Student uses art to stand up for women


Whitney Lynn/Iowa State Daily

Hua Pan, graduate student in integrated studio arts, debuted her art gallery, which was called Women in a Box, on Friday at the Design on Main Gallery. All of her artwork was based on how society sees women today and the drastic measures women are willing to go to to fit the standard. She combined her Chinese culture with the American culture to create a gallery that showed the similarities of standards women face around the world.

Kyndal Reimer

What’s red, pink and decorated with condoms all over? The Design on Main gallery can tell you.

Hua Pan, graduate student in integrated studio arts, is showcasing her own art exhibit called “Women in a Box: Women’s Objectification in a Patriarchal Society.”

Pan had her opening reception on Friday and was pleased to be supported by family, friends and strangers.

Pan has a passion for highlighting on the distinguishable imbalance between men and women in society, specifically in mass media and the fashion industry in how they objectify women.

She illustrates the issue of women’s self-image by piecing together art made from bits of fashion magazines, mannequin busts, air-filled condoms, QR codes, shipping boxes and personalized packaging tape that reads “The Second Sex & Co.”

“The fashion industry and mass media has negatively impacted women and their self-image,” Pan said. “I wanted to demonstrate these negative impacts through my work.”

Pan is originally from China and expressed how living and growing up there inspired her to stand up for women with her art.

Forms of art varied across the room. Art framed by basic picture frames and cardboard boxes hung on the walls. The center of the room featured six sculptures of the woman figure, which were made of a variety of different mediums. Additionally, she included a video project her guests could watch in a secluded room.

At the heart of Pan’s exhibit is the issue of the male gaze.

According to, male gaze is a term that means men believe they have “entitlement to all of the privileges awarded to gazers, entitlement to view women and to discuss and exploit their bodies without consequence.”

Pan stands up against the normification of the male gaze through her bold artwork.

Her exhibit is open until Thursday. Exhibition hours are from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday and 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The exhibit is closed on Tuesday.