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In 1999, both Monica Lewinsky and Brandi Chastain were the focus of a complicated national dialogue about women, gender performance and sexuality. After each respective scandal, the media shone a similar spotlight of shame and scrutiny on both women for their involvement in two very different events. The media backlash did not directly point to their "transgressive" behavior but rather discursively and sheepishly highlighted the items of clothing each woman wore - a blue dress and a black sports bra. The garments, gendered by nature, became every bit as infamous as the events and women themselves.
Role Models considers female sexuality and gender performance as filtered through mass media outlets and epitomized in specific clothing worn by Lewinsky and Chastain. Dodd Graduate student in photography, Miranda Maynard, and Chicago-based artist Phaedra Call, each claimed in adulthood their separate adolescent obsessions with Lewinksy and Chastain. Seen together, their work underscores the significance of how women are presented in mass media, and the extent to which many young women must dig to find validating media representation.