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The Paper Doll Project


Me, about 10 minutes  ago

My hair has been short for about a year and a half now. I had it shaved for an art performance in which I was challenging media’s distortion of beauty as well as society’s perception of gender and stereotypes.

I am a woman. I am a heterosexual woman who likes men. Why should I have long hair, wear stilettos, short skirts and wear caked on make-up to attract a man? I just don’t get it. Or, actually, I do get it, It just makes me sad, so I try to ignore it. I would love to think that guys would be falling at my feet because of my beautiful… personality, my lovely… sense of humor or my big…….  smile. To be honest, this isn’t the case. I shouldn’t have to wear a low cut blouse so men look at my breasts rather than my eyes to understand who I am as a person.

I was recently on 5 different dating sites: Plenty of fish, OK Cupid, Match.com, Geek2Geek and Soul geek. Yea, I know, cute, huh??? Hey, for a gal who loves Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who, I thought these geeky sites would be perfect.

I can’t really write this  blog post and say I didn’t get any hits. I did get a few messages. ALL of them were about sex. ALL of them. What’s up with that?? The only guys who contacted me, wanted only sex.

I feel like this is a jab to the age old conversation of women being seen as objects, play toys for men. That is what I felt like anyway, getting these messages. Now, I understand, some of them were probably spam or bots. But, still.

Sometimes I wonder if guys aren’t falling at my feet because… (not that I would want a guy to actually fall at my feet) of this very feminist subject that I am challenging. Are they threatened by my work? Maybe my career as an artist or even my independence? Or, is it really because I am overweight with short hair and because of that pervasive stereotype that I am possibly a lesbian? I guess that would turn most guys off. Btw, I have been teased lately about being a lesbian (by a guy). Trust me, some of my closest friends are lesbians and I love them to death. The only issue I have with the  label, is that it is just that, a label. It doesn’t show beautiful character or amazing personalities. It pervades long held stereotypes.

I am thinking about growing my hair long. I mean, really long and I am going to lose weight and get fit. There is a climbing gym with fitness equipment and yoga opening where I live. This would be a new performance. How will I be treated differently? What will it prove? We will see.

Here are some photos of me with ‘longer hair,’ younger and  thinner.

My work using Second Life as a vehicle to talk about identity and ideas of beauty, has really made me consider how the media controls our perception of ourselves. As a tall, thin, blond in Second Life, I felt more powerful. I felt more  beautiful. I DID have guys falling at my feet.

I am currently working on a project called “Paper dolls.” It is work that will use projection, performance, photography and  video to talk  about the ideal and the real, the physical and the virtual, power and beauty.

I would love your thoughts.

This is Gracie Kendal today:

And this is both of us…


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