The True Stories Project


Society teaches us through media and advertising that women, girls and sometimes boys can be portrayed as weak and submissive, existing mainly to satisfy others’ needs. Such dehumanization makes empathy challenging for someone you don’t view as a “real” person.

Objectification means treating a person as a commodity or object without regard to his or her personality or dignity. Sexual objectification represents the individual primarily as an object of sexual desire rather than as a whole person, and plays an important role in gender inequality and exploitation.

female dolls in sexualized contexts

Little Hussies Series

Stacy Leigh, 2010, photography © 2010, courtesy of the artist

Working as a fashion photographer, Leigh’s interest in love dolls as a subject matter began in 2005, after she saw the HBO show “Real Sex.” The show focused on the relationships between men and inanimate, manufactured sex dolls. Her work comments on a world where real human interactions and connections are becoming increasingly rare and a woman is seen as toy, object, and commodity.

Pink Green Caviar

Marilyn Minter, 2009, HD video, 7 minutes 45 seconds © 2009, courtesy of the artist

Minter’s work blurs the boundaries between fine and commercial art. Co-opting advertising genres, she mines this platform to create the high-definition video Green Pink Caviar — a lush and sensual voyeuristic hallucination. Filmed with macro lenses, she captures minute movements of female mouths licking candy and cake decoration.

construction site with pole dancers and mc

Pole Dancers

Al Grumet, 2017, digital composite, 54″ x 36″ © 2017, courtesy of the artist

Grumet creates works that blend digital and traditional painting to portray the troubling consequences of our society’s vices. In Pole Dancers, he transforms a construction site into a strip club, drawing a connection between the adult entertainment industry and the spillover effects of objectification, such as harassment in daily life and discrimination in the workplace.   

Tough guys and female abuse victims

Tough Guys

Al Grumet, 2017, digital composite, 56.5″ x 36″ © 2017, courtesy of the artist

Relationships in which a person is treated as a commodity are often established and maintained through violence and other means of coercive control. In Tough Guys, Grumet captures the violence underlying such relationships and the veil of secrecy that often obscures it from public view.