“Four letter word” specifically explores my relationship with three gendered insults, SLUT, CUNT, and BITCH and surveys the words’ overlapping historical, and social contexts while acknowledging this exploration comes through the lens of my own perspective.
Beginning with my own negative experiences with each word and my own written hand, I translate, across the letters of the words themselves, how this personal experience relates to a larger social, political, and historical context and how each of these contexts relate to each other and how the larger scale of these issues and ideas reflect and affect myself. I have examined how negative perspectives of these words, which are different from my own, contribute to issues such as sexism, rape culture, victim blaming, slut shaming, and body policing while also calling attention to issues of race, sexuality, gender, and class. Alternatively, positive behaviors such as reclamation afford these words a different kind of power.
The letters themselves are life size, hand sewn, and plush, and come in reds, pinks, and cream colors allowing for them to envelope the viewer in a physical yet gentle way. The physicality of these letters is important to me as I am interested in how the use of the words inform behavior and consequently how behaviors affect identity. Just as vital are the jumble and messiness of the forms, which reflect the complicated nature of language, that it is both powerful and reductive.
This piece is a part of the body of work Out of Context