thoughts on the shopgirl

Service-based jobs are a rite of passage for the young, and the shopgirl, set in an environment indulging in fantasy and the desirable, undergoes a particular coming-of-age maturity.

In a store setting staged to entice, appeal, and draw the eye, the shopgirl is also part of the display. Depending on the context, the shopgirl experience is both acute and varying—one description does not suffice, as her experience can hold multitudes. Even the verb ‘hold’ implies objectification - she is purposed to be a vessel, to hold the ideal, to uphold the expectation of the other. She is looked at, subject to the gaze of those passing by the window [worthy of going in? of exploring more?]. To any who enter, she is expected to serve, sell, answer, adapt, provide, please, give, give, give.

Look at her.

Yet, behind the fantasy, behind the display, behind the shopgirl, there is the woman. Come 7 pm, the woman emerges from behind the girl, tangible and real and dynamic. She has rent / tuition / bills / dreams / [insert any life expense] to pay for. Behind the glass, she is looking right back at you. She is moving forward. She is dynamic. She is her own multitude.

She is looking right back at you.

She is at the intersection of the real and fantasy, both the viewer and the viewed. Perhaps for a period of time, she is static and unmoving - the time here can be pensive, reflective, developmental, can represent a pause - but to be at this crossroads reflects adversity and strength.  

She is looking at herself.


model: anna rajo

styling: alyssa julian




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© 2018 Jennelle Fong