A Name Without A Face

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We were issued a challenge to create a faceless self portrait for the month of January, so I created this series of photos.

Once again, seemingly indulgent, and I apologize for that….   but the idea for this spawned a few months ago and this challenge just gave me the opportunity to put my idea to use.

There is a thing that happens on line…  we’ve all seen it or been victims of it…  Sexual harassment.

Now there are people who will scoff at that – but it is a very real thing.  I know that I sometimes hesitate to visit my  sites because I know it’s there.  Every day, it’s just there.  Waiting for me to open my messages.  Creepy people I don’t know offering me their phone numbers and saying things that either don’t make any sense or just make me feel annoyed.   I look at my “other” message tab in FB and it’s full of creepy messages of love and adoration and invitations.  I look in my G+ messages and there are seriously, tons of invites to private hangouts and people asking me for things I will not give them.   I get emails through my blog and through my web site.  It gets very tiring and very discouraging.

Now, not for a second do I think I’m special.  As a matter of fact I think this is all too normal for us women.  We have no other options but to delete, and ignore.  It’s sad to me that in this day and age, there are still so, so many who think this behaviour is ok.

Now, let me say, I have a friend who once asked me why is that different from my “regulars” who make off colour jokes and statements?  The difference is that I KNOW them.  And I seriously know they don’t mean anything by it.  We have known each other for long enough that I know where it comes from.  It comes from a witty mind and not a serious one.  I am not a prude.  I can take or give a joke with the best of them.  That’s not what I’m talking about here.

So, I began joking that I was going to change my profile photo to one with a bag over my head just to see if it would stop the unwanted comments.

Then this challenge came along…

So I started shooting with the bag over my head and I started to feel uncomfortable (other than the feeling that I was suffocating).  I started to feel like I was selling out.  By covering my face, I’m covering my identity.  It’s like I’m saying I have to hide who I am, that I’m ashamed and why should I have to do or feel  that way?  I suddenly started thinking of women who HAVE to cover their faces because they are considered evil temptresses who cause men to do bad things.

We shouldn’t have to hide ourselves just because there are people who can’t control themselves. There is nothing wrong with showing our face.  It’s who we are.  Our very gender can’t be something that we should feel we have to hide.

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I showed a couple of these shots to my good friend Peter, asking him to help me choose which one to use, and he said something very interesting to me….  he said that it was difficult to tell the different emotions in the photos because you had to just go on body language alone and there was no facial expression to rely on.  I found that very interesting, because in every shot I took here, I felt sad, alone and suppressed.

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Almost every photo I post online I get at least one or more of these unwanted remarks.  A simple landscape or a flower will get them.  A cell phone selfy with my face will get them.  Even posts without any photos at all will get them. I fully expected and prepared to get more than usual on this shot I posted, because of the amount of skin showing… but ironically….  I did not get even one crude comment from a stranger….

Coincidence or something else?

You tell me….

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8 thoughts on “A Name Without A Face

  1. Good article, good for you for speaking out. For me I’m honored to be in your photography circle on Google+ I really like your work. I’m a guy and I know a lot of this goes on, just keep blocking and reporting. I know when I was younger my sister was a model, I willingly gave a few guys an education on how not to speak to my sister and how not to to speak to me about my sister,, Rambo!,, haha. For me I believe we should all treat others with respect no matter what race gender, ect ect.

    1. Thank you, Erwin! I think it’s great that you stood up for your sister like that. hopefully you made at least one of those people realize what they were doing was wrong.

  2. I love these shots and not just because they are beautifully shot and processed. The statement they make is very strong. Women in popular culture have become faceless and interchangeable. Airbrushed to the point of almost losing their pores let alone their personalities and humanity.

  3. I know sexual harassment is real because I thought four guys were leering at me (and I’m an old man)! I was at the bus stop alone (or so I thought). A young woman was there and she was the object of the attention. After getting over her disbelief that I thought the men were leering at me,she said it happened all the time. For the short time that it was “me” I felt dirty and scared. I am also amazed that women endure this in stride. With experience came empathy. Thanks for the platform!

    1. it’s a scary world, sometimes, William – for all of us. But there are times when I walk alone, etc that I do find myself looking over my shoulder more than I should have to.. and that is definitely not a good feeling. I think that if more men could feel what you felt, this world would be a better place 😉

  4. Good points made! Ties into the whole “if she wears that, she’s just asking to be raped” thing. BS! If you got it, you should be able to “flaunt” it (within reason) without having to worry about those that can’t control themselves. Sad issue of society.

    Beautifully done, my gorgeous friend! Even with no facial expressions to be read, I could still sense the mood of sadness and frustration.

    1. Thank you LeAnne! I know that people might be looking at these and thinking “well, you don’t have a lot of clothes on” but in reality, I really am covered quite well, and the fact that I even have to think about that, is a problem. We women (most of us) have been well trained to cover up in so many ways to protect ourselves..

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