Jennifer Gonzalez, Laitla Sims, and Andrea Palacios

College mentors: Taylor Gallihue and Jeevita Tharmarajah

The video essay and artwork serve to bring awareness about the harmfulness of labelling and gendered social constructs in society, and its negative effects on identity acquisition and expression.

Watch Laitla’s video essay here:

Artwork by Jennifer Gonzalez:

“For this project, I created an art piece representing someone not knowing who their true identity is due to always being perceived by other people. I created this piece because I felt like it was a common issue that many young women face, due to the surmounting pressuring eyes of society. Women are expected to be nothing less than perfect and fit the standard of what a “traditional woman” looks like. When constantly scrutinized, women end up sacrificing themselves just to be accepted and treated better. Oftentimes, women are fetishized simply to entertain the world, at a huge expense to LGBTQ women. With this in mind, I wanted to create a visual artwork that could reflect this thinking, and emphasize a sentiment that too many young women feel today including myself. I’m glad I got to collaborate with many women who shared the same ideas as me. I got to learn even more about women’s rights during the process. I collaborated with ideas and thoughts that help develop the project as a whole. I couldn’t have done this without the college buddies and Laitla”

– Jennifer Gonzalez

Artwork by Andrea Palacios:

My piece is about struggles that women and non binary people may face. LGBTQ women have been portrayed to please men, the show One Day At A Time does a great job at showing this when the main character, Elena was walking down the street with her partner and they were harassed by men who wanted to see them kiss. American media and society as a whole have sexualized LGBTQ women (as shown in shows and movies etc.) Things like this and worse happen all the time and it’s normalized, people find it entertaining and see it as something funny or for their entertainment. LGBTQ women are usually made to fit a standard and if they don’t they’re “not really lesbian” or “not really bi” etc. Too feminine? Too masculine? In between? Never dated a women before how do you know youre gay? People are so obsessed with trying to stick labels and tell you that you’re not something or “you don’t look like it” as if we’re supposed to look a certain way just because of our sexual orientation? Heteronormative standards have been pushed onto us since we are very young, this is a real thing some lesbian women experience which is called comphet. “Comphet is short for compulsory heterosexuality, it is the idea that heterosexuality is forced upon us by our culture. Comphet is studied in lesbians because of the misogyny and the patriarchy that causes the sexualities and identities of lesbians to be defined by their relationships with men.”  –

-Andrea Palacios

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