Innocent and Guilty: A cultural reflection on living within the archetypes of the Virgin and the Whore

Weis, Caroline, Media, Culture, and Technology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Ellcessor, Elizabeth, AS-Media Studies (MDST), University of Virginia

What is it like to live within the Freudian archetypes of womanhood in a modern, western context? What power do these archetypes have over women’s views of self and others? Ideological control in the lives of women is something of a liminal space, with clear political and social ramifications, but muddy causes. This project aims to create sculptural examples of the archetypes of the virgin and the whore, as they have exerted power in my life. This work provides an opportunity to display some of the nuanced ways ideological control plays into daily, individual life. In this artist statement, a mixed autoethnographic and cultural studies methodology are applied to provide theoretical background to the sculptures. Theories of gender, such as the controlling images of Patricia Hill Collins, and the melding of cyborg identity by Donna J. Haraway, are employed to inform this project. The results are a pair of sculptures representing some of my own sexualized and gendered experiences. This work aims to implicate early socialization and mediated life in creating some of the painful, joyful, and strange effects of growing up within a harshly gendered society.

MA (Master of Arts)
archetype, virgin, whore, controlling image, sculpture, creative
Sponsoring Agency:
University of Virginia
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: