A Feminist Photographer's Thoughts
Postman, secretary, fireman, and stewardess are all fallen titles of occupations that we have renamed in our contemporary lingual culture in favor of more politically correct and gender neutral terms. Mail carrier, clerk, firefighter, and flight attendant are now the accepted terms for these occupations. As I count up my merit points for the year, I can’t help but think about what this changing language in our society means for one of the Professional Photographer's of Canada (PPOC)’s levels of membership; the Craftsman of Photographic Arts (CPA).
Maybe it is my sensitive, feminist, liberal, millennial brain that is conditioned to be offended at any whim of social injustice and which wants to stir the pot at every opportunity. The truth is, I am personally not offended. I strive to be a CPA at some point regardless of what it is called and will not be shy to tell others of this achievement once I attain it. I would, however be naïve to think that the reason a young, aspiring female photographer that I am trying to rein into eventually becoming a member of the PPOC at a tradeshow is raising her eye brow at something else when I say Craftsman of Photographic Arts while explaining the levels of membership.
Is society too politically correct? I don't think so but that is a topic for another day. What about the tradition within our organization? Should that be respected? The designation has been called the CPA for years so why change it? What would the PPOC change it to? Crafters of Photographic Arts? CraftsPERSON of photographic arts? Crafty Person of Photography Arts? All of those don’t quite roll off the tongue the same way the the current title does.
The PPOC requires the recruiting of new members to survive as an organization. This enthusiastic, sensitive, liberal, millennial generation are our future colleagues and members of the PPOC. Photography is well represented by men and women. Most other professions are consciously putting an effort into gender neutral language. It is becoming an expectation in our society. It may not be in the PPOC’s favor to fall behind the societal trend with language expectations.
I love being a part of this great organization and will continue to sing its praises to anyone who will listen. I have written a lengthy post about that. For some reason, I keep thinking about this quite often. I don't want the organization that I respect so much to be referred to as the "Old Boys' Club."
I also pride myself in being a person who backs up her complaints with possible solutions; but here I am without one. Just a thought to ponder. I don't know the answer, but I think it is something our organization will eventually take heat for.
On the topic of being a female in the industry, here is a great article written by a female photographer on some of the strengths and challenges.
Keywords: Feminist, PPOC, Professional Photographers of Canada, photographer
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