By Saakshi RajpurkarIn November 2016, a close friend of mine decided that it was "ok" for him to sleep around with girls, no strings attached, but if a girl did that, she was "classless". The conversation that followed had something to do with Tinder, and how I shouldn't use it to find sex, but instead be a nice lady and go on dates, romanticise, get to know the person and then decide if I want to sleep with said person.My very first post in my project Trash AF, was actually a direct quote from the man himself. It said, "Do you have any idea of why someone like me would be so judgemental about what you did? That's because what you did was absolutely trashy. You do understand that all his friends now know how easy you are right? And that he may not text or call you ever again? Or only when he's horny. I don't understand how you fail to see that you've become an xyz girl for him and his friends?You can argue all you want and call me trashy as well. But I do tend to be friends with women who are not. So if I'm trashy and you're trashy by the same scale of judgement, then maybe we should stop talking."I was hurt, to say the least. It didn't sit well with me how someone who seemed so forward in his thinking in other respects had such a misogynistic view when it came to sex and women. I'm not sure what hurt me more - the fact that I was called a whore by someone I loved and respected truly, or that I had no idea that I loved and respected someone who had such a skewed sense of judgement.I was hurt, to say the least, but after that passed, the anger I felt towards him and these obscure double standards was something I didn't know how to deal with.I ranted but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to find out if others had had these kind of experiences and what their stories were. One thing I noticed was, that being shamed makes the victim feel weak and alone. It takes away their sense of confidence, given how it's instilled into our head how bad it is to be a slut. I began to ask.The response that I got was overwhelming. I didn't really know how to react. These responses led to the project Trash AF.I wanted the project to be about bodies in their true form, seeing as how the whole problem with being a slut, is that you are in touch with your body and decide what to do with it. I wanted people to send me their nude pictures and then make artworks with them, featuring their words or accounts alongside as a way to unpack the concept of “slut,” maybe reclaim the word.My plan was to let my contributors objectify themselves as flesh and bone, and the real beauty of it. When people aren't given the choice to choose between intellect and boobs, or good conversation and abs- then there wouldn’t be a hierarchy of one thing being more pure than the other or the concept of something being shameful or not. I was trying to make a point that stripping down to your intimate self is not only sexual but wholly empowering.Thus began the search for photographs. The call for photos explained the intentions of the project, explained how their photos would be kept safe, and their faces wouldn’t be used and that their stories would remain anonymous, if that's what they wanted.I assumed it would be difficult to get pictures but I was proved wrong. Women were more than willing to share. I began receiving photos at a steady pace and began sketching them. I decided to launch TrAF on Jan 1st, 2017 as a New Year thing.Over time, as the word spread, I started getting messages saying that it was wrong to leave men out of this, seeing how they get shamed as well; which got me to add them into the equation.The stories that I received from women circled around two general categories:
- slut shaming by boyfriends and/or ex-boyfriends
- slut shaming by girl best-friends.