It seems that Anita Powell has put herself in a disorienting paradox of denying gender roles and stereotypes of the past to show the beauty and quaintness of femininity. She uses the device of visual depictions of "inferior" gender roles of the 1950's era and expects the viewer to find the strength in these images. I see a perpetuation or at least a reminder of the inappropriate and skewed view of the past. I can then project that on societal standards today and gender roles, but still don't see a rational of the imagery used to convey the "beauty of domesticity". Perhaps a jab at the ridiculous, but not something that we should embrace. The dimensional dress form itself is a reminder of things of past and easily becomes feminine but in the article it says that she doesn't want it to be a stand in for a women... Again, it seems that she is doing one thing and saying its another.
"Gender roles refer to the set of social, behavioral and attitudinal roles, expectations and norms that, within a specific culture, are either formally or informally required or widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific gender identity. Gender roles are constructed for various genders in order to channelize their energies towards some socially ordained goals, which are either commonly shared or affixed from the top." --It is only in this situation that I can begin to understand the statement she makes and the work presented. By acknowledging that at this time this was the norm and socially acceptable to be the "inferior" and doing the best that they could with it, I can see the strength and perhaps beauty. BUT in doing so, we realize that we are accepting that role, which places that women in a negative and less powerful position, thus creating the paradox.
I like the drawings though. :)