The other quote I wanted to mention is:
“I still party like a 21 year old but I also want to have a family and be a mother. It’s an internal conflict!”
I think that’s sooo common among people in our generation because there’s not really this standard social script that you follow anymore.
Oh, totally, especially in big cities. Everyone I know still goes out all the time, but then, back home, I have a lot of friends who have children and … yeah, it’s different for everybody.
I’m also from a small town, and I’ve lived in DC and NY, and I think it’s interesting to observe how different socioeconomic classes do … age differently? In life stages but also even in looks – like, 30 might look different on someone who’s working in manual labor or had a couple kids already than someone who lives in a big city, has no kids and has been in nothing but school and offices for the past decade.
Absolutely. That’s one of the things I struggled with with the project is that by asking friends and friends of friends, or even by posting on Craigslist – even though I feel like a lot of people read Craigslist, it seems the people who are most likely to respond were all pretty much middle-class professional type women. And I want to get people who aren’t just middle-class, maybe some people for whom English is a second language, or people who had kids really young and have had to work all the time to support their families …
I did want to limit the scope of the project to Los Angeles – not because it’s LA, but just to pick one big city, to make it more comprehensive – but, like, there’s a large Hispanic population in Los Angeles. I bet a 30-year-old women who migrated here or is a first generation immigrant has a totally different experience. I’m trying to figure out how to reach that community without … I don’t know, being weird.
I think there are different expectations on women in their 20s based on where they live and what social class they’re in. One of my favorite bloggers is Phoebe Maltz-Bovy, and she writes a lot about the ‘window of opportunity’ problem for women in the sort of educated, urban arena. It’s like you’re too young to get married — people would think you were crazy if you got married and had kids in your early or mid or sometimes even late 20s — and then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Uh-oh, you better hurry up and get married and have kids, because you’re almost too old!!!!’
It’s like we have this extremely small window. I mean, when I was 25, 26, whatever, it was like oh my god, I’m not going to get married now. And then I turned 30 and I’m like, wow, I’m not married … Should I be? I feel really weird about it.
Especially because there’s this pressure to have kids before 35, and there are reasons, like —
Right. It freaks me out because on the one hand, I want to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, but on the other … you can’t just make that happen at 30, necessarily, finding someone you want to marry or have kids with … So how has the project been received?
Well, I went to New York in June for some meetings with ad agencies and things like that, and that was everyone’s favorite portfolio of mine, they’re like, ‘Oh, this is so interesting. I love that it’s real women.’ It’s been received really, really well. And I’m going to be part of the Los Angeles Art Walk in November, and I’m hoping from there to get something in a magazine or something like that. We’ll see. I’m much more use to the commercial photography side of things and now that this is like, an art project, I’m sort of navigating how to get that out there.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
After doing so many of these portraits and interviews the project is kind of starting to seem like a self portrait. Each quote and each girl seems to agree with a little part of me.