New Manchester photo exhibition highlights women’s fear of discrimination

Created by a Salford student, the exhibition highlights the harassment suffered by women over what they choose to wear on a night out
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A powerful new photography exhibition spotlighting the harassment and abuse suffered by women over what they choose to wear on a night out has been revealed at the Great Northern Warehouse

The thought-provoking project, titled Who Are You To Judge Me?, was created by University of Salford student and photographer Helen Constantinou, and highlights the shocking precautions women feel they must take to feel protected today – modifying their choice of clothing to avoid abuse and harassment. 

Aiming to raise awareness of her experience of society’s intolerance and double standards towards women, Helen invited 14 female students, who have all been a victim of harassment, abuse and shaming, to attend a photoshoot and asked them to bring two outfits. 

Two shots were taken for each student, wearing one outfit which makes them feel safe and a second which makes them feel attractive but would however not wear in public for fear of a negative reaction, or as the victim, blamed if they are harassed, abused or even raped.

The exhibition showcases 14 of the original 28 images. 

One student is seen wearing black jeans, flat black trainers and a black t-shirt as her “safe” outfit, contrasting with a short pink leather mini skit, bare legs paired with a lime green cardigan and animal print crop top, as an outfit she’d love to wear but wouldn’t feel safe in public doing so. 

The images capture the confidence and happiness each woman feels when given the chance to express her own fashion sense, and contrasts with the reality of everyday life, where women regularly feel they must modify their behaviour to avoid abuse, unwanted interest and judgement.

The striking images are being exhibited in collaboration with The Great Northern Warehouse to mark International Women’s Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

“Every day, women have to modify their behaviour to avoid abuse, unwanted interest, judgment, and harassment,” says Helen.

“Why does society view any woman whose behaviour doesn’t conform to its ‘norms’ as unacceptable?

“Each woman photographed for this exhibition has her own story of harassment, abuse and shaming.

“I truly admire their bravery and the shared shining spirit shown in agreeing to be part of this project.”

Mark Schofield, centre director for The Great Northern, said: “Helen’s work is incredibly thought-provoking and shines a light on the harassment and abuse suffered by millions of women over what they choose to wear.

“We hope that people who visit the new gallery at Great Northern Warehouse, will stop to think and reflect on their own experiences.”

Visitors to The Great Northern Warehouse can view the exhibition, titled Who Are You To Judge Me?, on the ground floor of the Warehouse Building.

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