Phallic Weapons

This body of work made in response to the sexual astute and abuse of female patients incarcerated in mental health asylums during 1800 and the invention and evolution of the vibrator

 

 Phallic Weapons

This body of work highlights the horrific historical sexual abuse of women and the development of the vibrator. Women who were incarcerated in asylums with a mental health condition called “hysteria” or “wondering womb” would be manually stimulated to the point of forced of orgasm by male doctors.  This procedure was known as a Pelvic massage, it was thought the procedure would cure the women of their insanity.  In the 1800s Dr. George Taylor invented the first vibrator, he did so to alleviate the hand of doctors.

 

The first set of weaponized phallic represents the forced procedure (Pelvic Massage) inflicted on women, in the belief that it would cure them. They depict historical images adding to the narrative of the piece. They are oversized and brutal in appearance. The gun represent the man and  is symbolic of the utter trauma and futility of this procedure.

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The second set of weaponized phallic tells of a time when the Pelvic Massage became popular and consensual procedure among the upper and middle classes of Victorian women performed by doctors in private clinics. The phallic depicts imagery of soft florals and birds bringing a touch of gentle femininity. They are reduced in size, but still the emphasis of the gun / man is still present.

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The third and final set depicts the progression of mental health treatment, women's independence and control, and the progression of the vibrator. In this set, the phallic are much smaller, ornate and feminine. There are touches of domesticity throughout the making process such as the wooden rolling pin handle. The gun is gone, eliminating the hand of the man.

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