You won’t change a thing just by telling the world what a good person you are.
The war on the treatment of women in street photography continues. The more I read on social media the more I realise that most of what is being said has no bearing on the representation of women within the field. Rather, it is just an opportunity for other street photographers, often male, to jump on the bandwagon and get some high fives.
I have lost count of the number of times I have seen men post on social media something that looks like this.
“I am so angry at what I have just heard. A male street photographer said this about a female street photographer. I think it is just wrong because female street photographers are great’.
Honestly, what have we learnt from that? Pretty much nothing. Other than you are not prepared to be forthcoming with what happened, but are more than happy to let people know how much you disagree and that you are not part of the problem.
Well, you are part of the problem, very much so. Virtue signaling is problematic as it takes away from the opportunity to drive change, in order to make yourself look good.
How about you do name the person, or at least share what they said. That way, instead of the post being all about how great you are, filled with likes and pats on the back, we can have a healthy dialogue and try and make some change happen.
What it also does is create a divide. It implants into minds of the people that there is a huge issue, without anyone knowing any context of what has happened.
Then conversations like this happen.
A - There is a problem with how women are treated in street photography.
B - What is the problem exactly?
A - I have no idea, but it’s what I hear on social media.
Without fact-based evidence nothing will ever be fixed. But who really cares about that anyway? As long as the world knows how fantastic you are, all is well!
Stop making it about you
It is not just individuals, it is organisations also (not all). They cannot wait to tell you the percentage of women that are involved in the event or how proud they are to be ‘one of the few events giving a voice to women’. All it is doing is making talented female photographers a novelty piece rather than just allowing them to be involved on the back of their talent.
Do women need to be represented more? I honestly could not tell you - I would need statistics. I have been to some great events this year and seen a strong inclusion of female representatives. Granted, the word I am hearing is it is a big improvement over previous years.
That improvement will have come from the likes of womeninstreet who have rightly shouted loud and proud about all the amazing work being produced by female street photographers.
It won’t have come from, however, the countless numbers of men jumping on social media telling the world they love women and hate hearing a bad word being said about them.
If you want to see genuine change, don’t virtue signal for your own public benefit. Get out there and do something.
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