"If You Ever Get That Fat, I'll Leave You": Real Women Share Their Experiences With Harassment on the "Wall of Shamed"
The art installation reveals the deep emotional scars that body shaming and sexual harassment can leave on women.
It's no secret that most women experience some form of sexism, verbal abuse, or harassment starting at a young age—and while more and more women are finding the courage to speak out, many others don't have a safe space to tell their stories. Suzie Blake, a 37-year-old artist from Melbourne, Australia, is hoping to change that. With her latest installment, called "The Wall of Shamed," the artist is creating a powerful platform for women to anonymously open up about their experiences.
Located at the Victorian College of the Arts Masters Graduate Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, Blake's installment is filled with derogatory comments made to women by their peers, boyfriends, husbands, and strangers. As a result, "The Wall of Shamed" reveals the deep emotional scars that body shaming and sexual harassment can leave on women. Some of the comments were directed at girls as young as seven.
"The man who raped me when I was fourteen told me I had 'charging rhinoceros thighs'," recalls one victim; another writes that after shaving her hair, "I was told boys would like me better with long hair."
"Women and girls are shamed throughout their lives for not living up to patriarchally prescribed ideals of 'womanliness'," Blake writes on her website. "Body shaming. Fat shaming. Slut shaming. Period shaming. Mother shaming. Food shaming. Gender shaming. Victim shaming. The list goes on."
The artist encourages women to share their experiences physically on the wall using marker pens, anonymously by submitting quotes through her website, or on social media with the hashtag #wallofshamed.
Although the comments are heartbreaking to read, Blake hopes the wall can help provide healing and closure to women who have gone through similar situations. "The stories are so sad, but seeing that there are so many of them and they are often so similar gives each woman a sense of mutual understanding—a sense of solidarity," Blake tells Huffington Post UK. "As individuals we are static, but as a group we can move mountains."
By encouraging women to come together, Blake hopes she can help put an end to society's misogynistic shaming of women. "Let’s talk about shame. And, more importantly, let’s put a stop to it."