Judy Byron

Perfect Girls


Many years have passed since the emergence of the Feminist Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, the passage of Title IX and activism surrounding sexual identity and gender equality. Yet, I believe the concept of a perfect girl still resonates within American culture.

The installation, Perfect Girls contrasts my own coming of age in the 1950s -- a girl raised to clean house, graduate from high school, get a secretarial job and marry her boss, with that of Naomi a 16 year old girl in 2011 and who I have documented in drawings at ages 5, 8, 13 and now 16. These drawings of Naomi are being presented with excerpts from an audio journal she kept over the last year and combined with selections from the recorded conversations of men, women and other teens with the intention of creating a context for considering, claiming, and transforming the phrase "Perfect Girls" as a vehicle for individual and community engagement.

Funding support for Perfect Girls was provided by Busboys and Poets, The Wessel Foundation and Provisions Library.