Lauren Greenfield’s Generation Wealth

Lauren Greenfield’s Generation Wealth


– [Narrator] For the past 25 years, Lauren Greenfield has been
documenting what we value. Her exhibition and
gold satin-covered book, Generation Wealth, saw her comb through half a million photos to
reorganize all her past ideas into one cohesive new work. A major theme of Greenfield’s catalog: the challenges of being a
girl in the 21st century. (ethereal electronic music) – I mean, I think that this work is pretty strongly feminist because there is a lot that’s
about the commodification of human beings, and
that really takes place in the case study that
is the girl or the woman. And one of the things that I tracked really obsessively in this work is the way girls learn at an early age that their value comes from their body, that they have currency
because of their body or because of their beauty or
because of their sexuality. And when you learn that
when you’re a little girl, it only makes sense that, as you grow up, you leverage that value
or you sell that value. And so the really hard
stories in this about both not measuring up to that and
what happens when you don’t, whether it’s eating disorders or fat camp or spending all your money
to be that perfect person. But they’re also really hard stories about leveraging or selling your body literally, and so there’s this section
called “Sexual Capital” where we see college-educated girls making the decision to become prostitutes because, if all we care
about is money and lifestyle, that becomes a logical choice. And I want to be really clear that I’m not judging those girls ’cause I actually think
that they’re making a rational choice given
the values of the culture. The other things is that
this work is really about how we’re effected by capitalism and capitalism loves insecurity. And so girls and their bodies have been a great way to sell things, ’cause if you tell people
they’re not good enough, they’re gonna buy this or that. But boys also have insecurities, and I think what you see in this work is that capitalism is completely not sexist and colorblind,
that anywhere there is a possibility of selling
things, it will go. And so I think girls are
really just a case study, and what you see in this
work is that everybody basically wants to be other than they are, and that’s kind of the
trap that we all fall into. (soft electronic music)

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