I’ve been frustrated with how misogynistic and man-driven Haitian social life is (SHOCK!!). It’s all about looking good for the man, behaving for the man, going out for the man. I talk about this a lot, but the Haitian straight male, believe it or not, has so much power in Haitian society.
So many times, I hear these men talk about women like their objects, sex dolls, a pastime. I’ve also heard them talk about the LGBTQ community like its a curse. “Pa manyen misye, li masisi” ("Don't touch him, he's a fag"). If you are not a straight man, you are powerless-- mentally, socially, emotionally.
On the other hand, I’ve also heard women degrade each other. Phrases like “fanm sa fout led, how is she with him?” Or “Elle est bouzen amor.” The pressure of this social life is turning the man and the woman into savages. Additionally, I also added in degrading phrases that allude to social class and appearance.
I wanted to explore the toxic nature of Haitian social life because I was so fed up with how hellish it was so I created a series called New Haitian Proverbs. The concept takes these vulgar, judgmental phrases which stem from our hateful nature and appropriate them into Haitian proverbs. It’s a parody almost. I call these phrases proverbs because they are so often said and repeated that they become part of every day language. The text is placed with images of myself, suffocating through a veil. I am covering my identity and am becoming a slave to the phrases-- almost like the hateful nature of the phrases are becoming acceptable, poetic, apart of me, true. All the phrases are real phrases that I’ve heard from men and women alike. View them below.
*Please be advised that heavy language is used. If you are not comfortable with vulgarity, by all means you do not need to view the images.
Text translations (in order of the photographs):
- Image 1: "That girl's a slut man."
- Image 2: "You're going to Asu dressed like that?"
- Image 3: "He's a fag man. Be careful so he doesn't suck you."
- Image 4: "No gays allowed."
- Image 5: "My wife doesn't need to know when I'm fucking other women."
- Image 6: "You're his/her friend? He's such a loser."
- Image 7: "Like... You're gonna walk in the streets?"
- Image 8: "That girl makes out with everyone, give it a rest."