The story of five-year-old Emma Moore and her unique birthday portraits is an inspiring and powerful message to young girls everywhere. Nowadays, most children choose to impersonate their favorite Disney Princess or Marvel Superhero when taking special occasion photographs. Instead of sticking to the status quo, Emma’s mother and photographer, Jaime Moore, came up with the brilliant idea to dress up her daughter as numerous profound and influential women throughout history including Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, and Jane Goodall. She wanted Emma to take an interest in strong women because of their commendable accomplishments, rather than admiring television characters or Barbie Dolls for their good looks and pretty clothes.
Ideas such as this one have the capability to help young women on such a large scale. In today’s society, we have the tendency to assign value to females, especially young girls, based primarily on their physical appearance. As these girls become women and are repeatedly conditioned to believe that their worth is dependent upon their beauty, the instances of negative personal body image, poor self confidence, eating disorders, depression, and so many other consequences are only bound to increase. The pressure to be slim and attractive is only reinforced by popular media figures like the Disney Princesses whom all have perfect bodies, nice hair, beautiful gowns, and one other minor detail in common: they are always being saved by a man!
Jaime Moore realized that these young girls deserve more honorable role models to look up to. So, she used her professional photography skills to spark an interest within her daughter beyond the usual ball gowns and glass slippers, like that of the average first grader. This situation certainly demonstrates the power and importance of photography as a visual medium. A main function of photography is cultural transmission, defined in Converging Media 4th Edition as the idea of “conveying beliefs, values, and practices by what photographs show, how they show it, and the emotions they stir.” Our American culture, which extensively markets and sexualizes the female body through all forms of media, has in fact converged to other areas of the world which have historically been much more conservative. An example of this would be the trend of female sexual objectification in advertisements recently spreading to the Middle East.
The problem with this situation is that instead of focusing on women for their triumphs like the incredible Helen Keller, our society glorifies 80 pound supermodels by plastering them across every magazine cover, half naked, throughout the entire nation. We can change this disheartening standard by publishing more photographs and stories about real people achieving real-life successes. By praising more of the women on news covers for their accomplishments rather than their slender, size two Calvin Klein undies, photographers and industry leaders could have the means to influence an entire generation of women and remind them that they are more than just a body.