Damsel in Di-streets

deTour curated by: Unimelb, 2015

“I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day!”
― Walt Disney Company

Growing up reading fairytales I never once questioned why the beautiful princess is kidnapped and what becomes of her, the exciting part was when the prince finally saved her and they lived happily ever after. Sadly, society as a whole has made the same blunder.

This tour takes place down Johnston Street in Collingwood, a suburb known for its struggle between commercial uprising and maintaining historical value. It explores how street artists, like the media industry, use women as an object to attract a mainstream audience. As the tour goes on you see a dramatic development in the fairytale theme of ‘damsel in distress’, which has been romanticized by mainstream media and now street artists. Women’s beauty, particularly young women, is regarded their main strength as we see a pattern in male artists only painting women of such superficial characteristics rather than exploring the other facets women have to offer – external and internal. Consequently this leads to art becoming nothing more than a commercial tool, and being robbed of its true value - something Collingwood and art have in common.

Locations for deTour

The first stop, which immediately caught my eye, is a mural of a beautiful, young woman dressed in conservative attire. She is lowering her gaze and clasping her scarf, implying a modest, protective stance. The flowers painted beside her complement…

This next piece, a mural of a tree or house of sorts, is reflective of the types of homes you see in fairytales where the princess i.e. ‘damsel in distress’ is kept captive. She is awaiting her ‘knight in shining armor’ to come rescue her,…

Moving along, another piece, which perfectly fit this theme, is of a young woman tied up. This further enhances the ‘damsel in distress’ argument, and looking closely you see that regardless of her restricted, helpless state – she looks good!…

This mural to me was the climax of the theme, further highlighting the sexual objectification of women. Along with the woman in the mural, there are what appear to be weasels and monsters, like the ones in fairytales who kidnap the princess in the…

Finally, at this last stop, is a popular mural by the street artist ‘Rone’ that he has painted in several locations. Rone is known to mainly stencil large images of women. Like Akid One, Rone’s images are of young, beautiful women. In 2014 he…
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