Challenging stereotypes, one label at a time

Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Two side-by-side photos of a woman holding a piece of paper that reads, “Nerd” and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.

By Robert Greeley

Is Charlotte Abraham a nerd? The third-year international exchange student included herself in a suite of photos titled “I Am Not the Label You Give Me” that challenges us to stop and question common stereotypes.

Abraham, who studied at uOttawa in the fall, recently returned to Britain to complete her degree in art and psychology at the University of Reading. However, toward the end of her semester here, she embraced the opportunity to take part in an exposition, hosted by International House, called “Don’t Feed the Stereotype.” The campaign took a pop culture approach to promoting diversity by debunking stereotypes.

Submissions could be in any medium, so Abraham decided to use the 35mm photography skills she had learned in a uOttawa art class. She loaded her camera with black and white film to create a collection of striking 8” x 10” images.

“‘I Am Not the Label You Give Me’ wants to get those who make stereotypical judgments to think about what they say and how it might affect those they are talking about,” Abraham says. “Pointing out that people are not always the stereotypical labels you give them is just a small step in the march to equality.”

Two side-by-side photos show a Black woman holding a piece of paper that reads, “But where are you really from?” and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of a man of South Asian descent holding a piece of paper that reads, “Do you eat lots of curry?” and then smiling as he rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of a woman of Asian descent holding a piece of paper that reads, “Do you speak Chinese?” and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos side of a woman in a headscarf holding a piece of paper that reads, “Forced” and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of a man holding a piece of paper that reads, “Insensitive man” and then smiling as he rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of a woman holding a piece of paper that reads, “Nerd” and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of a woman holding a piece of paper that reads, “Outcast”, and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of a woman holding a piece of paper that reads, “Teacher’s Pet”, and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of a woman holding a piece of paper that reads, “You wear too much makeup”, and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.
Two side-by-side photos of an older woman holding a piece of paper that reads, “Too old to be a student”, and then smiling as she rips the paper in half.

 

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