In recent weeks as the #metoo campaign has finally hit the music industry, the conversation surrounding sexual harassment has taken on various layers.
Some layers have been incredibly constructive - like bringing to light dark truths that were openly overlooked for years, like giving a voice to women who previously felt stifled in their ability to tell her story, and like legal and governmental actions being mobilized to protect women in the future.
Other parts of the conversation feel less explored. One in particular is an attitude of passivity from some men who won't admit that that there is a culture of miss-steps and permissiveness. Men who avoid the conversation claiming fear of being falsely accused due to the "hyper-sensitivity" of our current social environment.
Beyond the workplace - usually undefined in creative fields to begin with - there are endless societal situations we overlook due to cultural 'norms.' Things like catcalls, 'locker-room talk' and inappropriate physical interactions that undermine women without being defined as harassment. It's a complex problem, one that needs to be dissected in order to correct these missteps so that we can teach the next generation what it really means to be respectful of women.
Photographer Mekea Larson set out to explore the general topic visually in an effort to illustrate the two key elements of this layer of the conversation: women who are fed up and ready for a cultural overhaul, and these men who are "afraid" because they don't know how to behave.
"Women who have been called 'sweetheart' in passing or 'bitch' upon rejecting an advance do not have any one person to point to," says Larson. "Women feel our only option is to put up our middle finger in rage against such previously accepted behavior."
In this abrupt, and starkly powerful narrative, Larson offers a blunt roadmap for where that conversation can start.
*** included in this project are women from India, South America, and across the US. But that is only a small slice of everyone who has experienced this. We want all women represented, so if you have your own word & would like to share, please submit your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post submissions in a few weeks to show the broad range of women who are fed up and ready for change ***