• "Unplanned Parenthood" by Dutch artist Jet Nijkamp depicts US President Donald Trump in a dress. (Jet Nijkamp)
It's Trump as you've never seen him before.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

19 Sep 2017 - 1:57 PM  UPDATED 20 Sep 2017 - 8:00 AM

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump reportedly told the female staff of his administration that they need to always "dress like women" when at work.

The directive caused controversy and outrage among many, but it proved inspiration for Dutch artist Jet Nijkamp, who channeled her anger into an artistic response.

"Dress Like A Woman" is a series of artworks in which dresses and other feminine outfits have been drawn in pastels onto newspaper photos of Trump.

"My work is a comment on the sexist behaviour of Trump and his administration," Nijkamp tells SBS.

"Could he imagine himself as a woman of his age and his figure? And could he also imagine how he would deal with a woman as himself? Could he be that empathetic?"

"Maybe naively I didn’t expect the fight for equality of the sexes and against misogyny is still necessary in the 21st century, and that the position of women even could get worse. 

"I was above all curious how he would look like dressed like a woman of his age and with his figure - just a change of roles. And I did ask myself how Trump would deal [with] himself as a woman, not being the model-like woman he likes to see. Would he ignore himself as a woman like he does with women who don’t look like models?"

The 'Dress Like A Woman' project started when Nijkamp drew a headscarf on Trump as a critical response to his immigration ban

Once she moved on to drawing dresses on him, Nijkamp says she would take inspiration from headlines or what's happening in the photo. 

"The headline (translated from Dutch) ‘Just let him writhe…’ inspired me to give him a swimsuit," Nijkamp explains.

"Sometimes it’s the drama on the photo that inspires," she says.

"Macron’s hand on the back of Trump needed an open dress at Trump's back so Macron could give him a small massage on his bare skin - hence my title for the drawing, letting Macron whisper: ‘Zis feels ok?’."

 

"Trump likes women with the model looks of his wife and his daughter," Nijkamp says.

"So on several photos I gave him the dresses of his wife and his daughter. It works out differently on him."

Nijkamp says most of the feedback she's received has been positive, from people who think it's hilarious, but she has no idea what Trump himself would make of the artworks.

"I imagine he won’t like them, but I doubt he would understand why I made them," she says.

"Could he imagine himself as a woman of his age and his figure? And could he also imagine how he would deal with a woman as himself? Could he be that empathetic?"

Nijkamp's first series of the pastels were part of Nasty Woman Exhibition Amsterdam, where she was one of almost 200 artists to submit work to the show.

Revenues from the exhibition were contributed to a variety of women's charities, including the She Decides fund, which was established by Dutch cabinet minister Lilianne Ploumen to fill the gap left when Trump cut support for planned parenthood organisations. 

"By selling my Trump-pastels I made Trump contribute to these organisations in spite of his ban on public support for them," Nijkamp wrote in a piece for Bored Panda.

Other pastels in the series have been sold at the fundraising Nasty Women Exhibition Mexico, and more of Nijkamp's work will be included in the Nasty Women Exhibition London, which runs 21 September to 1 October.

While Nijkamp says she enjoys making the drawings and "seeing the woman emerging", her message is a serious one.

"Trump's misogyny doesn’t [affect] just the situation for women in the US. It may encourage misogynist attitudes in other parts of the world."

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