Photographer Allaire Bartel shares her project that explores the lack of boundaries women face in their everyday life, especially the work place. The photos show what it feels like for the average young female professional engaging in daily activities.
The Pittsburgh-based photographer was inspired to create a photo series on “boundaries” for the 2014 Young Photographers Alliance Mentoring Program. Bartel’s project is designed to capture the oppressiveness of male entitlement that women feel on a daily basis in everyday life.
She explains on her website: “I knew that my photo essay would interpret this as social boundaries faced by women, with the more specific goal of depicting rape culture and everyday sexism.”
Bartel’s formula for the series follows one woman, an average young professional, engaging in daily routines. Each of the settings were chosen from her personal experiences or those of women close to her.
“The concept of male entitlement is represented by male arms and hands performing a variety of actions that are overwhelming intrusive on her body and her life,” Bartel wrote. “In each situation she maintains a blank expression, a visual choice that demonstrates how conditioned we as women have become to accept this atmosphere as excusable and even normal.”
The resulting images from Bartel’s project are as bold as they are uncomfortable. They illustrate the experiences women face when being propositioned in a professional setting, cat-called on the street, or unable to escape a controlling relationship.
“They represent the experiences of women everywhere.” Bartel concludes.
And she’s not wrong. The majority of sexual harassment victims are women (81% to be exact). The sexual harassment in the workplace statistics note that 28% of victims don’t report the harassment to human resources or management usually out of fear that nothing will be done. While that is taking place in respective work environments, 68% of women experience harassment in public spaces, including streets and parks.
Breaking it down further, one in three women have been sexually harassed at work.
Even though most companies have some sort of policy in place, sexual harassment continues to rear its ugly head in today’s workplace. A 2015 study by Cosmopolitan revealed that one in three women, aged 18 to 34, have been sexually harassed at work.
What is even more shocking is the fact that some women do not even realize the way they’re being treated constitutes sexual harassment. The same study found that, while 16% of women surveyed said “no” when asked if they had been sexually harassed at work, those same women said “yes” to experiencing sexually explicit or sexist remarks.
It’s time to do better, to be better.