When I was seven years old, I went to confession for the first time before my First Communion. The priest asked me to confess my sins, and since I could not think of any, under pressure, I lied, and said I had stolen money from my mother’s purse. This became the first lie I remember telling so I could fit within the norm of a good girl. This was my first lesson on changing reality to satisfy someone else and trying to be perfect. Lying about my pretend sin became my first sin. As I got older the desire to become perfect intensified and caused me to modify my behavior and physical appearance to meet societal standards.
As little girls, we learn what is desirable through interaction with our parents, peers, and society. We learn what others want and because we want to please them, we change our behavior and looks with the hope that someday we will be desired and loved by them. One of young girls’ first encounters with what is the ideal look for a woman comes from playing with Barbie dolls. The tall, slim body of the Barbie, her facial features, and fabulous hair, become a symbol of perfection that girls want to emulate.
The body of work in Picture Perfect pairs the real and the ideal of how we look and how we want to look. Using the 2011 Little Black Dress Series of The Barbie Basics Collection, I present the ideal of how we think we should look like. This gives us the opportunity to experience the reality of the unreal. This fantasy of the unreal is then mirrored with its real counterpart of how we look based on who we really are.