Student exhibit addresses pornography, advertising
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It started with a copy of Maxim, says arts major Olivia Jane Huffman, where an article on shaving spawned a series of questions about gender and sexuality.

Soon after, the painting and drawing student began turning her questions into art.

“It was a woman … describing how she shaves and how she loves a bare vagina, in so many words. And it really hit me, like, ‘What the fuck? Why do we have to all shave?’” Huffman said. “We’ve all had this upbringing of ‘We need to be beautiful, we need to have makeup, we need to always have a nice figure, we need to be lady-like.’ That’s how a woman is supposed to be in society. And that’s wrong.”

Evolving out of a project she did last year is Huffman’s solo exhibition: Now You Are The Advertisement, Adorn Yourself.

Opening inside Gamma Gamma gallery at Emergency Arts on Friday, Adorn Yourself “is meant to taunt the thinning line between pornography and female specific advertising.”

Huffman works with high-fashion advertisements, pornographic images and her own black and white photography, providing commentary about society’s expectations of perfection and female sexuality.

“There’s lots of [people] that go through there and I want them to see a different side of women,” she said, “and maybe inspire a young girl to be like, ‘Wow, I can be any[thing].’”

Huffman plays with strong images in her photography, like stereotypes of lesbians and leather daddys and incorporates a sense of ease and power. Huffman says showing images of marginalized groups in a different light conveys a message that not all women have to fit into a specific mold.

“How come I can’t be naturally beautiful? Why do I have to wear your makeup and behave this way and use fashion the way you do?” Huffman asked. “I’m just kind of rebelling against that.”