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“What Were You Wearing?” exhibit redone

Communications 436 class recreates art exhibit about sexual assault

Chrys Weedon | Entertainment Editor

Communications 436, a class titled Gender Power and Cultural Production, is described in the course catalog as a class to “examine the interplay between feminisms, queer theory and cultural production, focusing on how power manifests in ways that contribute to and constrain communication around gender and sexuality.”

As a final project, the class is recreating an exhibit titled “What Were You Wearing?” Originally created in 2013, the goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness about sexual assault and victim-blaming.

The event involves a room full of displayed outfits that show what sexual assault survivors were wearing at the time they were assaulted. A press release written by the class explained that the project’s goal is “to remind viewers that it doesn’t matter what you wear, sexual violence can happen. It also aims to call attention to the fact that no matter what you were wearing, you did not ask for it or deserve it.”

Sexual assault is a big problem in the United States. According to the press release, one in three women and one in five men have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lives. As reported by the National Sexual Assault Resource Center, eight out of 10 assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows.

Dr. Dana Schowalter teaches this Gender Power and Cultural Production class.

“We’ve done this event in the past here at Western Oregon University, and it has traditionally made a huge impact on everyone that has witnessed the displays. My students putting this project together have agreed that sexual assault and victim blaming needs to be directly addressed,” commented Dr. Schowalter in the press release, “and they are looking forward to getting a chance to bring awareness to the public. It is not easy talking about this subject matter, but we feel it is very necessary.”

The “What Were You Wearing” exhibit will take place on June 5, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Willamette room in the Werner University Center. For more information about this event, contact Jess Elder at 502-801-2900 or Never Retallack at 971-712-9712.


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