What does it mean to be feminine? To be a woman? These past years have been exploring and making visible all of the bewildering spectrum of what it means to be a woman. And what have we found? Bravery. Society for a long time was segmented by those willing to fit in, and the rest that didn't. We are now in a time where conceptions are being double-checked and stereotypes overthrown. And while a lot of work has been done, stopping is not an option, because resistance over time is what creates lasting changes, and the responsibility of inclusion lies in everybody's decisions and mindsets. The concept of femininity and womanhood has come a long way and it's still a territory that seeks exploration.
Colombian photographer Daniela Ariza (@danielaariza) has created a bodywork that roams themes concerning genre, womanhood, and the role of femininity. She explores the different nuances of the concepts and cultural phenomenons associated with being a woman and how they are challenged and resisted. In her latest work Triumph and Victory she tells the story of a transgender woman called Victoria, that travels the streets of Bogotá on her metal truck doing different errands concerning loads of heavy equipment, assistance in movings and cargos.
The story of Victoria comes in as a colorful act of self-love, pride, and resistance. The name of her business is called Carga Express en Tacones translated into cargo express in heels, she turned into her true self and now wears heels to carry on a job that is socially accepted as a man ́s work. Ariza created a series of photographs that reveals the manifestation of a true identity created by Victoria to show herself as a strong character that fights stereotypical thinking and creates a breach of new concepts and realities that may not have been applied to womanhood before. The richness and variety of being a woman cannot be encompassed into a single conception and role, Daniela has created a feminine pictorial landscape that allows the stories of women like Victoria to shine authentically, without judgment and misconceptions. As she expresses: “The way I was raised has given me an idea of the female gender that revolves around ability and strength. Which motivates me to want to address these issues”.
Victoria represents the struggle of not only women, but especially transgender women, seeking exhaustively for a spot in a society build from dichotomy. The freedom and pride that comes with finding oneself is a liberating journey, but that doesn ́t mean it's an easy one. Ariza uses a personal acronym for her work VER, meaning to see, she creates her work under three premises: to make visible, exalt and resignify. Stories of bravery don ́t need only light but examination, critical analysis, and appreciation to grow into different contexts as a reality and not just a fictional tale. Victoria comes out as a fighter in heels, one that is a cargo worker, a transgender woman, and a pride icon. The story of Ariza and Victoria would continue to entangle and create opportunities for those submerging in womanhood, for those not afraid to construct a mold that fits their uniqueness.