Under Pressure

Christine Mooijer

2019 - Ongoing

Los Angeles, California, United States; San Francisco, California, United States; Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Under Pressure is a series about striving for the American Dream, but failing miserably. My generation, the millennial, is a very perfectionist one, and we experience a lot of pressure to achieve great things. We can be anything we want to be, but when you fail to achieve your goal, it's no one's fault but your own. There's a lot of depression, burn-outs, anxiety and other psychological complaints going around.

The American Dream isn't just an American concept, it's a global one. We see American imagery every day, through social media, TV, movies, magazines and more. These images follow us around, saying we need to strive to be like that. Under Pressure is about the perfect American images, but with a darker twist. It's ok to not get to see your dream come true, it's ok to not achieve the happy ending the movies told you about. It's about being real in a fake world.

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  • The American Dream, the picture perfect ideal we all have to strive to, is unachievable. I want to show a more real version of the American Dream, one that's not all that happy, shiny and bright. It's ok to not achieve the Dream.
    If you can't reach your dream, you'll be seen as a failure, because you just haven't worked hard enough for it. This is the cause of depressions, burn-outs and more.

  • Sometimes, life won't be what you envisioned when you first moved down the path you are on. Sometimes, you'll hit a dead end and you will have to swallow your pride and turn back. It's ok to fail sometimes. That's the message I want to send with this series. It's ok to not get there.

  • The American Dream is shown to us through social media, television, movies, magazines. Everything we see is an American ideal. Growing up I saw all these high school movies, like Mean Girls and the Breakfast Club. I used to believe in these movies, everything would be better in the end. But life is not a movie and happy endings are not a thing.

  • Everything about the American Dream is perfect. There's not a flaw in sight in all the media we see. That's not real life. Real life is messy and rusty and broken down and crying and having a breakdown on a bad day and having not just one bad day, but 20 or 200. We should see more of those.

  • Am I ever enough? Pretty, blonde, skinny, white teeth. I keep putting this pressure on my looks and myself, while I still know it's the inside that counts. But looks count.

  • The 'white picket fence' is an American ideal, but even over here in Europe we have to strive to everything 'American'. The American Dream is so ingrained in Western society. But the life with a husband, 2 children and a dog isn't a life for this generation. Everyone stays single and childless longer than ever and no-one can afford a house, let alone that lifestyle.

  • I was never any good at gymnastics and was always picked last. Even the girl designed to look like me in the movies, got her happy ending. So where's mine?

  • Even if you do achieve the dream, will you ever be content with what you achieved? Are you ever really satisfied with the place your in?

  • The lights are all green, there's no traffic coming. Still, you won't cross the road, out of fear of the unknown.

  • My whole life I've heard I'm 'so creative' and I can achieve such big things. Putting someone on such a high pedestal will only result in a longer fall down. These high expectations will put so much pressure on someone. The girl next door isn't just the pure ideal, she's just a girl.

  • In a world where everything changes so incredibly fast, it's OK to sometimes stop and take some more time for yourself. You don't have to work yourself to death for this American Dream. We put so much pressure on ourselves to do more, but it's ok to do less sometimes, too.

  • I've always wanted to go to Los Angeles and get my own American Dream. I've been so envious of every movie and TV show I've seen, wanting that life for myself, instead of being in the boring old Netherlands. Everything in Los Angeles, I imagined, is sunny and happy. Turns out it can even rain in LA.