"Compra buen género" is a project intended to explore the quotidiane construction of feminity and how the shopping habit transforms and makes easier that construction. It's been inspired by queer theory and feminism, as both are big themes in my life and my art.
Nowadays, advertisements and windows' shops become an expression of the characters or archetypes that a woman is expected to perform in her life. There we can see "the mother", "the prostitute", "the easy girl", "the frivole", "the good wife", "the decent", and any existing way of being feminine. You buy it, you are it.
This happens because capitalism is as a chamaleon that adopts blindly any vision of the world in order to sell it, and sexism can't be an exception, even more when chauvinism and gender binarism are part of its bases. Women's unpaid home job is basic for the male oriented economic system, and "feminity" has made possible a whole market oriented towards clothing and beauty.
Of course this doesn't mean that the shop owner or the window dresser compose this characters on purpose, but the fact that this is done is a perfect example of how gender roles are deeply internalized in our minds as mental structures that show in every little detail of our lives.
The project's title, "Compra buen género" (buy good gender) is a spanish wordplay without english translation, as the word gender (género) can mean both gender role and "stuff, goods that are available at the shop". The last meaning is a bit old-fashioned nowadays.
I started to take this pictures as part of a series about feminity that I'm working in, but then I went fascinated about how the windows' shops arrangements play scenes that feature every role that a woman can play inside the whole concept of being feminine and fashionable, and how I could find it all everywhere I went. Then, what started as one or two pictures for the series, gave birth to a whole project in its own.
Pictures on this series are shot as found in every city, from Barcelona to Sitges, Bilbao...
It's precisely because of that serendipity that analog and digital pictures are mixed in the whole series, just depending on the moment. If I found a window with a great character, I wasn't going to loss it just because I had run out of both film and time during my travel to return to that place, or because there wasn't enough light to shoot analog with current ISO, or whatever.
I decided to work on this project as it came, an alive, evolving story, and turned the differences into a chance to work in every individual character and use the technical aspects as a mean to give them a graphic atmosphere and context.
Data for this picture:
"Target" is the word used in marketing to speak about a group of population that shares some features, fact that makes them interesting to sell a given product. For instance, a target could be "urban women of middle class between 45-65 years old".
This is one of the unknown women that become "target" in the act of looking shop's windows looking for suitable clothes.
Taken from the inside of a lady's clothing shop at Tolosa (Basque Country). March '10.
Digital B/W. Developed and cropped in Lightroom, curves adjusted in PS4.