To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re featuring items from the PWP Archives* each day on this blog. In looking back, we see not only where we started, but how far photography, women, and the world have come since 1975.
Education has always been an important part of PWP. Early classes focused on tech topics like lighting and strobe, but also sought to boost women’s confidence. Coming into the field, they not only had to deal with the overt hostility of male photographers, but the more subtle discrimination that happened at places like camera stores where they were, and often still are, talked down to. This early PWP newsletter recaps a presentation on “assertive skills” by Francine Berger:
The article continues with:“Six steps toward achieving assertive skills: (1) Change…don’t fight it. Stop, look, and even if the change is scary, try to get in on it. (2) Choices…see your life as a series of choices. Even if someones (sic) says, ‘You have two choices,’ there may really be 3,4, even 5. (3) Control…that is, control the only thing you can control, yourself. (4) Power…look for areas in which you feel powerful. Say to yourself, ‘I will feel powerfel (sic)–positive and productive. (5) Risk-taking…know people who can help you take risks. Francine pointed out that PWP is just such an enabler. (6) Rights…give yourself the rights you want and need to achieve your goals: the right to be–treated with respect, to say no, to make a mistake, to function in the face of ill-will, to be paid what you’re worth, to change your mind, to your feelings.”
“The right to be treated with respect, to say no…to function in the face of ill-will, to be paid what you’re worth….” The lecture took place almost 40 years ago, but the underlying issues seem an awful lot like the ones we’re dealing with today.
– Catherine Kirkpatrick
*The PWP Archives were acquired by the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library of Emory University
Links to all the 30 For 30 Women’s History Month blogs: