Know Your Worth
It's been a while since I've felt one of these sorts of posts coming on. Our move last year changed so much of our daily life, that it's taken me a while to adjust and have enough leftover to give here. If you are a woman and reading this, you likely know exactly what I mean. We give and give and give, and we can't do it all. Balance is a myth, and really it's about picking and choosing the things that matter to us the most.
Because we can't have it all. We can't do it all. And the myth that we can is damaging us all.
And I think it's also damaging our sense of worth.
I've long struggled with why, as a female photographer, I feel LESS. And why I continually think of myself as a female photographer, rather than just a photographer. I feel like I have to justify how I spend my time, and what I charge, not because I question my own worth, but because I assume that those around me question my worth.
How even after all this time and some definitive success, I still feel the need to validate what I do.
Society tells woman that we are worth less. Be that a significant pay gap, or a rapist who is let free with a laughable amount of time served, we are told constantly that our feelings, our emotions, our contribution to society is worth less than a man's. And that is an incredibly hard narrative to rise against and push back on.
I've had people tell me that "it's just a picture." I've had people assume my time is less valuable than theirs. I've had older men chastise me when my husband isn't with me, in a way I know that they wouldn't dare if he was there. I've been told more times than I can count, in more ways than I can count, that I'm not good enough. And it's not just men - it's women, too, who belittle other women, and really, it's a society thing.
And maybe I'm sensitive to it. I'll own that. Because I know what my life experiences have taught me, and I am raising two young daughters. I am acutely aware of the messages we are sending to women and girls: that they have to act a certain way, or be a certain way, and that their worth is tied up in that.
And despite all of that, I think I'm one of the lucky ones. I've been shielded from most of that in my life. I have had many doors opened to me. It's not often I'm made to feel less than, but it does happen. And when it does - it's like a punch to the gut. I'm confident in my worth, and I try to carry that with me every day. These days it's more about being a good role model for my girls, but it's there.
So the next time someone makes you feel like you aren't worth "insert thing here" - know that you ARE. Or the next time someone makes you feel like you're "just" a female photographer, or worse - a "mom with a camera" - well, I know better. WE know better.
You are worth just as much as anyone else. Your time is worth it. Your knowledge is worth it. Your heart is worth it.
It's not just a picture.
It's not just a hobby.
It's not just a little side business.
It's how you choose to spend your time, and it's worth everything. Don't let someone else assign value to what you do. Make that decision yourself. You have to know your own worth before you can ever expect someone else to.