Tuesday, 25 April 2017

I Work In A Sexist Industry

I've been thinking a lot about this post lately. I wasn't going to write it because seriously, what's new? Sexism is everywhere. It's a predominant feature in so many industries, I'm not saying we haven't come a long way with sexism because oh boy we have but it's something I've experienced a lot over the past few months.

I'm a photographer. I mainly shoot bands but I dabble into a bit of sport here and there. I guess, yeah they're not the typical girly types of photography but then what would you class as a 'girly' type of photography? Fashion? I don't think so, the majority of my favourite fashion photographers are male. The majority of my favourite photographers in the industry are male full stop. I'm not saying there is a lack of female photographers because there's not, they're everywhere and they're incredibly talented. 

I work with so many great bands, venues and promotors on a weekly basis so I'm not going to disclose venues/bands/promoters in this post because I'm not here to attack people, I'm just here to talk about a taboo subject that really isn't talked about enough. We're in 2017 guys, why is sexism still a thing. A while ago, I went to shoot a gig, like I do most weeks, it's my job, I'm used to it. The majority of the time there's a pretty even split of male and female photographers in a photo pit and more often than not it will be more males than females, this never bothers me. For this particular show I was the only female, I thought nothing of it at all, no matter who I'm shooting alongside, I'll always respect people's space and just have general photographer etiquette. Unfortunately this is not what the others in the pit thought, I was physically pushed out of the way multiple times when I'd just jumped into a spot for 5 seconds to get a shot, I wasn't in anyone's way, I wasn't ruining a shot and as I said I would've been there for 5 seconds and moved again. This meant someone went out of their way to try and ruin my evening/shots/potential client work. I was disheartened to say the least.

I questioned the photographer after the band played to get the response that I was 'just a girl' and 'my shots didn't matter because I was female so couldn't be shooting for anyone respectable'. I was disgusted by what I had heard and spent the rest of the night trying to avoid contact with anyone in the pit and left as soon as I'd got my shots. I love going to gigs, I am a music person, I never ever leave gigs early. Why did someone think it was ok to treat me differently because of my gender? Luckily I went home and my shots were good enough to send back to the client but what if I'd got home and they weren't? How could someone who knows how hard it is in the photography industry, try and ruin someone else's work just because we don't have the same body parts? 

I recently toured with a band. An all male band. To me, this was completely normal. To others, not so much. I had various people make comments about it, claiming that I must be sleeping with one of the band to land a tour with them. Why can't people just accept the fact that there are talented female creatives that people want to work with for other reasons than the fact that they've got boobs and a vagina? 

I've just started shooting sport, especially football. It's a hobby of mine as I'm an avid football fan. It's photography that I do for fun to take myself away from my work. I turned up to a match a couple of days ago for a steward to refuse me pitch side access, even though I was wearing a high vis that specifically said photographer on the back of it. His words were 'you can't possibly be a photographer'. I'm sure you can imagine how shocked I was stood there, camera in hand, as all the other photographers made there way pitch side. All male, may I add. Like I'd really turn up and make my own high vis photographer vest to try and get access to a local town game. Luckily this was all solved quickly by the media team and was put down to a 'misunderstanding in communication'. Major eye roll.

Who gets to decide what a photographer looks like? Who makes the call on what a typical 'female' style of photography is? We are all different as creatives. I like bands and football. Some girls like fashion and landscapes. Who cares? At the end of the day we're all creatives who absolutely adore what we're capturing so why should gender come in to it? 

I'm not the first one to experience this in the music industry and I'm sure I won't be the last. Creeper's Hannah Greenwood experienced sexism last year whilst on tour and wrote a post about it which you can read here

Also Alice Hadden, a brilliant female music photographer that I follow closely and founder of VINLYNOISEBLOG, wrote about her experience;

"Personally, I've definitely had my fair share of dealing with sexism in this industry. Whether it's being referred to as a groupie whilst on tour/at a gig; having to prove myself as a good photographer purely because of my gender or simply being patronised because I'm a young female aspiring to do this job that some people don't see my gender pursuing.
Most recently, I was at a Circa Waves show at the Barrowlands, Glasgow in March and despite it being an incredible show, this was the first time I was on the end of sexist remarks. The comments made were about the fact that I was the only female photographer in a team of around six photographers - something I never pay much attention to - and the jokes were about my "lack of talent" as a photographer because I was "competing" with all males. Whilst I didn't take this to heart (because I don't believe my gender should ever come between a job), I feel this issue needs to be spoken about on a greater scale because had this been a couple years ago when I was sixteen and just starting out, I don't know if I would've continued."

Female photographers are absolutely killing it in every single aspect of the industry and I'm so proud of every single female that works in a sexist industry. You're absolutely smashing it, continue to do you babes. Fuck everyone else. We will fight the stigma. 

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