What started as a University of Montana class project profiling badass ladies is morphing into much more as three students take “The Strong Woman Project” to the Mansfield Library for an exhibit on display March 16 through March 31.
Shane McMillan, Richelle DeVoe and Laura Pflum launched the venture for class credit in a woman’s studies class last semester, photographing and interviewing 15 women. Each subject was asked to reflect what a strong woman looks like. The ladies answer in body language, facial expression and attire, or lack thereof. For instance, student activist, Ella, is captured naked with the words, “fight injustice” written across her body.
While putting together the project, interviewers also asked what it means to be a strong woman and for suggestions to help others become stronger. In the exhibit, those replies are reflected in text posted adjacent to the photographs.
Those interviewed thus far include an Iraqi war veteran, an organic farmer, a transgender woman, University of Montana Vice President Teresa Branch, local sexologist Lindsey Doe and Indy contributor Anne Medley.
“As a group we have done our best to search for diversity, and thereby show our viewers that it is okay to break gender-norms and to be a strong woman,” McMillan says.
The trio had a blast putting together the project for school, McMillan says, so much so that they’re continuing the work on their own time. And so, to expand the project, they’re asking for nominations from friends and family of badass ladies.
Ultimately, they aim to publish the profiles in a book that will be donated to women-centered local nonprofits.
“We wanted to give something back to the Missoula community and recognize the hard-working women that make this place tick,” McMillan says.
For more information or to suggest a badass: firstname.lastname@example.org