So what do you do?
I study photography, sociology and English literature, but photography is my favourite subject. [In my photography], I mainly focus on girls and their sexuality and kind of exploring the misconceptions of teenage girls. There's never really any representation on power. So I choose to show like, femininity, the power of the female mind and how we're just all strong individuals. That is what should be shown through the media instead of women's emotions being shunned upon.
How do you feel about the stigma attached towards Asian girls and their sexuality?
Well, I feel like people always find it really awkward when they first meet me and I'm so open about my sexuality because it's very stereotypical for an Indian girl to be quiet and really innocent, and I think that comes across through the way that we're seen as a group. For me, I've always been really open about my sexuality and my sex life, and I think people kind of find it really weird. I don't see the problem, I don't see why the colour of my skin and the background that I'm from should affect how I am as a person. Especially living in this day and age, I feel like a lot of the time if I'm with other Asian girls, we do find it a lot harder to be open about our sex lives because of the way our families have taught us to be respectful, and people don't see being open about their sexuality as respectful in our culture. But I feel like as more and more Asian girls become more open and express themselves in many other ways, we are coming around that stigma and kind of getting over it. I feel like any woman should be able to talk about their sexuality, they shouldn't be ashamed. Like no, we just like to enjoy sex just like men like to enjoy sex - and they're not labelled as whores or sluts; more than often they're praised, and I don't see why there's a double standard.
You've mentioned photography, but is there anything else in the arts, or maybe not even the arts, just anything else that you're interested in?
I'm really interested in politics. I love music and fashion, but with politics you get to see a lot of different aspects of the world around you and it just opens your eyes into what's going on. It depends on what politics you're into, like I guess you could call me 'against the system' in a sense, like I really don't like the police, I'm kinda anti-government. I mean, a lot of aspects of our government aren't too bad, but there are still parts of it that, as a person of colour, I am still scared of. Like the whole Brexit thing and this underlying racism in our country really scares me.
How have your experiences, with boys/relationships for example, influenced/shaped the way you see yourself?
I think with me, my first couple of experiences with guys - they were just fuckboys. But it kind of helped me as a person to kind of realise my worth. A lot of boys nowadays, they don't take things seriously. I used to have this image that when I was sixteen I'd find a guy who was really lovely and everything would be fine, [laughs] like you know when you watch those programmes on CBBC and the girl finds the boy and it's all really cute, things don't turn out like that. You'll find someone you get along with but people change. It's made me realise that you can be in so many toxic relationships without knowing, and that if I don't feel happy in a relationship I shouldn't stay in it. Being in relationships has also made me realise that I'm not ready for a long-term one. I'm more happy being with someone without the 'relationship' label attached to it. Although there are loads of stigmas of that whole "friends with benefits" thing today, I still feel more comfortable with it. So I guess you could say my experiences have shaped me in a good way.
How would you put these experiences and feelings into your artistic work?
If I was to do that, I would portray like I said, the powerfulness of the female mind because it takes a lot to know you're in a certain situation and leave it. It takes a lot, at any age.
What about something inclusive, would you try and change the way people view Asian girls and their sexuality?
Yeah I try to. I try to show that we aren't always quiet and unknowing about sex. Asian girls are seen as prudes a lot of the time.
- Yeah, they're either that or they're hypersexualised. -
Yeah it's actually true. I feel like I'd try and show that we aren't just sex-symbols, like Chinese or Japanese girls are always seen as really cute and overly sexualised. I'd try and subvert that and show us as like, knowing our sexuality and knowing what we want and showing the power through that.
hope you enjoyed this! ~peace out~ Zoe xo
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