Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2018

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author Department/Program

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type



My work in video, installation, performance, sound, and photography is influenced and inspired by my experience of being a woman. In my work, I draw pink flowers and create pink backdrops. I smash things, eat, drink, drop things, smile, nod, and look at you. Through these works, I explore the gender performativity of female niceness, synthesizing these two separate theories as a social condition and expectation for women. I argue that female niceness consists of bodily and linguistic patterns that women must perform in order to be perceived as feminine.

In my video and installation work, I use a “sickeningly” sweet aesthetic to speak to this social phenomenon using the language that has been thrown upon women: flowers, patterns, and an overload of pink. Diver deeper into the cultural mythology of the color, my work connotes the negative associations with pink. My work battles with these assumptions, showing that the color is analogous with not taking women’s concerns seriously.

My moving images and installations demonstrate tension in response to this dynamic through uncomfortable moments in pink. In one video, I try to smash a pink harmonica with a milkshake glass, it never breaks. In another, the pink shot glass bounces and never shatters. Inspired by the films and TV shows made by men exposed or discussed during the #metoo movement as a cultural focal point, I demonstrate the pervasiveness of the expectation of female niceness – and how this expectation is linked to harassment and other gendered injustices. Despite anger and frustration, this culture cannot change as a result of women’s anger alone. Thus, my work as an artist is predicated on this dilemma.


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Thesis Advisor

Monika Weiss

Studio/Primary Advisor

Heather Bennett

Studio/Primary Advisor

Patricia Olynyk

Committee Member

Lisa Bulawsky

Committee Member

Lisa Bulawsky

Artist's Statement

Through my video installations, I use the gender performativity (to draw from Judith Butler) of female niceness as a jumping off point for exploration of gendered injustices and harassment.

Using a sickeningly sweet aesthetic, I speak to this social phenomenon using the language women have traditionally been given – flowers and an overload of pink. We are taught to smile and nod. We are seen as the comforters. And we say ‘’sorry’’ too much ‘’and um this really isn’t a big deal,’’ don’t we?

Femininity is equated with niceness. Niceness is synonymous with being constantly agreeable and possessing low self-confidence. This version of femininity creates a world in which women are expected to put up with whatever comes their way. Identifying instances of female niceness in shows created, written, or directed by men outed and discussed in the #metoo movement, I create a homage to these characters while critiquing the mandate of this singular femininity and the actions of these powerful men.

Permanent URL:

Taylor Yocom videos.docx (11 kB)
artist's videos (11 kB)
artist's website