Does this tag look familiar? I use the #Womenintoyphotography tag on all my Instagram photos. In fact I’ve been using this tag since August 2015. Why would I know the exact date? Because I introduced the #womenintoyphotography hashtag when I was writing for the blog Stuck In Plastic.
Why would I invent such a long winded tag such as #womenintoyphotography? Surely in this modern day where women and men are treated equally there is no need for such a self explanatory tag? (*snort) Please don’t get me wrong, I truly believe the toy photography community is incredibly welcoming of all styles, genders and ages. Even with all this welcoming and wonderful camaraderie, the testosterone levels in the community can get a bit overwhelming. When you add together a penchant for creative online names with toys that skew male, I often wonder how many women toy photographers are there.
So I started this hashtag to find out.
Soon after the hashtag was introduced there was the inevitable backlash. This backlash came from a most unexpected place – my blog mates at Stuck in Plastic. The original blog post from 2015 was published when I was on my way to Sweden to take part in the Vaxholm Toy Photographers meet-up. Let the drama and behind the scenes shenanigans begin! While at the event I had a chance to talk to my blog mates in person. I wanted to hear why they objected to the tag and explain why I thought it was necessary. Lets just say we never did see eye to eye.
Sure I agree with the rationale that no one in this community is judged on their gender. Photos are judged on their merits, not on the photographers gender. Yes, I understand and commend this view point. And as I already mentioned it is one of the many reasons I respect and support this community. But sometimes we women have to stand up to be seen. This the primary reason why I started the #womenintoyphotography hashtag. I want to be seen and I want to see who in our community identifies with being a women.
I’m sure not everyone will agree with my reasons. If you want o help me see a different view point, please leave your comments below.
Fast forward nearly five years (Has it really been that long?) and there are over 32,300 images tagged #womenintoyphotography. The variety of toys is amazing: Lego, Funko Pops, Barbies, Revoltec, Pokemon, 6″ action figures, HO scale and so many more. It seems that women collect a wide variety of toys, just like their male counterparts. What a shocking discovery! (not really :D)
I was reminded of the importance of this tag recently when I heard it name checked in a short video about LEGO. This tag isn’t only important to me, its important to anyone who identifies as a women and tags their photos with #womenintoyphotography. This tag helps us to become visible. Not only does this tag help us become visible to the entire toy community, but also to ourselves.
Just to clarify, this tag has never been about special treatment. It is only meant as a tag for discovery. The tag is used the same way a LEGO photographer might tag their photos #legography. Or a member of the Exclu Collective will tag their photos #exclucollective. If you photograph 1:6 scale toys you might use the #onesix tag. Each and every tag we use helps us to connect and be seen; #womenintoyphotography is no different.
Thank you and carry on…
Thank you to everyone who is using the #womenintoyphotography tag, You may not know where it started or why, but you find it relevant. Obviously you’re my kind if people . In fact, this is one of the few tags I follow on Instagram. I use it to find new women toy photographers to follow.
Even though I enjoy my brothers in toy photography, I want to support my fellow female artists as well. I want to make sure we’re visible here on the Toy Photographers blog both as featured artists and on the staff. Thank you Lizzi, Teddi and Ann for all you do to make this crazy enterprise go!
My other passion project is aimed at raising the visibility of women and girls in the LEGO community. It’s the Women’s Brick Initiative. As you can see my goal to support my fellow female artists runs deep. Maybe misguided…but no less sincere.
In conclusion, thank you for using the #womenintoyphotography tag! And if you’re a female or identify as one and you’re not using this tag, why not? Lets raise our visibility…one woman in toy photography at a time.
Who are your favorite female toy photographers?