Young people don’t like voting — but they do like nudes. Or at least, that’s the premise behind Tramps Against Trump (NSFW), which started during the primary season as a way to get people more involved in the election. The premise was simple: Send evidence of the fact that you voted — either a selfie with your “I Voted” sticker, absentee ballot, voter receipt, or early voter sticker — and they’d send you back a nude picture. The campaign quickly went viral and Allyee Whaley and her co-collaborator Marianne Derson — who previously went by the pseudonyms Jessica Rabbit and Samantha Jones, respectively, and have chosen to reveal their true names for the first time to Bustle — realized they were on to something.
“During the primaries, we had a lot of people from all different political parties submitting,” Whaley tells Bustle. “We were laughing at their email sign-offs because we just had people from all walks of life engaging with the playfulness of what we were doing. We even had pastors submit to us for nudes!”
But today, months later and in the final days of what has felt like the longest presidential election season ever (even if it’s not: that title goes to the eight-year campaign that led up to the election of 1824), even the tramps of Tramps Against Trump are exhausted.
“The most consistent feedback I get from young people is a feeling of powerlessness. So how can we evoke a feeling of power?”
“In the beginning, we were really excited — when Bernie was still in the race,” Whaley says. “And now it’s just such a draining election. We’re all like, ‘Can this be over now?’”
While the election will, thankfully, be over soon, Tramps Against Trump will not be shutting down after the final ballot is counted. Regardless of who becomes our next president, the Tramps Against Trumps project will be folded under the umbrella organization Votes4Nudes. Whaley tells Bustle that the non-partisan organization will focus on ways to increase voter engagement, particularly amongst young people.
“The most consistent feedback I get from young people is a feeling of powerlessness,” Whaley says. “So how can we evoke a feeling of power?”
It’s work they’ve already started, with events across the country focusing on increasing voter registration, talking to folks about where they vote, how to vote, and ways to vote strategically. Through that process, Whaley has seen an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the entire electoral process. She hopes that they can help redirect that feeling of exhaustion and powerlessness toward an empowerment that will get young people who involved in politics at a local level.
“Trump and [Clinton] are so exhausting,” Whaley says. “I think it’s important for us to expand the conversation beyond that. Like, OK, I never want this to happen again, so now I’m running for City Council. Or maybe I can’t because I’m way too radical for politics, but I know some young people in my neighborhood who are leaders and who are powerful — let me talk to them about running for local office. Then we’re infiltrating the system.”
In addition to getting young people involved with politics at the local, grassroots level, Whaley is also concerned about how Trump’s rhetoric could potentially affect the public sphere, particularly his comments about and actions toward women.
“I’ve seen young men say online that women shouldn’t even be able to vote,” Whaley says. “I mean, what year is this? For me it’s less about whether or not Trump is elected at this point and more about how his words and actions are affecting the world and affecting our culture and how we treat and talk about women, especially with regards to rape and sexual assault and male entitlement to our bodies and our minds. It’s pretty incredible justification for a lot of bigotry and ignorance and hate. Our work is really cut out for us to continue these conversations, even after the election.”
In the meantime, you can still submit for a Tramps Against Trump nude at email@example.com, on Twitter, or via Snapchat (@trampsxtrump) as we round out this presidential election season. Whaley asks that you don’t try to fool them with Google Images — they’re media savvy enough not to fall for it — and that you have a bit of patience, as they’ve been inundated with requests as more and more people are sending in their absentee ballots or headed to early voting. Any submission that meets their requirements, she assures, will get a nude in return.
As for her plans for the post-election season? She’s considering running for local office herself.
“I think that everyone has to be pushed so far that we have to do something different,” Whaley says.
Amen, sister. Amen.
Images: Tramps Against Trump; Allyee Whaley (4)