot about body norms, gender stereotypes, gender norms etc. And I feel, that the women really need to talk about their stories. They often thank me for speaking up about the topic and creating a space for them to share their experiences and stories. It´s like “finally we can talk about this.” So, we as women struggle a lot with comments we get from others, it prevents us to become our true self, to love our body, to encourage our beautiful self’s and to give that love we could feel about our self to other women and our daughters. I have a daughter, she’s seven and I wish for her to live in a world where nobody judges her because of her body or her gender role. And I also have a son and I wish for him to become a young man who can wear what he wants to (he loves pink, skirts and dresses) and not to be judged because of his sensitivity. That no one tells him to “man up!”
I am currently working on my master thesis in Adult Education at the University of Graz and have dedicated it to body norms. With this academic background to my social media photo-project I am planting a seed of body positivity and tell people how fucked up gender norms are. And I will continue my work and hope you help me sprout and grow the seed, because there’s a long way to the world I want to leave for my children and all other children.