Throw like a girl: the tomboy project

Turnbull, L 2013, Throw like a girl: the tomboy project, Masters by Research, Art, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Throw like a girl: the tomboy project
Author(s) Turnbull, L
Year 2013
Abstract Throw Like A Girl: The Tomboy Project is the result of a practice led research project 2011-2013, investigating the concept of ‘the tomboy’ beyond the childhood stage, with the object of increasing visibility of the post- childhood tomboy in contemporary art photography. This body of work –eleven large-scale photographs and text-based works – responds to both the actual experience of the tomboy during adolescence and through differing stages of adulthood, whilst mapping the landscape of the metaphorical and poetic associations of this aspect of the female experience. My research into historical and contemporary delineations of the tomboy through the filter of western literature, popular culture and photography, seeks to contribute toward the reconfiguration of cultural conceptions of the archetypal tomboy; idealised during childhood, marginalised during adolescence, and disappearing in adulthood. In redressing the low visibility of the tomboy beyond childhood I am drawing on a rich and largely ignored history that seeks representation.

To make the work I enlisted willing participants who identified themselves as tomboys, either currently or in the past.. It was paramount to my project that all participants self-identify. The project includes audio tape recordings with those who proffered stories about themselves in relation to their ‘tomboynesss’. Photographic parameters I set myself where placed to avoid the possibility of stereotyping. Drawing on photographic works of Roni Horn and Bernd and Hilla Becher, among others, I employed repetition in style, light, and composition. The minimal parameters of sameness paradoxically allow for difference.

A tomboy fits both a mood and type that looks more at gender than sexuality, as opposed to images of androgyny (e.g. Marlene Dietrich, David Bowie, Grace Jones) that convey sexualised interpretations of gender. Both androgyny and the tomboy are open to exploitation via fashion (because fashion constructs and exploits an image); my project, however, comes from a fine art perspective that seeks to avoid exploitation in favour of exploring new possibilities for representation.

Lesley Turnbull 2013.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Keyword(s) Tomboys
Fine Art Photography
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Created: Fri, 23 Aug 2013, 11:42:06 EST by Brett Fenton
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