Donald Trump has been called many things during his gradual rise to political power: businessman, television personality, and now president-elect. But one teen is reminding people exactly who they voted for in this year’s election.
Despite saying some spectacularly awful things about women in the past – including comparing women to dogs and seemingly advocating sexual assault – Trump won the white women vote by nine points.
Now eighteen-year-old Aria Watson, a student at Clatsop Community College in Oregon, has responded by creating a powerful photo series of all the gross, misogynistic, and downright disturbing things Trump has ever said about women, written directly on women’s bodies.
Titled #SignedbyTrump, works includes quotes such as “It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,” as well as the infamous “You’ve got to grab them by the pussy.”
After being taken down by Facebook and Instagram due to nudity, the photos went viral on Tumblr, receiving over 100,000 notes in just a few days. The series has obviously struck a chord with women everywhere who are afraid words like this will become a social norm under a Trump presidency.
Watson originally came up with the concept a few weeks before the election as her final project for an Introduction to Photography class. However, after Trump’s surprise win she decided to up her game.
“I never really cared for or understood politics, but this year was different. Although I was two weeks too young to actually vote, I was old enough to see what was happening and learn about it. When Trump beat Clinton, my heart shattered. I knew I had to create something different.” -Aria Watson
Although Trump’s ascension to the White House is all but set, Watson hopes that her work will caution Americans about being complacent in regards to their new leader.
“All I wanted from these photos was to help people realize who Donald Trump really is, and I just want to feel heard,” she explained. “I know most people are set on their opinions about Trump, but I just hope one person sees #SignedByTrump and it opens their eyes.”
The models are Watson’s friends and family, but she has chosen keep them anonymous, to highlight that these kinds of comments can be said about any or all females.
“I had such a difficult time finding people who were willing to model for me,” she says. “Not only is it hard for people to strip down in front of someone and let them paint on their body, but it’s hard for a lot of people to be open about their political opinions.”
As well as well-wishers, Watson has received some negative criticism due to the lack of women of color in her project, but says this unintentional and that she lives in a very “white” town.
“The only other women of color I knew weren’t eighteen yet, but if they were, I would have asked them to model for me,” she added.
She also posed for one of the images herself, and says that the positives of her project’s success outweigh the negatives.
“As a proud feminist, hearing Trump say “grab them by the pussy” and talk about how he could do anything he wanted made me absolutely sick. Women are not objects. The fact that he has said this, and other things like this, but still won scares me.”
And like most internet sensations, Watson did not expect her project to go viral, or have the impact it has.
“Over the past few days, I’ve gotten messages that have brought me to tears. To everyone who has supported me and #SignedByTrump, don’t let anyone silence you. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you are passionate about. I don’t know why Donald Trump is in office, or how this even happened, but he is. What we need more than ever is to come together. We are stronger together.”