No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent

Posted May 19, 2016

This is forever one of my favorite quotes (seriously don’t be shocked by 50 future blog posts with this same title). There are days when I feel we should start repeating this phrase to our daughters the minute we bring them into this world, and then maybe the idea will stick. No matter how old we get there is always someone making us feel inferior, particularly when sometimes the inferiority is placed upon us just from society. Social media makes this all the worse. We feel we need to look perfect on our way to work, look perfect as we end our day, and look perfect while we exercise ( because that is natural??). We take these steps towards visual perfection as a way to equalize ourselves with men and society. But is that really what it does? Doesn’t hard work mean a lot more in the end? Doesn’t striving towards a skewed standard of perfection, in fact, give the world permission to consider us inferior?

Cathy came to me for some portraits to put on social media. We spoke several times about her session and in fact rescheduled a few times on days when she was not feeling quite ready. There were days without enough sleep, hair that just didn’t cooperate through a work day, and concerns about needing professional makeup, but eventually, we met.

My immediate impression of Cathy was that she is someone that you’d totally want to hang out with. She was a light hearted fun lady with a wonderful laugh. However, our pre-session chat sounded a lot like a plastic surgery consultation. The list of things that I was supposed to change, smooth, lift, or delete was endless. I hesitantly agreed, wondering to myself, “who on earth made this woman feel this way”.

Cathy and I had a wonderful and relaxed session. She exuded a certain confidence that her words told me she really wasn’t feeling when we began our session. At the end of Cathy’s session we were back to the original photoshop discussion we had began with. I told her that we would start with some light retouching and then see if she had any further requests.

Upon delivery of Cathy’s gently retouched images, she did not have further requests. Apparently she really did not need a full facelift and all of the body sculpting that she had originally requested! As a photographer sometimes it is my job to all of the heavy photoshop “surgery”, but for the most part, it is my job to make you feel good without it. To make you laugh, smile, relax, and recall your natural confidence. We are all born confident, we choose if we let anyone take that away. I hope that all women who walk into my studio leave remembering that we are all beautiful. We are beautiful and we are enough as we are. We are not inferior.