how do you feel

Growing up female

As a 23 year old female artist I find myself living in a world and generation where we stand up for a new image of womanhood. We want to finally overcome patriarchal myths and expectations as a result of long outdated decades of cultural imprints. Ideas of femininity and masculinity work like a prison, confining us to boundaries that obscure the reality that men can be soft, females can be strong, and people can be just human.

But what about a generation or family that grew up differently, when patriarchy was not questioned during the period of growing up female and neither while slowly becoming a woman?

Both my mother and grandmother, educated as Catholic, lived their life in times where the concept of being a women was and is questioned and reflected a lot. Still, family roles have always been narrated in a traditional and Christian way within our family.

This project works as a reflection of these role models and perceptions about womanhood, while at the same time plays with them, reveals and dissolves them.

By reversing these gender roles, the ambivalence and paradox of expected narratives such as the objectification of the female body are to be shown: My grandfather, the patriarch, now seen as a vulnerable old man, combing his few hairs while looking at himself in the mirror, like girls are told to do so from an early age.

My grandmother, covered by nothing as a an object - an old curtain rod and curtain - that demonstratively protects her against the objectification of her own female body

And my grandfather again, surrounded by rose and pink tones, entirely naked and bared shown from above. But staging him like an object of desire doesn’t automatically makes him one. Is this due to the male gaze? Do we need women for these kind of presentations? Or doesn’t it just demonstrate the paradoxical nature of patriarchal roles and female objectification?

For my mother and grandmother this project was a way to reproduce and experience the debate about femininity by themselves. A debate they didn’t want to open first, because they had internalized these social roles so deeply in their lives. „How do you feel“ was their chance to become the subject of their own self and body. To overcome passively lived role models and to actively develop their true und free self as a subject, woman and human being.

The female body should be neither an object nor due to the desire of others. For my mother and grandmother it means 80 and 50 years of being alive, being a woman, mother and wife.

At present and especially for my generations, people have more options in terms of masculine or feminine role models than ever before, yet much still needs to be done to free our society from stereotyped representations of femininity, manliness, race and identity.

© Johanna Berghorn - The Garden Of Eden

The Garden Of Eden

© Johanna Berghorn - how they see us

how they see us

© Johanna Berghorn - The Patriarch

The Patriarch

© Johanna Berghorn - supposed to be

supposed to be

© Johanna Berghorn - break out blossom out

break out blossom out

© Johanna Berghorn - #justgirlythings


© Johanna Berghorn - The first sin - The Garden Of Eden

The first sin - The Garden Of Eden

© Johanna Berghorn - Mother Maria

Mother Maria

© Johanna Berghorn - Grandpa K.

Grandpa K.

© Johanna Berghorn - supposed to be

supposed to be

© Johanna Berghorn - Behind hidden doors

Behind hidden doors

© Johanna Berghorn - Virgin rebirth

Virgin rebirth

© Johanna Berghorn - Rebirth


© Johanna Berghorn - Mama C.

Mama C.

© Johanna Berghorn - I am no object

I am no object

© Johanna Berghorn - Reborn


© Johanna Berghorn - Mother and Daughter 80 and 50 years on earth

Mother and Daughter 80 and 50 years on earth

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