The Struggle of Standards

The Struggle
The Struggle

Kamilah Hudson

Sex and Society

B - Band

When I first started off this project I had a lot of ideas rushing through my mind. It took a long while to sort through them all. There were so many themes within Juno and the scarlet letter that I could have made something off but I wanted to make sure I picked something that could be original and meaningful. When it came down to it, I was stuck between two deas. The first idea was that I would do an artistic piece on the perception of evil and how people didn’t always see the same things as good or bad. I think that I could take that a lot of places but when I started trying to get creative with the idea, my brain when dryer than a desert.

Once I realized that the idea was dead, I settled on the other which was based around acceptance and struggle. To me, acceptance and the benefits of learning to accept being an outcast, were very prevalent in both booth context. To me, Juno and the Scarlet Letter are two context about being beacon’s in a dark and conformed world. They say to us “Don’t stop shining no matter how hard anyone tried to make you”. They both teach the idea of accepting difference and set the example for everyone watching that no matter what people may tell you, there’s nothing wrong with being with yourself.

I thought hard about all the things people like to try to conform and fit into. I thought how must strain and stress we put ourselves through just to get a chance to be just like the “everyone else”. Then it reminded me of a common problem that a lot people can relate to; I thought about how often time’s we try to squeeze into clothes that just aren’t made in to fit us. That was it. It clicked in my head. Often times, we try to squeeze into clothes that just aren’t made to fit is; often times we try to force are self’s to fit other people’s standards when in reality, not every can. Never everything is made for everyone.

After I realized this i knew exactly what I wanted to do. I took the giant canvas I had been saving for a good project and went to work. The first thing I did was draw a woman struggling to get into a shirt. I think the reason that appealed to me so much was because I had done it before. I’ve always looked up to my older sister because of her personality and they way she looked. She gives me clothes occasionally because when I was little I’d like to get into and wear her things. She’s a lot smaller than I am but for a long time she was what I considered to be the “perfect size” so I would squeeze into her things. It was frustrating because they would always be too small and uncomfortable but I kept telling myself, “this is the standard.” Unlike Juno and Hester, I didn’t attempt to set my own standards but fill the ones of others.

I didn’t think of it til afterwards but I think it would have been better if I had drawn a woman trying to squeeze into jeans that are too small. It would have been much easier to understand for people who are just looking at the creative piece by itself.

After I drew the woman, I tried to think of an original quote to fit the theme of acceptance and knowing that we have to meet our own standards. The quote i finally ended up making was “We struggle for acceptance but in return we get frustration and pain until we reach the realization that.... we all can’t be the same.” I used 7 different fonts to write this out and put emphasis on the words struggle, acceptance, frustration, pain, realization, and same. Those six words summarize, in my opinion the process of acceptance and the process of Juno and the Scarlet Letter.

In both the Scarlet Letter and Juno, things starts off with a struggle. Hester struggles with coping with the A and at first hates it and herself because of all the indifference that they cause between her and the town. She hated the situation she had put herself in and felt guilty about being who she was because the town made her feel guilty about it. Eventually the struggle broke her and she wanted to be just like everyone else, not having be put on display for not being “typical”. She tried to act and look more like the people of the town. She was a bright passionate flame dulled and oppressed by bitter, cold, and old hearts. She was suffocating herself trying to “squeeze into their shirt size” because no matter how she tried, it just wasn’t able to cover her properly. Eventually she got tired of the frustration and pain the comes along with trying to force things to work. At that moment she had the realization that, she didn’t have to meet anyone’s standards but her own. She came to the realization that she could “wear her shirt in a larger size” because the shirt society tried to cover her in just couldn’t fit.

Juno was very similar to this and yet very different. Juno started out in the movie “wearing the right size shirt”. She understood herself  enough to know she didn’t and couldn’t conform to standard. Because of that she ended up helping someone else realize that, Mark. Mark conformed. At one point he wore the size. He knew what fit comfortably on him. Over time though people gave him shirts that weren’t his size and he made himself squeeze into them until they shirt got too small and ripped. Only until after the shirt ripped did he realize/accept that they just we’re made to fit him. They weren’t his size.

Along with the picture of the woman squeezing into the shirt, I played around with different art tools on the canvas to see which one’s worked. Not all art utensils are made to work on every kind of paper. I used crayons, markers, pencil, pen, chalk, and paint to make this art piece. Each one held differently to the canvas. The crayon held fine on the canvas but it couldn’t lay smooth across it. The marker wouldn’t take because the canvas wasn’t absorbent enough to hold it down. The Pen wasn’t strong enough to leave a thick enough line. The pencil was the same. The chalk would not take at all. Like the marker, it was having trouble sticking because the contradiction of materials. I ended up having to use hair spray to hold it down and keep it from blowing and smeering off. The paint was the only thing that took well to the canvas. It was strong enough to stand on it’s on against it and yet still blend to it.

I think the thing I’m most proud of for this project is the woman I drew. I’m not used to drawing people in such an uncomfortable position or on such a large scale so it was awkward but fun to do. I also like the fact that I used more than pencil to get this done. I’ve never really enjoyed painting because the few times I’ve tried, it didn’t go the way I wanted. I think i should have done the writing of the quote  a little more neater. If I were to do this project again, I think I would come up with a better quote. I think I could have done a better job of doing it. I also think I should have been a little less indecisive about my choice on a theme and medium.