Visually inspired by the clenched fists held in the air during the Civil Rights Movement, and motivated by Brock Turner and Donald Trump, “Her Sign” is a feminist photo series capturing women’s hands sharing the positions they use to masturbate. Each portrait represents a personalized feminist sign of resistance.
"I like being a woman. I like how women can overanalyze and talk things to death. I like the energy between women. I don’t like being a girly girl, but I like that I can be. I grew up hating my body – feeling insecure and feeling like I wasn’t skinny enough, but now I like my body even on bad days. I know feeling good isn’t about my body, it’s about doing things that make me feel good and make me feel strong.” – Amy, Bartender from San Francisco, CA, via New York, NY, 2017
"I'm a Psychologist with an oxytocin fascination. Oxytocin is often referred to as the 'cuddle hormone.' Oxytocin levels increase when you hug or kiss someone, or when you eat chocolate, and women are known to have higher levels of oxytocin than men." – Gladiola, Psychologist, Oakland, CA, 2017
"When I hit puberty at 13, my family and I celebrated with the entire village as is the tradition in my hometown. I ate dessert for the whole week before and then got to wear my first sari to the party. 'Becoming a woman' was what they called it, and it was the most exciting thing that had happened to me. I wish we lived in a world that nurtures every girl or woman's joy and pride about their femininity." - Rathna, Oakland, CA via India, 2017
"It’s hard to find time for self care as a mom with two toddlers, and masturbation is self care no matter what anyone tries to tell you." - Brynna, San Francisco, CA, 2017
"I grew up in Chula Vista, CA. In 1988, I came out as lesbian to two friends in high school. I thought I was alone, and I moved to San Francisco so I could be surrounded by other lesbians, but it turned out they were actually all around me. Years later my sister came out as lesbian, and the two friends I came out to back in high school are also lesbian, and both of them have sisters who are lesbians! I was never alone, but it would have been good to know back then." – Laura, Radiographer from Sacramento, CA, 2017
“There’s no one way to be a woman.” – Donna Persona, 70-year-old Transfluid Performer from San Francisco, CA, 2017
"I really wanted to use Whitney Houston’s line, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all,” but I feel like I should say something more profound. It’s taken me a long time to realize two things: 1) perfection is boring and 2) self-hate is a waste of time. Instead of regretting all the stupid things I’ve done in my life, I now know that each mistake has sculpted me into the beautiful woman that I am today." – Sam, Oakland, CA, via Los Angeles, CA, 2017.
“I love being a mom. I’m inspired by my daughter. I appreciate that she is not afraid to try all the things she is interested in. She wanted to make clothes, so she learned to sew. She wanted to write, and she wrote a book. I hope she continues to believe in her worth and doesn’t ever lose that part of her.” –Holly, San Leandro, CA via Seattle, WA, 2017
“When I was three years old, I masturbated all the time. My mother was concerned and took me to my pediatrician who told her it was a sign of intelligence.” – Jamie, 35 from Oakland, CA, via New Orleans, LA, 2017.
"My hands are gnarled and wrinkled but they work just fine. I'm grateful to the women in my life that have taught me to love myself despite imperfections and unconventional desires. It is such a gift to fully and shamelessly enjoy one's own body." – Audrey, Nurse from San Francisco, CA, 2017
“And I use both hands.” – Natasha, Waitress from San Francisco, CA, with a quote by Ani DiFranco, 2017
“I grew up very sexually repressed and didn’t start masturbating until I was 19. In my home, sex was considered dirty, and it wasn’t something you talked about. My family taught me to be submissive, which later put me in a situation where I was raped by my best friend’s finánce. As a Mom, I want to raise my daughter in a sex positive environment, and for her to feel empowered. Masturbating is a way of controlling your own life and body.” – Suh-Jung, Korean American Artist, Writer, Filmmaker, Wife and Mom from San Francisco, CA, 2017.
“My heart may be gold, but my vagine is platinum!” – Kay-C quoting Corinne from The Bachelor, San Francisco, CA, 2017
"What I love about being a woman is the freedom to speak my mind, the freedom to choose who I want to be with and love – whether it's the opposite sex or same sex, and the ability to travel to other countries. And I feel especially fortunate because my parents gave me this opportunity when they immigrated to the States. What I don’t like about being a woman, is not feeling safe to travel alone in many parts of the world.” – Jen L., SF Bay Area, CA, 2017
Captain, Lesbian and proud dog mom of Louis the Chihuahua, Oakland, CA via Chicago, IL, 2017
“No necesito un hombre para sentir me bien.”
Translation: "I don't need a man to make me feel good." – Angie, 28 year-old Queer Latina, San Francisco, CA, 2017
“I am thankful for my woman body and all the amazing things it is capable of, even when it pains me, feels weak, and is a disadvantage. It is stronger than I’ll ever fully know and that inspires me.” – Aysia, 22, Photographer from Oakland, CA.
"I was always kind of a tomboy. In the mid 70’s, I was one of four female boat racers in the Northern California Powerboat Association. In the 90’s, when I moved to San Francisco, I hung out in bars and played darts. It was mostly men playing at the time. Sometimes men would come up and challenge me and try to win the board, but I was a good player, and then I would beat them!” – E.F., 70-year-old retiree, San Francisco, CA, 2017
If I could sum up the last twenty years of my life in one piece, it’s inside this series. It represents all of my life’s mess. This piece shares all the pushing and pulling, and trying so hard to force things to be a certain way, only to wake up one day and realize that my shoes fit fine. I wish I could go in to all the different layers of this piece, but you'd need to listen to my life story. What I can say is these images and collages were shot and created in the years just before and immediately after I came out as gay. It’s very much my personal coming out piece, yet it represents so much more.
A collaboration with the SFLGBT Center for their #hiretrans campaign.