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Morgan Ford Willingham

SPE Member since 2005
Member Chapter: Midwest

Ritualistic Beauty

The influence that advertising has on how women perceive themselves is undeniable. In a study on The Effects of Commercials for Adult Products on Children, researchers found that after showing lipstick commercials to nine to ten year old girls, the girls "attitudes regarding the link between wearing the advertised product and looking grown up or beautiful were influenced by exposure to the commercials." Many of the images that are presented in women's magazines everyday sell the idea that the modification of appearance will make them beautiful, and many women are left feeling they need to be "fixed."

In this series, different women practice beauty rituals ingrained in American culture. The text is appropriated from advertisements from popular women's magazines, and is difficult to read unless the viewer approaches the piece to investigate. This signifies how the linguistics of advertising, often, subconsciously attempts to persuade women to buy these products. The repetition of phrases throughout these images alludes to the repetitive nature of the rituals many women partake in on a daily basis. It is intended that the viewer will experience a sense of familiarity among the images. In the newest phase of this series, the work addresses my personal reaction to advertising language. The works themselves represent the daily reminders I give myself, hidden within the stitching, that what these advertisements promise is not necessarily true.

This ongoing body of work consists of mixed media, photographic images of appropriated text carved into wax that is painted onto the surface, as well as photographic images with organza hand-sewn with thread on them.

Natural match

Discover the skin you were born to have

Second guessing

Airbrush your complexion

Except the thought takes hold

Beauty starts here

Save me from myself

Brighter, more radiant eyes

Looking through to me

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