Our portrait photography assignment was: How do you see yourself in this everchanging world? I might have to explain, but note how this is mostly about the Netherlands, I'm sure in other countries it's different.
A lot of things seem to get more acceptable these days. Homosexuals can get married, immigrants can live here for a long time and have a normal job, we see a lot of different cultures/religions/habits and we've adjusted in way that these can all live together. But if you look at the genderroles in our society, it's all very separated.
A few years ago (20/30), my mum and her peers were fighting for equal rights for men and women, they got women to work, have abortions, get a divorce, etc. A logical step after their mothers/grandmothers got women to vote and go to school. For years, things have been getting better for women. So now that we have most of the important political rights, I'd assume the mindset would start to change and we'd be getting into an almost andorgynous world, but the opposite seems to be true.
We are all put in boxes. "You're a man", "you're a woman" and if you are a slightly masculine woman, you're transfered to the box of "lesbian" and if you're a slightly feminine man, you're transfered to "gay". It is almost impossible for a woman to be a woman but not to do all the 'womanstuff'. And the same goes for men. It's rather depressing the amount of time I've heard people say that she is not a real women because she can't walk on heels and she likes to play soccer and watch horror movies, or he is not a real men because he likes to cuddle and he wears tight t-shirts and he doesn't burp all the time.
This is especially very noticable in the media I think. They have special 'womendesert', 'chocolate, just for us women' and also 'menburger', 'shampoo just for men'. Etc. Cars are made for men, cleaning products are (sadly) still made for women. And I can go on for a little while, but if I were you I'd just watch some Target Women videos on youtube because they illustrate what I mean and they're hilariously funny.
So now to the picture. With the pink toys and the pink background I wanted to illustrate that I, as a woman, feel like I've been pushed into a female box, and yes of course I can play with 'boys toys' like guns and cars and dinosaurs, but only when they're designed for girls (pink). And by using a 'strange' perspective and giving it an almost plastic feel, I'd like to show the strangeness of the situation that we're in.
I was talking about this with a friend of my mother and he told me that hoping for an 'androgynous world' is useless because it's only going to get worse. He said all the feminists stopped caring and everyone is too busy with their own personal improvement, that they won't bother to fight for such a thing anymore.
I don't think he's right though. For example I can see a lot of things changing already in fashion, which is in a way a great way to view a society. In Amsterdam I knew a few boys who'd always wear skirts and high heels and there were girls who would dress up as boys and it didn't matter much for the people who were in that same little world, but I guess the rest of the world still didn't feel comfortable with it. But really, what does it matter? After all a skirt is just one seam away from trousers, so why are we making such a problem about it? Maybe a skirt is still too 'extreme' though. You can already see some things changing in mainstream fashion. Men's clothing has become a lot more feminime with little scarfs, pink shirts, woolen cuddly cardigans (this sounds not as it looks in my head) etc. And for woman there are tons of shorts, big tshirts and manly shoes.
Then another example is that on the internet I definitely see a feministic movement. They're not trying to get political rights, but they're demanding/asking a different mindset. And it's working. For me it is at least and for a lot of friends of mine. And I hope, and believe, that this will only get bigger and that it will make a change. Maybe not now, but eventually it will. We should get out this lazy role we've taken where we're just accepting everything the media tells us. We'll have to start thinking for ourselves again and then we'll hopefully see that a lot more is possible for women than just the female stuff and a lot more is possible for men than just he male stuff. Look at the icelandic men. They're knitting! Very manly knitting.
This was a long text and thank you for reading it if you did. Feel free to comment with your opinions on this, because I'd love to hear it :) You can also send me an email if you like to bobby[dot]dekker[at]gmail[dot]com