Today on the blog, I managed to grab a few moments of creator & performer Katy Dye’s time to discuss her latest piece Baby Face. The piece has been dubbed as a striking interrogation of society’s infantilisation of women and will embark on a UK tour following hit-success at the Fringe 2018.
HS: What is Baby Face about and what can audiences expect from the show?
KD: Baby Face explores the infantilisation of women. We live in an age where paedophilia is not ok, yet fetishised images of women as pre-pubescent girls are. In many ways I have childlike attributes to my body, which is seen as a massive ‘tick’ in terms of modern day beauty ideals. Baby Face is a solo performance where I mix the childlike and sexual to ask if innocence really is a sexy or attractive quality and why we use this infantile way of being and appearing to try and get what we want, especially in interpersonal relationships. Audiences can expect performance art, dance and a soundtrack of drone rock and bubblegum pop. The show explores the moral conscience and the amoral nature of desire when it comes to the infantilisation of women, and what this says about our culture today.
HS: Having performed the show at the Fringe 2018, how has the show developed ahead of the UK tour?
KD: The show always develops and changes depending on the audience and space it is presented in, but yes, essentially the performance will very much resemble its presentation as part of the Edinburgh Fringe run 2018. I am looking forward to seeing how different audiences react to the show around the UK, and how this will shape the piece.
HS: In your opinion, where does the fetishisation stem from? Why do you think it has become so normalised in pop culture?
KD: I believe infantilisation of women stems from the systematic disempowerment of women through the patriarchy. If someone is childlike they are easily controlled and undermined. However, in the case of infantilisation, for someone to possess the both womanly and childlike characteristics is ‘the best of both worlds’: ‘she’s submissive/fragile/babyish – but also fuckable’. This time old combination of innocent yet sexy is nothing new, and from Marilyn Monroe to Britney Spears to Ariana Grande, women in pop culture cultivate this image. We all recognise the images of Anime women – both curvaceous and womanly, yet fetishised as schoolgirls/little girls. This fetishisation makes is permissible to view the childish as sexy and vice versa, and I think it has become so normalised in pop culture because we are comfortable seeing women behave and appear as little girls, rather than as powerful and complicated women.
HS: Why do you think women/young girls are so often the target of infantilisation?
KD: Perhaps it’s something about how easily someone can ‘pass’ as younger. A young teen might be seen to inhabit the same world as a child – and this blurred line between being a child and being an adult can be exploited. I’ve been interested to see how, particularly in social media outlets, women are much more likely to gravitate towards the ‘little girl’ image in terms of the infantile. Does this tap into a deep-rooted female insecurity that we are sold from a young age – to be wanted/cared for/cherished and loved by a male figure? This is the territory that I am interested in exploring in Baby Face, where the impulse to be infantile can come from intimate learned behaviours in our lives, as well as pop culture.
HS: What do you hope audiences can take away from the show?
KD: I would like people to take joy in physically ‘sending up’ this idea of the infantilisation of women. I am interested in people examining the moral boundaries between the acceptability of what we find attractive and what is ok to fetishise – and what isn’t. The performance is a very visceral experience, and I am interested in people taking away the bodily sensation of being in the same space as it: the same space as this gyrating, spitting, crying, dancing, talc spraying woman.
For tour dates, tickets and more information on Baby Face, please visit http://www.katy-dye.com/baby-face/
Until next time,