Musings: Baring It All

I went on a “gallery crawl” in Old City Philadelphia recently and encountered a provocative sculpture in the Wexler Gallery by Dirk Straschke entitled Standing Woman with PVC Burqua. It’s a finely crafted piece that offers a realistic presence of a proudly standing nude woman, covered in a burqua. But instead of it covering her up, the burqua is clear. Her nude body is revealed, but her eyes partly obscured.

The sculpture is a rich creative paradox. And while I don’t know the artist’s intentions I found the sculpture to be a fascinating representation of an important aspect of my work as a market researcher. Our role is to help reveal some “inner truths” or insights with which our clients can craft meaningful communications or products.

This was exemplified in a recent health care study in which my colleagues and I engaged with women in their homes, in small, intimate focus group settings and on-line about a sensitive health care issue and their strategies for dealing with it. The topic for most women is embarrassing, and for some so stigmatized that they wouldn’t even talk about it with their closest girl friends. Yet these women, in the midst of strangers, opened up to us about their daily struggles with clarity and even humor. Each encounter that my colleagues and I experienced was memorable and powerful. It was cathartic for some women who had never openly shared their “secret,” and a learning experience for both interviewer and research participant. We created an opportunity for them to “bare it all” with our gentle probing, non-judgmental witnessing and attentive listening. The client “won” as well for they are now armed with new insights to guide ways in which they can be more helpful to other women with this condition.

Creating a forum for people to reveal inner thoughts, feelings and aspirations often leads them to be more empowered. I feel privileged as a market researcher.

Your opinions?

Laurie Tema-Lyn

Practical Imagination Enterprises



One Response

  1. This is great! Interesting connection between the sculpture and creating a safe forum as a market researcher, for people to reveal their inner truths.

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