The shutter that shatters gender stereotypes

Posted on June 16, 2009.


Photo: Sudiptorana/WACC

The women paddling in this stunning photo are having fun and a good workout - while breaking cultural barriers. They are competing in a traditional race against men in their village in West Bengal, India, racing against the gender-based division of labour and leisure, paddling energetically into a male space.

The photo just won the sixth photography competition run by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).

This year’s theme is “portraying gender and challenging conventional understandings of femininity and masculinity.” More than 1,700 entries by 950 photographers were received on flickr.

Photo: jyotikajain/WACC

Photo: jyotikajain/WACC

In the first runner-up photo, two bejewelled young women ride a motorcycle during the Gudi Padva procession, or New Year’s Day, in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

The two winning photos portray confident women, dressed in colorful sarees, doing something very un-traditional in traditional events: cultural changes captured with the click of a shutter.

Other photos were more predictable: women in non-traditional jobs like gold mining, sand digging and mending tyres, toiling away equally as men.

Well, not that equally.

Worldwide, women earn less than men. The gender pay gap ranges from three per cent in Malta to 51 percent in Georgia, with a world average of 17 percent, and the gap is higher in the private sector, says Unifem. Worse, in March, the International Trade Union Confederation revised the gap upwards to 22 percent.

Chile has just approved a law guaranteeing equal pay for equal work. Meanwhile, the world’s largest corporation, Wal-Mart stores, faces the biggest civil rights class action lawsuit ever filed in the USA, for underpaying 1.5 million women workers since 1998.

Whether in mining or childcare, women work hard enough. It is nice to see them portrayed as protagonists at a  race and a procession.

So often well-meaning NGOs dig a well or bring solar stoves, all good things, to ease women’s burden so they can work (more) in an income-generating project. Where are the projects to give women free time to rest, exercise and have fun?

In the pool of non-selected photos I discovered a wide variety of meanings for changing gender roles. Lots of gays, lesbians, transvestites and transgenders. Plenty of women in that most male institution, the military. Many fathers and children, including Über Dad Barack Obama with his daughters.

Few entries portrayed men doing women’s work. Photographer Sean Hawkey, a founder of the competition, speculates that such images are less popular because they cast aspersions on the subject’s masculinity. What do you think? Send your comment.

Photo: Biljana Alampioska/WACC

Photo: B.Alampioska/WACC

My prize for Out of the Box photo goes to the androgynous doll heads by Biljana Alampioska.

The not so Out of the Box but accurate caption says: “Gender is socially created and can be overcome.”

To see more winners, click on the slide show.

  • Angela

    Thanks for sharing these - it’s always good to see progress!

  • Gender Masala, the New Gender Blog from IPS | IPS - Communicating MDG3 - Giving voice to gender equality

    [...] The shutter that shatters gender stereotypes

  • onlinedating

    There are many ways of who is zac efron dating chatting so you can know the truth about the person. When advertising yourself, one practical dating advice for you is to always emphasize your best qualities. Perhaps the free christian dating online best quality of a Boomer woman is that she is a woman of experience and capable of doing many things. The boomer woman is not fretful or jealous or impatient like their younger counterparts. Younger men even prefer to date older women because of these qualities. There is less emotional burden and issues unlike girls in their 20’s whose main concerns are shoes and nail colors. Mature women are intelligent and adult dating can talk widely of many topics.

    Never ever announce that you are a who is prince harry dating busy woman and obsessive about your job. Most men would not prefer to play second fiddle to a woman’s career and some can who is raven symone dating be intimidated by it. They want to be who is chelsea handler dating pampered by a woman. They would want to be more powerful than her when it comes to earning capacity. Men who usually go online are also too busy to go into the complications of blind dates and are more interested to listen to a woman’s opinion. And the last but not the least dating advice is - have fun and don’t forget to make the most out of your time…who knows, maybe your soul mate is just a click away.

  • xrumer

    XRumer is a Windows program that posts forum spam with the aim of boosting search engine rankings. It has been claimed that the program is able to bypass techniques commonly used by many websites to deter automated spam, such as account registration, CAPTCHAs, and e-mail activation before posting. The program makes heavy use of a database of known open proxies in an attempt to make it more difficult for administrators to block posts.

    In addition, the software can xrumer avoid the suspicions of forum administrators by first registering to make a post in the form of a question which mentions the spam product (”Where can I get…?”), before registering another account to post a spam link which mentions the product. Akismet for WordPress is showing the first post as SPAM. The side effect of these innocent-looking posts is that helpful forum visitors may search on a search engine (e.g. Google) for the product and themselves post a link to help out, thus bolstering the product’s Google stats without falling afoul of forum posting policies.

    According to The Register, the latest version of XRumer can defeat CAPTCHAs of Hotmail and GMail. This enables the software to create accounts with these free email services, which are used to register in forums that it posts to.] ]

    Most spam attacks on forums generally occur in waves, and the software will not spam at full speed initially. Thus, a good strategy for limiting the damage of such attacks is to target new members who have random series’ of alphanumeric characters for their usernames. The multiple instances of a spam bot will have obvious similarities in their email addresses (and will usually be random themselves), allowing members that match the profile of other spam bots to be banned before they even post. As mentioned - proxies are used, making IP bans ineffective, however it is possible to block the posting of threads containing certain text, or links to a certain site. Once a product or site has been spammed, it can be blocked, preventing the software from successfully uploading its payload.

  • basumah

    It has been a huge idea to read this lot from your educative network. So inspiring and good channel for knowledge acquisition. Women really deserve their right place in society, a major fundamental right that should be acknowledged as such.

  • http:// mercedes

    Glad you liked the post. Mercedes

  • Pharmb110

    Very nice site!