A powerful Instagram post by a wedding photographer based in Brighton, England, has brought to attention the abuse and misogyny faced by female photographers at weddings. Often suffered silently, Kim Williams is calling for men to do more, to speak up and act out when they see it happening.
On 23 January, Kim took to Instagram to share some of the negative experiences she’s had with men at weddings she’s worked at. The post was titled “Things men did to me at weddings in 2021” and in the description, she pointed out that her clients would be “mortified to know any of these happened at their wedding which is why I’ve never spoken about it on Instagram before”.
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Since it was posted it’s had more than 11,000 likes and over 700 comments from people offering support, allyship, honesty and their own experiences of mistreatment.
It’s disgusting and saddening to think that professional female photographers are subjected to being touched, talked down to and treated inappropriately when all they’re trying to do is work. As a female photographer myself, I have been subject to these kinds of inappropriate acts and they make you feel small, uncomfortable and anxious.
Some of the things men did to Kim in 2021 included grabbing her arm, asking if she wanted to be a professional photographer one day (even though she already is) and trying to kiss her. She’s had men tell her that their photos would be better because their lenses are more expensive, she’s been asked if she’s single in the middle of a ceremony, and told "now I know you’re single, I’m not holding back."
Rather than blindly calling out these men, Kim wants to see real change so that female photographers can feel safe and supported. A couple of days after the original post, Kim collaborated on a post with Sam Docker that said ‘Men Should Do More’ and that misogyny is a men’s problem.
Sam called for men to recognize ill behavior and encourage other men to speak up against it. It might feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar to call out a “lad comment” but that’s the change needed to make women feel safe and settled.
And it’s not just at weddings but in general, regardless of the space or occasion. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to inappropriate comments and gestures and start standing up for what is right.
While most people who responded to Kim’s Instagram post were women, a few men have spoken up about times they’ve witnessed this behavior first hand but not done or said anything because they didn’t want to cause a scene. Only when men start discussing the issue, acting on it and having the courage to call other men out can women start to feel safe.
As Kim said at the end of her post, all she wants to do is work in peace – but only other people can make that happen.