Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Married with...mannequins!

Why is this woman not ridiculously famous!? Artist Suzanne Heintz spent 14 years on this project, traveled 10,000 miles…mostly to prove a point that women don’t need to fill a stereotype in this day and age. Heintz is single and her family is always pestering her…when are you going to get married? Why aren’t you married? Well…who says that a women needs to be married? That was her point in this very long art project…she created her own family, including a husband and a child. And by created…she made a mannequin family! She traveled the world, posing in a bunch of different destinations to fill a stereotype. Not only did she pose for the woman married with an attractive family stereotype…she took the photos time locked when that stereotype actually mattered…the 70’s. She doesn’t feel that she needs to be married to be
successful but this is just such a cool way for her to present the idea that women don’t need to fit into the blah blah married housewife stereotype! This is such a clever depiction of what some of society think women’s reality should be. A trophy. A mother cooking. Bonding in pretty places. The trailer for her photos is hilarious and she’s passionate about what she’s done with these mannequins. She’s a “grown woman playing house” and that to me is just so cool! Is this weird? Simply creative? Absurd? Not accurate? Accurate? I wish I had heard about this woman before because not only is she standing up for the fact that women can create their own world and don’t need to married to be happy and have fun, she is just simply fun and amazing!

Short Article and More Photos Here!


  1. Love the title of the project: "Life Once Removed."

  2. I noticed that Girl Boy Girl uses the same phrase as Heinz's title, referring to herself as, “once removed…fake” (23). The use of the phrase is intriguing, seemingly suggesting several things at once-

    1) "fake" implies personal failure to achieve authenticity, or the REAL

    2) The idea that one can be once removed from oneself relates identity/self to the institution of marriage, and then says the marriage is failed. This invokes interpersonal failure to maintain societal position and yet remains intrapersonal. The user of the phrase suggests that they have failed themselves.

    3) "once removed" suggests a degree of separation.

    Separation from what though? Self and society? "Real" and the Real- signifiers versus signifieds?

    Combining these three observations, it seems that (failure to be REAL + failure at convention+ separation) would put the speaker in the realm of insanity. The ending of Chopin's The Awakening comes to mind. I've been reworking that weird thesis equation for ages- not sure if it expresses what I'm thinking.

    In any case, author Savannah Knoop and Heinz However both invoke the same kind of all encompassing failure and a certain kind of shame.

    It might be safe to state that the separation indicates distance between the agreed upon real/good from the state of the individual, making them seem crazy/bad/fake.

  3. I love that you recognize that kind of "shame," Edith. When I was working on my dissertation and talking about tourists in Salem, Massachusetts, one reader suggested that I should always place the word "damn" in front of "tourist," as if to imply that all tourists were in some way sort of annoying. We are familiar with that kind of attitude towards tourists here in scenic NH, where we get frustrated when our small towns are overrun by Massholes. But on the other hand, I think there is something about our disgust for tourists that relates to this shame you are outlining here. Tourist traps, souvenirs, tourist sites, and tourists themselves all add a layer of inauthenticity (if that is a thing) to our understanding of "the real." Disney is of course the most obvious example, but that effect is evident even in sites such as The Old Man of the Mountain, as I discussed in that short essay that we read. Failure and shame do indeed imply that there is a "realer" world out there, but that it's been contaminated by the fraud somehow. I always wonder if the failure/shame instead frighten us because it makes us instead question the value-- the realness-- of our so-called real lives. Love these ideas!


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