Now I’d like to start out by saying that I am a feminist in the original sense of the word. The Oxford dictionary defines feminism as ‘The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.’ I am 100% in support of this, equality between men and women is of paramount importance to me and I believe women are capable of doing anything they set their minds too. However, I class International Women’s Day the way I class Valentines Day; an absolute load of cac! Why do we need a special day to celebrate women? Shouldn’t we be celebrating women’s achievements everyday and show support to the amazing women in our life? Social media is awash with people gushing about the women in their lives and although I have seen some truly inspirational posts the majority of posts are simply people jumping on the bandwagon with gimmicky posts which I personally believe does nothing for feminism, like a lot of modern, feminism it demeans the cause.
As a female landscape photographer I’m in the minority in my field, reports suggest that as little as 15% of professional photographers are women. I’ve seen so many people (of both sexes) up in arms about this but maybe it could simply be that more men want to be photographers than women? Or heaven forbidden the thought that men are taking better photos than their female counterparts! I can hear the gasps of Nazi feminists everywhere! In all seriousness I don’t believe that men are better photographers than women but I do believe there are simply more men interested in photography, particularly landscape photography, than women and that’s ok. I cannot comment on the industry as a whole but I have a pretty good insight into the ‘gender gap’ of photographers on Instagram. Yes, the majority of the big players in landscape photography and the outdoors in general are male on Instagram. Men totally outnumber women, no one can deny that but I do genuinely believe it’s because there are simply more men pursuing a career/ focusing their Instagram account on landscape photography and the outdoors. On the whole women dominate the beauty industry and the majority of young girls create Instagram accounts focusing on hair, beauty, clothes skincare etc, not photography and the outdoors. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s fantastic to see young girls creating incredible make up looks and I am so grateful to the women who research the science of skin care to share it with us all. Feminism is all about doing whatever you want to do and women creating success for themselves though their passion, whatever that passion may be is both inspiring and empowering.
Now there are of course still sexist morons out there who belittle women and believe there are the weaker sex. Last year I was out on my own taking photographs , I bumped into a group of men who told me I shouldn’t be out in the wilds on my own and that I should have a man to look after me. I was absolutely fuming, how dare they suggest that I needed someone to look after me simply because I was a woman when in the likelihood I could navigate and ascend the surrounding mountains a hell of a lot quicker than they could. But thankfully men like this are in the smallest of minorities in the western world. There are women who utter equally ridiculous and belittling statements. Sticking with landscape photography I’ve seen numerous women complain about not enough women in photography and get their knickers in a twist because there’s more men are hiredas photographic ambassadors, cameras are advertised my male models or social media has the audacity to have more gifs with men holding a camera than women! As I mentioned before more men a pursuing landscape photography careers on Instagram and why does it matter if more men are seen holding cameras? Are these women trying to say that this will prevent women getting into photography? If this is true I find this a total contradiction and implies women will only have the urge to pick up a camera if they see other women doing it, as a woman I find this totally insulting. All in all I actually find it quite beneficial to be in the minority of landscape photographer as it makes me stand out which can only be a good thing.
Many of you may disagree with what I’ve written and thats fine, I’d actually like to hear your thoughts. Do you think IWD is a gimmick or do you genuinely feel empowered today? Equality and women’s rights have come a long way since our grandmothers generation and if we compare Scotland to other places in the world women in the UK live in paradise. However there is still a long way to go in some areas. I truly believe it’s far more important to concentrate on real issues rather than having gimmicky days and getting in an uproar over fickle things like a larger amount of men in photography adverts.