Gillian Share-Raab: Defying Stereotypes Through Art


Paintings by Gillian Share-Raab 

painted for her high school art class (at Council Rock North)

redefy is sharing her brilliant work in order to project the powerful message potrayed by her art 

Artist Statement: 

My concentration explores the subjects of gender identity, gender roles, and sexuality by use of portraying Barbie dolls dressed as the opposite of their assigned genders. Gender is often misinterpreted as a black and white concept, when in reality people sometimes feel more comfortable in their own skin by pushing the boundaries of gendered fashion stereotypes beyond their biological assignments. I displayed concept by cross-dressing Barbie dolls to explore the topics of gender roles, gender identity, and sexuality. I utilized Barbie dolls because they are not only nostalgic, but also a representation of a perfect body and lifestyle. By portraying the most beautiful and glamorous dolls as gender queer, I’m trying to show that anyone can be happy in their own skin. I want to display that there is something beautiful in self-expression, and that being different is not bad or odd at all. It’s all fluid, man.

In my first piece, I depicted two female Barbies in menswear being served by a male Ken in a dress. I used an oval shaped frame because I wanted to replicate the nostalgia of the Barbie theme with a more vintage feeling. My second piece shows two male Ken dolls going to prom, one dressed as a man, and the other as a woman. The point I am trying to express is that happiness can be achieved no matter how people choose to express themselves. I only included their lower faces, honing in on their smiles. The oval frame is again utilized to mimic a family photo on a fireplace that serves to bring back positive memories. My third piece displays a whimsical fairytale scene of two Barbies dressed as the opposite of their assigned genders. Again, the main theme is that a happy ending is achievable with any lifestyle. In the end, I hope the viewer takes away a sense of acceptance and nostalgia from my pieces.

– Written by Gillian Share-Raab (redefy contributor)