Even though the United States is an individualistic society, people are often judged and ostracized for being different. People who do not fit into the definition of normalcy are often seen as odd and deviant, only reinforcing the norms that penalize individuality. While this kind of cyclical behavior may seem extremely ironic, it’s not uncommon. The pressures to fit in are strong, but when these norms are challenged, we can start to see things in a new light and have the potential to shift and eliminate these norms.
The art of Carol Rossetti, a graphic designer and avid feminist, does exactly that. By pushing boundaries and challenging the expectations society has set for women, Rossetti’s art reminds women that they don’t have to abide by society’s rules. The only people they have to answer to are themselves.
Rossetti’s series of art, recently translated to English, consists of sixty-two powerful images that introduce a character and a quality about her, followed by an affirmation that this action does not define her as a woman. One of the most powerful texts from Rossetti’s work, Jessica’s story, reads “Jessica has always been skinny and used to get upset when she heard people saying that real men love curves. Jessica, your boy is not there for real men to love. You don’t have to do anything to please anyone but yourself”. Body anxiety is just one of the many topics Rossetti tackles in her art. With issues ranging from sexuality to abortion to disability, Rossetti takes on issues not normally talked about and tells women that, no matter their lifestyle, the only thing that matters is how they see themselves. The art reminds women that, just because society has created expectations and norms for women, it does not mean that women must conform to these standards.
To see examples of Carol Rossetti’s art, visit: carolrossettidesign.tumblr.com
Women can make their own choices and should not be defined by what society deems as deviance. If a woman doesn’t want to wear makeup, fine. If she doesn’t want to have children, fine. If she doesn’t want to wear women’s clothing, fine. Even though it is easy for society to pressure women into succumbing to the norms or expectations, it is important to remember that happiness should come first. Society has created the ideal woman and, while that woman might be the perfect woman, she can never be a real woman. No woman can ever fit the mold of the perfect woman, but just because we can’t be perfect, it does not mean that we are unworthy.
Maddie Gallegos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.