Sasha Yungju Lee

In my work, I examine the role of popular media images in the formation of gendered identities and in defining the visibility of race. In this series of altered photographs, originally designed for display as advertisements on city buses, I address the cultural imposition of identity through the mass production and consumption of cinematic representation. The altered images question the function of the female Hollywood movie star as a visual standard to be emulated by every American woman.

Cosmetic surgery that eliminates the Asian fold above the eyelid has become a means by which many Asian women attempt to follow the "starlet" standard. In these images I use my own eyes and digitally superimpose them on the faces of American movie icons. The result is an enactment of the reappropiation of identity: What if Monroe had eyes like mine? How would that make me think about myself? How would others think about me? A fragment of the body, the eyes, literally reshapes the whole identity of the portraits and reconfigures notions of what it means to be an "All-American Girl."