Controversial photo series explores what daily life can feel like for women.

Controversial photo series explores what daily life can feel like for women.
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In a powerful photo series called "boundaries," Pittsburgh-based photographer Allaire Bartel wanted to show what sexual harassment for women can feel like for women on a regular, daily basis.

Her photos show a young woman going through her daily routines, like yoga, work, and going to a bar. From a distance, the photos may seem innocuous and "normal." But if you look closer, you'll see the subject has male hands on her body to illustrate how male entitlement, and rape culture, can permeate every area of a woman's life.

Bartel says that she wanted to show that the harassment women face extends beyond "isolated incidents" like rape or violent abuse. She writes on her website:

I was particularly determined to express the idea that oppression of women does not just occur in extreme isolated incidents (violent rape and physical abuse) but can also be felt in lesser forms during the day to day.

She hoped to illustrate in her series the ways in which society has come to "normalize" sexual harassment and male entitlement to women's bodies, a phenomenon often described as "rape culture." She writes:

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The concept of rape culture is represented by male arms and hands performing a variety of actions that are overwhelming intrusive on the woman's body and life. In each situation she maintains a blank expression, a visual choice that demonstrates how conditioned we as women have become to accept this atmosphere as excusable and even normal.

The photos are disturbing, powerful. And, sadly, relatable.

You can see more of Bartel's work here.

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