Are You Your Own Wonder Woman?
Friday is International Woman’s Day.
A day we can celebrate all the achievements of the women before us, ourselves and the future achievements of the women who follow us.
In honour of this I started to write a piece about feminism and what it means today, but then someone asked a really good question in one of my photography groups: “are [we] empowering women when we photograph them as glamour girls, etc. In a feministic sense, does that really emancipate them?”
I suppose the real question is: if [we] photograph women in a way that society dictates is the definition of beauty, are we undoing all the work of the women that came before us? Are we simply playing into societies roles that are predetermined by our patriarchal society?
Are we fracturing all the good work that those before us did on the road to equality - are we fracturing our communal sense of empowerment, are we destroying Wonder Woman?
This is a very important question to ask, and I guess my response would be - who is the photograph for?
I find that the women who come to be photographed with me are doing it for themselves. Not for their husband or boyfriend (although giving the image may be the intent in the end), but for themselves.
“A Portrait is not just a pretty picture or yourself.
It is about awakening self-esteem, confidence and self worth.”
~ Alice Prenat
Yes, I offer a service of hair and makeup - but the majority of women choose a very “natural look” makeup. As for the hair - it is often just styled so as not to be fuzzy, or however the woman normally likes it to be. Some want the works - a lovely smokey eye and a thick set of false eyelashes. It is all under the control of the client. And then, how she chooses to be photographed, in what clothes - in a casual outfit, her favourite shirt, pants only, dresses only, full glamour like she is going to the Oscars, in yoga gear - is entirely up to the client. If, per chance, someone wants a portrait of themselves so that they can look at it with love, then isn’t it entirely up to them what they wear and how glamorous they want to look.
Myself - I love to get dressed up to the nines, and quite frankly the chance doesn’t present itself that often in our very casual society - I love getting my hair done, putting on some makeup that makes me feel beautiful (whether someone else likes it or not doesn’t matter to me), and walking around in an amazing pair of shoes and dress that makes me feel sexy and invincible gives me confidence.
So, if I can offer this to someone else - even if it is only about the experience of feeling gorgeous and pampered for a day (something we really don’t indulge in often enough), and if a woman leaves my studio feeling like a million dollars and a smile on her face - well then, that is empowering!
And if said woman wants to take her portrait, enlarge it and showcase it on her wall, so that everyday she is reminded that she is beautiful, she is amazing, she is confident - well then, that is empowering!
So the answer to the Facebook post is “YES!”
Anything that helps us to reveal our own Wonder Woman to ourselves is empowering.
It is not for everyone, and that is fine, just don’t discount the power of an amazing portrait of yourself!
Happy International Women’s Day - celebrate YOUR Wonder Woman!
To subscribe to receive future blog posts right to your inbox press here.