Kat Toronto (@missmeatface) uses multidisciplinary art forms that include performance, photography, makeup and costuming to become Miss Meatface, her creative persona. Kat began using self-portraiture as a form of emotional and mental healing in 2014 after being diagnosed with cervical cancer four years earlier. Kat underwent a full hysterectomy in 2013. Struggling to come to terms with what she had been through was difficult enough, Kat couldn’t stop thinking about her now missing reproductive organs that society seemed to put a large amount of importance on. Miss Meatface has been a way for Kat to figure out what it means to be a woman in today’s feminist society.
After physically healing from her illness and surgery, Kat started photography as an artistic way to express what she had been ruminating about. It allowed her to visually explore feminine beauty, gender roles, and sexuality. Since beginning this work ,Miss Meatface has gained a cult following. Kat continues to photograph herself as Miss Meatface as a means to investigate her own sexuality and the stereotyping of gender.
Kat creates the imagery using digital and polaroid cameras. The scenes depicted are a visual mash up of traditional female gender roles and BSDM culture. There’s a nostalgic visual element from the quality of the polaroid and costuming that places these images anywhere between the 1950s to today. Kat’s creation of these unsettling and intentionally detailed photographs does an excellent job of portraying layered and conflicting subjects.
In the black and white image where Miss Meatface is dressed in a form fitting dress, she has tall white gloves, jewelry, and is standing in front of a curtain. She has long blonde hair, excessively long nails, is holding a rose, and wearing a cat eye shaped mask that represents both dominance and feminine beauty. Other than the sharp claw-like nails, the other unsettling aspect of this character is that she is wearing a bondage mask. She is concealing her face but still revealing aspects of herself through clothing and objects.
The photograph of Miss Meatface in a dominatrix suit, where she is standing next to a gimp while knitting is probably one of her most recognizable images. The domestic and traditionally feminine details included in the image seem out of place at first, but contribute to the narrative of this ‘out of place’ feeling that Kat was experiencing post-surgery. Each exposure asks the viewer to consider the question ‘where do I fit as a woman’?
Kat grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and is now located in London.