The Cauldron

The Cauldron

Photography Exhibit Relates the Stigma of Female Beauty
Ashley Sager
March 19, 2007


The issues girls face during adolescence eventually become manifested into adulthood. Lauren Greenfield's documentary photography exhibit "Girl Culture," currently on display at The Gallery at Trinity Commons running now through April 29, addresses society's ideal of beauty and how girls of all ages struggle to adhere to that standard.

"These photographs are both very personal and very private," Greenfield wrote in her artist's statement. "They are about what is private and what is public and where the line that divides the two lies, when that line exists at all anymore."

Greenfield is an acclaimed photographer whose works have been featured regularly in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, and Vanity Fair. "Girl Culture" has been a fiveyear journey for Greenfield and has previously been on display in France, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and other cities nationwide.

Among the photographs exhibited are young girls at a weight loss camp in Catskills, NY, exotic dancers in Las Vegas, and an intimate view of celebrities Jennifer Lopez and Venus Williams.

Below some images are statements by the photographed girl. Lily, a 5-year-old girl in a midriff bearing outfit, browses the racks at Rachel London's Garden in Los Angeles where Britney Spears has had clothes designed. Lily, whose role models are Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Destiny's Child, stated in her testimony, "I want to be on television. I want to be famous, so everyone can see my pretty face and my whole body. How I look and stuff. When I grow up, I'm going to be so cool."

Sheena, a 15-year-old girl from San Jose, Calif., was pictured shaving her arms. "I hate hair," she stated. "I think it sucks…From the top to the bottom, I shave it all."

Greenfield also photographed a 24-year-old woman getting weighed in at an eating disorder clinic, a 19-year-old girl on her way to an acting audition in New York being stared at by three men, and a photo of a breast augmentation in Miami, Fla.

Greenfield has created three books about the social issues girls face. "Thin" chronicles the experience girls with eating disorders face. "Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadows" addresses the youth culture of Los Angeles. "Girl Culture" features photographs from Greenfield's exhibit. A 15 percent off coupon for all books at Sacred Path Books & Art is available at the exhibit.

As part of "Girl Culture," lectures and events will be held during the exhibit. For a full list of events, visit JLCleveland.org/ GirlCulture.

Greenfield will be speaking of the social issues of her photographs Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen Memorial Medical Library Ford Auditorium at Case Western Reserve University.