What does is it mean to be a woman nowadays? There are more and more young women (and indeed men) who explicitly claim to be feminists. At school I learned about the women’s rights movement in history class and what I most specifically remember is that I couldn’t really identify myself with it. At least it just didn't feel appositely present-day. I got the impression that traditional feminism was very compelling. It seemed that you had to organize your life in a certain way, that you were only valuable if you fully contributed economically and that you weren’t allowed to like men. But now, years later, I realize that is not what feminism is about. I think the definition is subject to change and growth. These courageous women behind the movement fought very hard for us to live the life we’re in now. Girls' education, birth control, abortion, the right to vote, among other things that wouldn’t have been achieved without their empowerment. All because these amazing women stood up.
But it is perceptible that it is time for a new kind of feminist. Feminism that focuses on conceptualization of both men and women. About true equality and not just focused on labor and the division of responsibilities and sexual liberation.
To me, this means self-responsibility of our bodies, our minds and our actions. It means owning our power as women, returning to our true nature as women and bringing back the feminine essence that somehow got lost in our culture. But here is where it gets tricky.. I don't want women begging to join the patriarchy.. Patriarchal values run so deep that in many cases, self-proclaimed feminists don’t realize that they are not trying to take down the patriarchy, they are working to perpetuate it. I don't want to be a contributor in a toxic system, I want us women to unite and create a whole new system based on feminine values.
That is why I question the use of the term equality sometimes. Men and women are so beautifully different! We're complimentary, but not the same.
"What is she talking about?" I hear some people say. There are women who claim to experience no disadvantages of being female in our current society, but in conversation with them that doesn't seem to be entirely correct.
Simone the Beauvoir, one of the first feminists, speaks of a so called 'superwoman'. This superwoman wants to do everything perfectly, as if in a competition. Many women recognize this feeling of competing and often compare themselves with others. These high demands that women impose on themselves and others are very compelling and stressful. It seems that you must be able to combine everything; a happy family, a perfect job and staying healthy and fit at the same time. These women not only do their utmost best to feed a toxic system, they also attack other women who choose to live differently.
But realizing we have come from an extremely patriarchal past, this isn’t very strange however. We seem to be a bit lost in it all and we're desperately trying to live our lives at its fullest potential. Looking back in history, we see that women have been robbed from their feminine nature, driven back and exploited for many years.
But it is about time we liberate the feminine. Time for us women to take up space and for society to rise to true equality.
“The idea that we no longer need feminism is absurd – it’s the equivalent of technology stopping at the floppy disc.” -Anastasia Basil
Now I believe that I can make a difference and contribute to that entirely new system based on female values with YOUR help, albeit a beginning.
Through this photo project 'Women Bare' that I started about a year ago and on which I still work with a lot of passion, focusing on women's empowerment by women, I want to celebrate how beautiful it is to be a woman. No matter how different we may look and in which stage of life we may be. In short, with this photo project I try to break through the standard template of beauty that one has and I would love to unite women.
I do that by capturing the strength of women on image. Women of different ages, sizes, shapes, colours and backgrounds. Really ALL kinds of women! So yes, if possible, also transsexual women.
An aspect I find fascinating, strong and even inspiring is the transition that pregnant women and mothers with young children go through. Many women get great respect for their own body at this point in their lives and start realizing that outward appearances are nothing in comparison to the life they're creating. But I definitely hope that I may as well capture the other phases women are going through.
In this photo series (of 5-10 photos) you are completely naked, hence the name 'Women Bare'. By capturing women in such a pure and also vulnerable form, I want to give weight to the statement that we all have the right to be here. Children can also be present when making the photos, but you as a woman remain the subject!
Every photo session has been unique so far, depending on who's in front of my lens. I encourage women to feel free to experiment with different settings. For the shoot I come to your home (or any other desired location) and we’ll be spending time connecting and talking about our lives and less time posing and smiling for the camera. I'm inspired by movement and real emotions.
The editing of the photos is my responsibility (think about adjusting brightness/contrasts etc.). I understand women come to me with a lot of trust and vulnerability and I feel it’s my responsibility to capture their story honestly. That's why I want to take into account certain wishes (such as not fully displaying certain parts of the body, or posting photos on my website under a different name because of findability), but I will in no circumstance polish away any stretch marks, varicose veins, dents, spots etc. in the editing of the photos. More than anything I want to try to capture what’s real, so I edit only in Lightroom to artistically process the images and I always shoot in natural light, no flash.
Seen from the project, we will be posting photos of the shoot on my website www.warmcuppatea.com along with a few words from you where you share your personal thoughts about your image of a strong woman. So that we can inspire others to grow, to unite and to celebrate their bodies.
By participating in the photo project 'Women Bare' and the permission to use your photos and words for the website I'll keep a lower rate for the making of the shoot. The photos are of course also for personal use and you will receive them digitally in high resolution.
If you are however interested in this kind of bare photo shoot, but for some reason prefer not to share the photos on the website, that is definitely also an option. This means you’ll pay the normal rate for a pregnancy/portrait session.
For more information, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's take this road to self-love seriously and show others that there is no such thing as a standard template for beauty!
Are you the strong woman I am looking for? Are you interested in being photographed and feeling the urge to make a difference, to grow, to unite, to celebrate your body? Please send an e-mail full of passion to email@example.com or fill in my contact form.
"It was through their voices that I came to discover my own." -Anita Diamant
"Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture." -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie