I’m a Mother Fuckin’ Woman!

Preach Kesha, PREACH!!! My FRIENDS!! It is MARCH 1ST! Do you know what that means?

It is officially National Women’s History Month!!!!! YEEEAAAASSSSSS! This is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s also my month of birth, and the older I get the more proud I am that I get to share my birth month with the celebration of Women’s History.

All right – time for some real talk. The world is crazy right now. It’s crazy for everyone… for Immigrants, African-American’s, and women especially. Every time I turn on the TV (which I avoid a lot lately) I hear of another shooting, another injustice against people of color (and I’m talking just about all colors), or another political figure or movie star / musician / television star being accused of sexual misconduct. It is a CRAZY time… but it’s a time of change. It’s a time of #enough and more than ever, people are speaking out against these injustices and I think that is POWERFUL.

While I celebrate ALL who are speaking out; this month in particular, we celebrate Women…. So in case you haven’t already realized – this blog today is going to be about being, in the words of Kesha, “A mother fuckin’ woman!”

The younger version of me thought there was nothing left for women to fight for. I thought, naively, that things were even. I didn’t feel oppressed by men. I didn’t feel that life was unfair for women in any way because I wasn’t experiencing it. I was raised by parents who, let’s be honest, wanted me to be a doctor for goodness sake. I was raised in a family where ALL OF THE WOMEN are the bread winners. Literally ALL of them. How rare and cool is that?

When I got into wedding photography I assumed, like most of you might assume, that it would be a female dominated industry. I was VERY wrong. Even my industry is dominated by men… Is anyone shocked to hear that?

There’s a convention every year in Las Vegas called WPPI or Wedding & Portrait Photography International. Photographers from all over the world come to this convention. I’m always surprised at how many of the speakers are men. So this year I decided to count. 60% of the speakers at this convention for 2018 are men. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – but it sends me on a tailspin of “why?”

Most of my biggest wedding photography competitors in Orange County are men. Why is that? This thought forced me to dig pretty deep and ask myself some hard questions. Why do I feel so intimidated by male wedding photographers as competitors? Sometimes I look at their portfolios, and listen, I know I’m not the best out there; but I’m LIGHTYEARS beyond the worst out there. I look at some of these competitors and I see their prices DOUBLE mine, but their work and talent doesn’t. Some of them I can gladly admit, are far better than I am; but not all of them. Several of the male photographers I research are talented but it’s not like they shoot liquid gold out of their asses, so why can they charge double what I charge? Better yet, why can’t I charge that much? The answer is….

 

Me.

 

I am fortunate to be my own boss, which means I am the only person who dictates what I charge, what I am worth, and what I get paid. Which means I am the only one holding me back from charging what they charge. And where does that come from? It comes from confidence, or lack thereof. It’s my opinion that in general, many men exude a confidence that many women do not. I certainly do not exude the same confidence that a lot of my competitors exude and the only reason I can come up with is…

 

Fear.

 

Fear of what? I have a fear of not booking another client if my prices are too high. I have a fear of not being able to pay the bills because I’m not booking enough clients. I have a fear that I’m not strong or powerful enough to demand that pricing or that clientele. And do you want to know what doesn’t help?

 

Social media.

 

Literally every time I lose a follower on Instagram I feel sad. I feel sad when I don’t break 100 likes on a post. I feel sad when I can’t get my following over a certain number. I CANNOT FIGURE OUT what these people with 5k, 10k, 20k, 100k, 1M followers are doing that I’m not. I take the classes, I follow the rules, I learn the algorithm changes…. But I can’t win, and it beats down my ego. I’ve been told I should teach. I’ve been told I should speak…. But if I can’t get more than 50 likes on average on my Instagram posts, and can RARELY get people to actually engage and comment on my posts (other than my friends and fam – THANK YOU btw for engaging) who wants to hear from ME? I’m nobody.

How ridiculous is that!?!? I feel like a moron even typing it. Why does my business-self worth rely on what Instagrammers think? Well because that’s how the market is ruled right now. Everyone. Is. On. Instagram. I didn’t want to believe it but it’s true – couples are looking at your IG probably more than your website before they call you. And it is such a powerful tool that they have to constantly change up the algorithm to screw with us all because we figure out a trick that works to get attention and likes, and we get too many and it gets out of control – and they have to come up with some other rule to limit us.

Do you want to know what else doesn’t help?

 

Mean Girls.

 

There are a lot of mean girls in this world and I think that’s the saddest truth in all of it. We are in a time where women need to stand together, support other women, reach out a hand to another struggling female in your life and ENCOURAGE her. I don’t care if she’s your competition. No one gets to the top alone… and beating other people down along the way only makes you a crappy person and gives you bad karma. So be nice!! Kindness gets you everywhere. Now more than ever we need to build each other up and help each other succeed; not tear each other down. Hoe’s before bro’s, am I right? Haha JUST KIDDING! That’s probably one of the most sexist things I could say in a blog about empowering women. I’m the worst.

I have one more point to make and then I swear I will wrap up this (so far) three page blog post / rant. I feel that this is my most important point, so if you have read this far – hang in there with me…. Because I believe that THIS is how we need to begin to shape future generations.

 

Words.

 

Does anyone remember that incredibly powerful Always commercial about what it’s like to be a girl? If you haven’t, please get a tissue then open a new tab, go to youtube and type in, “Always girl commercial” and watch it. I’ll wait… go head. Even if you have seen it – go watch it again.

Moving isn’t it? Think, for a moment about how often you use phrases like this? I have been guilty of it myself. I grew up with two older sisters, two younger brothers, and was very often around one of my cousin sets of 4 boys. So it was often my sister Melissa and I against 6 boys playing basketball, video games, baseball, whatever it was that we were doing. I was constantly told that when I punched my cousin (which I did a lot) in the arm it didn’t hurt because I hit like a girl. And I KNOW they were not literally trying to destroy my self-esteem as a female. I KNOW they loved me and still love me dearly; we are all very close to this day. They weren’t the only people I heard those words from either. I have heard them from my own mouth.

“Whatever. You hit like a girl.”

“Don’t be such a p*ssy.”

“Don’t act like a b*tch.”

“Don’t be such a GIRL about it.”

Friends…. It has been engrained in us from the time we could speak that women are weak. Men do it to us, we do it to each other, and we do it to ourselves. And it all seems like harmless teasing doesn’t it? I don’t feel anger or resentment toward anyone for saying those things to me. Certainly in the moment I didn’t. I laughed it off. But now I realize that my FEAR…. My lack of confidence as a female entrepreneur, my struggle to find my place in my industry and make a name for myself… It’s all a product of society and the way we beat down women emotionally often without even realizing we do it.

So I have personally vowed to stop using those words or phrases no matter what. I don’t ever want my beautiful niece Adalynn to lose her spunk and zest for life. I watch that three-year-old little girl run around with her best friend Mason NEVER feeling for a second that she can’t do everything he does. I watch her kick a soccer ball with all her might, fall on her little booty and get right back up and keep going NEVER losing a shred of her confidence. And it tears me up inside to think that someday people will try to break her spirit. All we can do as her family, is try to foster such a strong sense of self-worth, that by the time people try to break her spirit, its titanium.

We all deserve to be PROUD to be women. We are strong, resilient, badass humans and we need to own it and TEACH it.

Ok. That’s all folks. I love you. Be kind. Thank you for reading and….

Happy National Women’s History Month!

02_26_18 Portraits BS-39

 

 

Portraits by Jennifer McNeil.

 

16 Comments on “I’m a Mother Fuckin’ Woman!

  1. I could write a point paper and answer most of your questions. But I need to print it out and take notes/make comments in the margins and then let you read it. Nothing bad or even slightly bad, just someone else’s different and older view of the world. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU! YOU ARE A BRILLIANT, SAVY FANTASTICALLY AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER AND AMBITIOUS BUSINESS WOMAN! GO SLAY THE WORLD!

    Like

    • Haha thanks Robin 🙂 I definitely realize there is nothing wrong with me… but when I dug deep about what makes me FEEL insecure and set back, I discovered that a lot of it comes from societies views as well as the words and phrases that got engrained into my subconscious my whole life… from EVERYONE… The subconscious is a powerful thing, and words are more powerful than most of us realize. Its encouraging to me that we are all, women and men alike, learning to change the way we think, speak, and teach future generations. ❤

      Like

  2. You are definitely a mother fuckin woman who deserves mother fuckin respect — just like every woman does. And yeah, this post is without doubt mother fuckin awesome 🙂

    Like

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