The Sony World Photography Awards is one of the largest photo competitions in the world and arguably the most influential. In the past few years, the WPA has included the Alpha Female Award. Recognizing that photography is a male dominated sphere where it’s incredibly difficult for female photographers to get their voice heard and their work recognized, and also recognizing that females have a different perspective on the world to males, Sony created a female only space. Their mission statement is “The Alpha Female Award is focused on supporting and championing woman photographers around the globe. Set up to empower female photographic talent and promote their work to an international audience, the award aims to create a powerful platform and ensure the photographic industry is a space where both genders can excel”.
Note the words “both genders”.
There are only 2 sexes: male and female. This applies whether you are a human, a cat, a Dolphin, a plant………or any other living species on earth. Even intersex people have an assigned sex. There is no ‘third’ sex. There is no sex ‘spectrum’. Being male or female is dependent on your gametes. Females have large gametes, ie we produce eggs, and males have small gametes, ie they produce sperm. It’s not complicated.
It’s our gametes which determine other sex markers, such as chromosomes. XY for men and XX for women. There are anomalies to that for a small section of people, eg X0 and XYY, but note that if a chromosome contains a Y, regardless of any other letter which might also be present, the person is male. If the Y is missing, no matter any other letter which might also be present, they are female. This is an irrefutable, biological fact.
Sex cannot be changed – males can’t decide to produce eggs and females can’t decide to produce sperm. If you want to know more about this issue, please read Zach Elliott’s website (he’s an evolutionary biologist).
Gender, OTOH, does not exist in biology. It’s a societal construct. We, rightly or wrongly, associate certain traits to females and different traits to males. What one societal group considers ‘female’ or ‘male’ behaviour might not be classed as such by another societal group.
Sex, therefore, cannot be defined by gender.
In including ‘gender’ in their definition of Female, the Sony Alpha Female initiative include men. I hope somebody sues them for sex discrimination.
I am boycotting the World Photo Awards in protest at the continued misogyny shown by Sony. I hope you join me to help protect female photographers. Please write to email@example.com to say why you are boycotting the competition – feel free to share my blog post with Sony or on your own social media platforms.
While I’m on, I recently joined the female only photographer’s space SheClicks. I quickly learned that this isn’t a female only space either, but admits males who identify as female. Which makes it a male and female space, not a female space. I left. I hope if you are a biological female and a member of SheClicks you leave too and you write to Andrea Nicholson and tell her why you are leaving firstname.lastname@example.org.
In speaking out about the eradication of the Female sex, I have hate speech thrown at me. I am classed as Trans phobic or Trans exclusionary. I am neither. I fully support any human being who wishes to express themselves in any way they choose. Nobody should be subjected to discrimination, fear, derision or violence. Nobody. The law should protect everybody.
However, women are biologically different to men and as such have special protections under the law. In confusing ‘gender’ with ‘sex’ these legal protections are being eradicated and females are being eradicated with them.