Jane Alexander: Stripped ('Oh Yes' Girl)
A nude female figure hanging by her armpits in a pose that reminds one of the crucifixion, with her crossed feet and the position of her hands. The fact that she is being 'crucified' symbolises suffering and the fact that she is an innocent victim. She is propped on a replica of an original Barbie doll stand. She can be seen as ‘the woman’, a manufactured object, neither alive nor dead. In the extreme, this woman is portrayed apathetically. A piece of lace has been worked into the flesh around her neck and at other points on her body there is stitching that shows through. Her gray skin appears to be almost decaying in places, with the 'stuffing' coming out, possibly causing pain, and yet in others it is young and fresh, such as in the face, breasts, buttocks and in the strong hands. This contrast shows the mixture of strength and vulnerability. The intention of this work was perhaps to draw the attention of mostly female viewers and evoke a will to open one’s eyes to one’s own position. What is your role as a woman? The woman portrayed is an innocent victim displaying vulnerability and yet she is a strong character, knowing her problems but also knowing that she has the power to rise above them.
Alexander has an interest in the female form, and this is usually portrayed as a childbearing form that gives life, or a form able to give pleasure to men and itself. The woman can be seen in a family context or a sexual context. Alexander developed her image for Stripped ('Oh Yes' Girl) by observing two prostitutes who worked in a brothel opposite her Long Street apartment in Cape Town. She called one the "Unhappy Sex Worker" and the other the "Happy Sex Worker." The former was content in her occupation, and a strong character with no sense of victimisation. The latter, on the other hand, felt abused and badly treated. Alexander began thinking about how women deal with situations such as theirs - situations of oppression. She ascertained that women are survivors, above all else. She combined the two woman and their outward emotions into Stripped ('Oh Yes' Girl).