Women share the reasons they posed nude for #GrabHimByTheBallot

  • Linda Rollins, of Shelburne Falls, Lynn Nichols, of Gill, and Amie Hyson, of Greenfield, discuss Donald Trump in the current presidential campaign in the waiting area of the space where Turners Falls artist Anja Schutz was conducting a photo shoot Saturday for her project titled, "#GramHimBytheBallot in rebuke of Trump's recent lewd comments about the sexual assault of women. Women were photographed nude and in the final images, their breasts will be blacked out with the hashtag #GrabHimBytheBallot and their genital areas will be covered with a mock ballot. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Signs directing volunteer models to the space where Turners Falls artist Anja Schutz was conducting a photo shoot Saturday for her project titled, "#GramHimBytheBallot in rebuke of Trump's recent lewd comments about the sexual assault of women. Women were photographed nude and in the final images, their breasts will be blacked out with the hashtag #GrabHimBytheBallot and their genital areas will be covered with a mock ballot. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Women chat in the waiting area of the space where Turners Falls artist Anja Schütz was conducting a photo shoot Saturday for her project titled, #GrabHimByTheBallot in rebuke of Trump’s recent lewd comments about women. Women were photographed nude and in the final images, their breasts will be blacked out with the hashtag #GrabHimByTheBallot and their genital areas will be covered with a mock ballot. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/23/2016 11:40:41 PM

GREENFIELD — A collective shout of “Girls unite!” rang out from a dilapidated brick building on Arch Street Saturday morning as women from across western Massachusetts gathered in protest of Donald Trump’s remarks about women.

The women, who ranged in age from being in their 20s to in their 60s, participated in a more unusual form of protest — posing nude with strategically placed mock ballots as part of a new campaign called #GrabHimByTheBallot.

The campaign was sparked by Turners Falls photographer Anja Schütz in response to the now infamous comments the Republican presidential nominee made in a 2005 video, where he made lewd remarks about women and said “Grab them by the p***y.”

“When the audio came out about what he said, I was as upset as every other woman out there who is not apologizing for him,” Schütz said.

Immediately after, Schütz made a post on her personal Facebook page in which she spoke out against Trump’s comments and opened up about her own experience with sexual assault. A friend commented on the post with the hashtag GrabHimByTheBallot, sparking the idea for the campaign in Schütz’s mind.

“I thought I would do a photo shoot with me and just a couple friends,” she said. “For me, this is expressing my vulnerability as a strength.”

After she posted her own photo on social media, Schütz said, the photo went viral.

“Women just started coming forward saying ‘I love this, this is resonating with me and I want to do it too,’” Schütz said. “I’m just so happily astounded that so many people came forward and said ‘This is how I also want to express myself.’”

Schütz photographed around 60 women who all posed nude before an American flag backdrop. Though the photo shoot was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Schütz worked until 8 p.m. to accommodate the abundance of women.

“I was amazed at how many people showed up,” she said. “I really didn’t know what to expect … I feel very humbled that women, many of whom I’ve never met, are trusting me to help them take part in this. I think that’s my favorite part.”

“It’s kind of hard not to show up for something like this,” said Linda Rollins, 60, of Shelburne. “I think we’ve all been affected by Trump’s comments.”

Rollins, like most of the participants, found out about the photo shoot on Facebook, and wanted to participate to “call attention to the absurdity that Trump has begun.”

“What he has been saying encourages a lot of people to think (sexual assault) is OK,” said Lynn Nichols, 60, of Gill. “Trump has brought out the worst aspects of humanity … That’s going to live for so long.”

Many of the participants themselves were victims of sexual assault, leading Trump’s comments to affect them on a more personal level.

“What he said was really, really hurtful,” said Kathleen O’Keefe, 34, of Springfield. Though not a victim of sexual assault herself, O’Keefe felt the photo shoot provided a way for women to unite in protest.

“I think about my nieces growing up, and they’re really young,” O’Keefe said. “This is not the culture we want to promote.”

The women agreed that sexual assault is a widespread issue for American women, no matter their physique or age. However, Chelsea Markham, 24, of Greenfield, said Trump “acts like it isn’t a problem” for women.

Markham and her friend Kelly Drew, 28, of Greenfield were thrilled to see a local movement in protest, and Markham thought the photo shoot was “an amazing thing to become a part of.”

“I’m not going to be intimidated by this kind of rhetoric being spewed by the Republican candidate for president of the United States,” Drew exclaimed.

Drew said she wanted to participate to show that women “can’t be policed with (their) bodies.”

“I hope to encourage others to not be afraid to express themselves and take a stand,” Markham added.

Though the women found Trump’s comments offensive, Amie Hyson, 51, of Greenfield, noted that his remarks brought further attention to the issue of sexual assault.

“It has to be in your face for people to go out and do something,” Hyson said. “Otherwise, we’re just going to sit complacently in front of the television.”

Schütz has individual #GrabHimByTheBallot photo shoots lined up through Nov. 5 and is even taking her campaign to New York City. Women interested in taking part in a photo shoot are invited to message Schütz through her business Facebook page, Anja Schütz Photography and Art.


https://www.facebook.com/anjashoots/

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