My Shadow Box

By: Kassandra Santillan

(Outside of box) On the outside, it has images like people holding guns because since I’m from Oakland, “I must be violent; I must be in a gang”. There’s also an image of a lady with a slim waist, with text saying “Firm Flat Abs Tight curvy butt No more jiggle!” kind of saying girls MUST be skinny to have a “perfect body”. There are texts like “Eat pretty” and “Make dinner” and an image of a lady taking care of a baby, like the expectations of a girl / woman. The rest of the box is just plain, because since I’m from Oakland, people that aren’t from here may think we’re nothing special (inside of box). The inside is who I am. I’ll talk about a few of the images and why I put them there. First, I chose to put a( Fin and Jake) image, of these two guys eating, because it’s like talking back to the “Eat pretty” statement. “EAT LIKE A GROWN UP” is also a counter narrative to “Eat pretty”, because I can eat however I want, and I’ll just keep “eating like a grown up”. The sleepy snorlax (pokemon) is also a counter narrative to girls need to be skinny to be perfect; The sleepy Snorlax isn’t skinny, but still beautiful / cute. “Why so blue?” and “WHY SO ANGRY”  texts, are like what people ask me when they notice my heads down and that I’m not talking to anyone (because I’m shy). The Elmo and the girl (with the, kinda, annoyed and tired face) are my reactions when people ask me that (why so angry / blue?), I just have a plain face that looks pretty annoyed, but I’m too tired to say anything. I really am okey, I’m just “TIRED”. The images around my name are just things I like that don’t really have to do with my identity; I like “Music” and “Books”. Some foods / candy I like is pizza, “Lucas” candy and mazapan (De La Rosa). Music that I like is, the musical, “DEAR EVAN HANSEN”. Also, I put a pikachu because he’s just cute, also showing I like pokemon. Mexican flag shows that I’m mexican, which I am proud of. Thereś photos of me as a child, because those were some happy times. The photograph of my family are just showing something very important to me, where I come from. My family is very important to me, because I love them so very much, and because of them, I am right here, because they support me so much and always make me laugh, which makes my day. Thank for taking your time to read this!

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April 17, 2019 2:23 am

Hi Kassandra your shadow box was really impressive. It not only showed your personality but it reflected on where you grew up and it shows how important you consider it in your upbringing. I was really inspired by your shadow box. I feel like it shows that Oakland isn’t just what people believe it to be there is another side to it that only those raised there can relate too.

April 17, 2019 12:22 am

Kassandra, it was really touching to read about your shadow box, I myself can relate to growing up in a city were there was a lot of society categorization. Like you I felt like people would automatically categorize you to a certain group. Where I grew up there was lot’s of violence and gang activity on a daily basis. Outsiders had no idea that there was nice people living in my city too. I’m also glad you shared our ethnicity because I can relate, I am Latina myself. In your post you mentioned examples of “women” expectations, I feel like now those expectations can be a little bit different, with rent being so high in our communities both women and men are really expected to contribute to household work and other “women” duties. Having to work more may mean busy schedules which leads to more cooperative household help. As a women you sound really confident and I’m telling you keep that up, it’l take you places when you stand up for yourself! #SJSU

November 13, 2018 5:18 pm

Dear Kassandra,

My name is Ana and I am a student at Fremont High School. Something I liked about your work was its very creative and there a lot of images in your shadow box. Your shadow box really stands out and you did a very good work. Please feel free to comment on my work in the future. You’re welcome.

October 24, 2018 5:19 pm

Dear Kassandra

I am proud of your work because it look like you put a lot of effort into your box. One sentence that stood out for me is “There’s also an image of a lady with a slim waist, with text saying “Firm Flat Abs Tight curvy butt No more jiggle!” kind of saying girls MUST be skinny to have a “perfect body”. There are texts like “Eat pretty” and “Make dinner” and an image of a lady taking care of a baby, like the expectations of a girl / woman” this is so true many girls they have to follow these expectations of what society thinks but no everyone is perfect the way they are. Something else I really liked about your shadow box is how it had a lot of details that represent you.

Janie Otero

October 24, 2018 4:09 pm

Dear Kassandra,

I am impressed with your shadow box because I love how you put in pictures from magazines showing the Dominant Narrative that women need to be skinny when that’s not true. I think that you made a really good point when you explained it in detail in showing the counter narrative. One sentence you wrote that stood out to me is when you wrote“ EAT LIKE A GROWN UP” is also a counter narrative to “Eat pretty”, because I can eat however I want,” I like this quote because you broke the Dominant narrative of how women are supposed to eat and said your counter narrative of that stereotype. Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next! =)

October 10, 2018 4:20 pm

Dear Kassandra.

I am mesmerized by your eye catching shadow box. I love how you connected the outside quote “Eat Pretty” to your inside quote “EAT LIKE A GROWN UP”. This shows how you can find a counter narrative for every dominant narrative out in the world and prove those dominant narratives as simply a stereotype that doesn’t need to be true. Your cut out pieces of magazines are my favorite part of your shadow box because you took parts of things that look at daily at made it represent you and your beliefs. Your shadow truly represents what all women should see themselves as on a daily basis and it really warmed my heart to see those things on your shadow box. Thank you for writing about your powerful perspective on your life. Keep writing because it will bring a powerful life changing perspective to our world.

Lupita Morales-Cordova=)

October 10, 2018 3:58 pm

I relate to your stereotypes presented about being a woman. I too feel like there is unnecessary pressure to conform when I can just do what I want. It is admirable how much you shared about yourself and I applaud you for being so vulnerable! By sharing your stereotypes that you feel, I feel more comfortable with myself. It is awesome how we feel the same things sometimes yet we are different in a lot of ways too!

October 10, 2018 2:51 pm

Kassandra, thank you for sharing so much about yourself. The way you examined stereotypes and who you are at your core was admirable. The modern world holds us to high standards, and it’s often difficult to push past them and realize our individual worth. If you continue to focus on the good in yourself rather than the unreachable standards of society, you’ll find ultimate happiness. Thank you again!

October 10, 2018 2:44 pm

I really love this project! You did very well on this. Stereotypes are pushed on us in the worst ways. As a woman, I understand the ones with the “perfect body” and a “slim waist”. I’ve always struggled with my self image due to the way society portrays us. You were very brave to share that information with us. I love seeing that you are completely different than how people see you. Love this!

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