Where do I stand on women’s empowerment? Let me tell you one thing I know for sure.
A majority of the women who book a boudoir photo shoot with me aren’t doing the shoot for someone else. Sure, that’s usually a side reason. To give a few to their partner or surprise them with an album of images.
But the main reason most women do a shoot with me is to empower themselves. Whether it’s because they were in a toxic relationship and finally got out and realized that now the only person they need to take care of is themselves. Or the mom with the newborn who loves her baby and her family dearly, but for a moment forgot who she is. And that’s okay, there’s no shame in that. But she needs the opportunity to reconnect with herself.
Not too long ago a certain photography company I had followed was doing their yearly photography contest. I had submitted some images and was going through voting for my favorites. My son decided to sit down and help me and we went through the images together. He’s 14. Now and then a boudoir image that had been submitted would pop up. He asked me this question point blank. Is the purpose of boudoir photography to just be as sexual as possible?
I looked him straight in the eye and said no, that’s not the point at all. I explained to him that many women and people at all have been through a lot of heavy things in their lives. Maybe they ended a hurtful relationship. Maybe they had fought for years to meet a goal whether that be to better their health or run a marathon or decided that they needed to stop their negative self talk. I explained to him a story about a woman I photographed who had had the worst possible year of her life right before she turned 40. She didn’t want to look back on when she turned 40 and remember all of the horrible things that happened leading up to her birthday. She wanted to look back on the past year and remember who she was. To see that she was strong and brave and she came out the other side stronger and braver.
So what do “sexy photos” have to do with women’s empowerment? Pretty much everything because the reason we take “sexy photos” isn’t because we want to portray ourselves as sexual. It’s to show that we are proud of who we have become and we aren’t ashamed of who we are.
So when someone shames a woman for wearing a skirt that is too short. We need to normalize our bodies and not consider them a thing of shame.
When someone shames a woman for “leaked nudes” we need to normalize a woman’s body and not consider it a thing of shame.
When someone shames a woman for wearing leggings that hug her ass, we need to normalize women’s asses.
When a woman decides that she wants to change her body in a way that she deems appropriate we need to normalize plastic surgery.
We should not be in the game of shame. We should be in the game of support for one another. And that my friend is women’s empowerment. Empower one another, don’t shame one another. To each their own.