Our media bombards us with two polarized representations of acceptable and desirable female sexuality: the madonna and the whore. In his series DIRTYLAND, the artist Dillon Boy complicates these constructs, positioning what he calls “the pure, untainted characters of Walt Disney” within aesthetics associated with the contemporary objectification and hyper-sexualization of women on “billboards […] and ad[s] in […] publication[s].” Although the work inspires important discussions on the ways in which women are hyper-sexualized, it remains to be seen whether this kind of work is progressive or downright degrading.
In the work, Disney Princesses emerge from their idyllic screens and into Dillon Boy’s edgy and raw street art-inspired universe. Like modern pin-up girls, they navigate the spaces between sexual agency and objectification, between naive eyeballs and hardened nipples. They alternately merge with the ad images behind them and step forward, colored in tonal opposition to their surroundings. No longer virginal and not yet sexually freed from their animated confines, each princess inspires viewers to rethink the way we understand representations of femininity.
The images, without the artist's explanation, read to me personally as another forum for unnecessary objectification. The characters lose aspects of their personalities in the process of their transformations, appearing like somewhat pornographic images. Ultimately, they're naked, fetishized Disney Princesses, and the images lack a strong critical current that might bring a progressive intent to light. What do you think? Does DIRTYLAND combat sexist thoughts on women, or does it just perpetuate the objectification of women? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks to Beautiful/Decay
Images via Beautiful/Decay
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