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No Big Deal

For the past 12 months, I’ve been photographing my daughter & her friends during bedroom hangouts & after school rendezvous. I’ve been capturing their childish wonders & teenage defiance while observing their conventional aesthetics; rows of rings, scabby nail vanish, TikTok selfies & love hearts.. so many love hearts. Love hearts scribbled onto hands, love heart matching rings, love hearts graffitied on community centre walls, & tiny love hearts tattooed onto each other’s ankles. 

The love heart conveys the desire for affection & romance, but this desire to be desired is complex & messy, & even more so for hormonal changing young adolescents. The girls might want attention, but they don’t want harassment. They may want to chat, but not misogynistic language. They want to be noticed, but not catcalled. They want a DM but not a dick pic. And they want a laugh, but not a rape joke.

In 2021, in response to the testimonies published on the Everyone’s Invited website, Ofsted was asked by the UK government to commission a rapid review of sexual abuse in school & colleges. It found that 81% of girls have experienced rumours about their sexual activity, 88% of girls had pictures or videos sent to them that they didn’t want to see, and 78% had been sexually assaulted. Reports from National Education Union revealed that sexual harassment is prevalent in schools & for many students it’s simply the norm.