This excerpt from my project, Plaything, explores the idea of the normalized verbal sexual harassment that femme-presenting individuals face and the emotional toll it takes that doesn’t visualize itself in the same way as physical abuse. It stands as a testament against misogyny and violence against women in all forms.

To create this work, I explored my own experiences of being subjected to this abuse, which resulted in a common denominator between each incident: the feeling of being incurably dirty without a way to cleanse myself of the experience. I chose to take self-portraits of my body on 35mm film, rub them in dirt, and try desperately to scrub them clean with a sponge, treating the negatives as an extension of my own being after these incidents. Plaything is a work of strength, reconciliation with the self, and visibility of the invisible: the innate rights given to men to objectify and the inherent crime of a woman’s mere existence.