Swipe Left



Read My Lips. This piece reflects fear of commitment: the hesitation to label our relationships in a society that encourages us to compete to seem the least invested. It emphasizes the way we hide behind screens, while highlighting the confusion and misinterpretation that comes along with digital communication. Confessions of love are never made aloud. We have forgotten how to communicate face to face.
 
Unsolicited Hot Dog. This collage explores the concept of consent in a digital world. It most explicitly portrays the unsolicited and unwanted revealing of oneself over text. It also highlights a power dynamic in which pressure is put on an individual to reciprocate uninvited behavior, whether by sexting or sending similar, revealing photographs.
Too Easy. This image demonstrates the everyday acceptance of slut-shaming and victim-blaming. As women, we are encouraged to show skin but scolded when we do. We are “easy” if we want sex and a “tease” if we don’t. We are governed by dress codes. We are taught to be polite and complacent. We are looked at, we are spoken about, but we have voices too.
Hot Sauce. This individual work serves a double purpose. Firstly, it functions as a self-reflection in which I tell myself that nobody will think I am enough unless I agree to be physically intimate with them, and in which I ration that my personality holds less weight to men than both my physical appearance and the capabilities of my body. The piece can also be interpreted as mirroring the media’s notion that a woman is not enough unless she is objectively beautiful and referred to as such by those around her.

Bad Mouth. This piece reveals society’s role in romanticizing abusive relationships. It underscores the prioritization of attraction over personal safety and the ongoing promotion and selling of narratives in which women find fulfillment in “fixing” men. Feelings of fear become confused with feelings of attraction, and excuses are made that fuel a culture in which men continue to be seen as dominant.
 
Grease Up. This collage extends the “bad boy” narrative and symbolizes the media’s impact on not only what we come to expect, but what we begin to see as reality. The expectation that all people have good intentions fuels excuses for the ways we are used. The handwritten love letter has been replaced by the “You up?” text. First dates have gone from movie-and-dinner to Netflix-and-chill. There is no longer a process of “wooing” or “being wooed,” and we no longer expect there to be. Yet we silently hope our lives will turn out like the movies.

Time to Break. This piece exhibits a pattern in which I seek out romantic partners and the “happily ever after” that movies promise but then quickly push people away before they expect me to be intimate with them. Having such strong feelings for people yet not being able to feel sexual desire towards them often leaves me feeling broken. And along the way, hearts are broken on both sides.

Swipe Left is a collage series that illustrates modern-day hook-up culture while shedding light on issues of objectification and consent. The works are also a reflection of my own personal feelings towards intimacy and relationships as an asexual heteromantic female living in a society that judges women both for having sex and for not having sex.


By Rebecca McLaren

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