Performance Art > Chains: Who Gives This Woman? (2011)

Chains (2011) served as the foundation for my later thesis work. In the work I confront the pressures I felt to become the perfect wife and mother. Many women today feel pressured to fill the expected roles of society, to get married and have children. Though I am not against those roles, I feel that many women and girls rush into marriage or motherhood because of this pressure. It is as if the worth of the woman is based on how many roles she can fulfill.

To visually create the feeling of pressure, I fabricated a bridal outfit. Though the outfit had the traditional lace and flowers of western bridal couture, it also had the weight of steel chains, stones, baby objects, and tin cans (traditionally tied to the bumper of newlyweds’ cars). The chains restricted my movement through their tightness and their weight. They dragged behind me like a veil of impediment, keeping me from reaching my goals.

In the video I wear this cumbersome outfit whilst walking down a caged and narrow “aisle”. The walk is grueling and heavily hindered by my outfit. The video documents the damage to the outfit, as well as my exhaustion. The obvious toll the walk takes on my body, and on my bridal ensemble, conveys the toll that the pressure to become the ideal woman and fulfill those expectations takes on a young woman, even when she is not ready to take on those roles.