“Underneath It All” derails the traditional roles of gender and outdated conventions of identity reliant upon biological sexuality. The collection highlights the relationship between gender identity and underwear while demonstrating that gender can be misconstrued by appearance. These pictures reveal that there is more to undergarments than Victoria’s Secret and Hanes – that in fact, underwear can be used to showcase gender as a spectrum by featuring people who identify outside the heterosexual male-female binary. I want to pose a realistic and empowering alternative to the troubling elements of heteronormativity, hypersexuality, and body shaming in popular media’s representations of undergarments.
I created an environmental portrait style setting to form an intimate space between the model and the viewer. I intentionally asked the models to have bare skin in their portraits to showcase their vulnerability. This photo collection thus gives us a window into personal identification through clothing. These are the peers of my genderation, and the aim of this collection is to demonstrate the complexities of gender and identity to those who believe in concrete labels of “woman” and “man” exclusively.
I’m tired of sexy underwear being exclusively for cis-gendered white men and women. There is a greater depth to underwear identity than what Fruit of the Loom advertisements portray. The spectrum is vast and complex. I want to show that binding tops, red thongs, and boxer briefs are not reserved to one gender. Ultimately, I took these portraits to create a safe space for those who do not identify with this status quo and to showcase these identities through the powerful silence of a still image.