Sweet 16’s & Quinceneras

6 responses to “Sweet 16’s & Quinceneras

  1. These images are a collection of photos taken of young girls celebrating their initiation into womanhood through the tradition of Sweet 16’s and Quinceneras (Sweet 15’s). Some are very typical photographs, while others expose a more “varied” side of young girls. This ritual usually consists of princess-like dresses and other princess-like symbolisms that carry a fantastic and fairy tale aesthetic. Particularly interesting, are the nuances between virginity-innocence-passive body and loss of innocence-connection to baptismal rites of passage/original sin-cultural identification.

  2. Some compelling images. The photo of the girl being carried on a bed by four shirtless hunks is in a shocking / tacky / sad / nauseating / goofy class of its own.

    In addition to the themes you point out, there are some possible photo clichés of this event that start to emerge here. Some examples: the girl looking into a mirror and getting herself ready; the photo of the dress spread out so you can see how bountiful it is; the girl in front of a fantasy or romantic backdrop; the girl by herself – lost in reflection, and the grouping of multiple girls that allow you to compare their dresses.

    If you continue to explore this theme, you might try finding multiple examples of each of these sub-categories that begin to emerge. It could give the overall collection more nuance and allow the viewer a richer experience of what this rite of passage is about in its various rituals and components. This is a fine start, and it’s a rich subject that you could certainly build on if you like.

  3. These certainly are fascinating images. Concerning your statement, “Particularly interesting, are the nuances between virginity-innocence-passive body and loss of innocence-connection to baptismal rites of passage/original sin-cultural identification,” I definitely see the former, but I’m not seeing the original sin or baptismal connection, per se. So if you could explain, that I would understand that better. I see only in one photo a certain loss of innocence (#13) where the subject is striking a voguish pose. Of course the subject photo with the shirtless hunks as Marc mentions is also a bit over the top (but I don’t think it’s nauseating or sad, Marc – I think it’s great! especially the wings!), but otherwise all the rest of the photos look to me like just clean fun. There may be a bit of narcissism depicted in the more candid #14.

    I understand the role of ritual in society and the connection with gender roles, but to me these images seem to speak to the role of beauty, fantasy (as you mention) and the sanction of codification in dress within society. They seem to connote that it’s OK to play dress up, for yourself, for society, and to assert that connection with womanliness. The larger unspoken connotation at that age of rite-of-passage is that the subject young women will learn to attract young men in this manner (typically not as formal) for marriage, etc.

  4. Also – will the author of this post let us confirm their name by adding some kind of identifier? You don’t have to use your entire name if you don’t want to. Thanks!

  5. Yes, Maria Gaspar. I realized my name wasn’t on the title after the fact.

  6. Thanks!

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