If there are certain jobs that come to mind when you think of "women's work" or "men's work," Chris Crisman's "Women's Work" photo series will shatter those stereotypes to shreds. In order to prove your gender doesn't have to limit your occupation, Crisman (whom we've reached out to for comment, which we will add if we hear back) photographed women in traditionally male jobs. The results are as empowering as they are visually compelling.
The portraits are all of real women in roles that defy stereotypes, including a farmer, a brewer, taxidermist, and the operator of a rock hauler. The first, Heather Marold Thomason, quit a web designer job to be a butcher, Crisman told The Huffington Post. During the photoshoot, she talked about what it was like to be a woman in a traditionally male position, and Crisman wanted to explore this topic more.
While certain professions, like medicine and law, have become more gender-balanced over the years, many remain starkly divided. Only around 15 percent of meat farms around the country are run by women, and only 3.4 percent of U.S. firefighters were women in 2012. But these numbers are growing, and the more we teach kids that they can be whatever they want regardless of their gender, the larger they'll get.
That's what Crisman is hoping for his own two children. "I was raised to believe that I could do whatever I wanted to when I grew up. I want to pass down a similar message to my children and without caveats," he told told A Photo Editor. "I want to raise my children knowing that their dreams have no limits and that they have parents supporting them to dive into anything they feel passionate about."
Whether we intend to or not, we do often send the message that certain jobs are for women and others are for men (not to mention, that non-binary people don't exist). Through gendered toys and biases in education, we teach boys and girls to explore different interests. And when women are interested in male-dominated fields, problems like macho work culture and poor working conditions discourage them, according to a study by Stormline. Another study by ZipRecruiter found that job ads contain words stereotypically associated with women or men, discouraging people from applying for positions that defy gender norms.
But lots of women have refused to let all this get between them and the careers they're passionate about, and "Women's Work" is a testament to them. Fishing, woodworking, and truck driving are women's work — and if we don't see them that way yet, that's all the more reason to encourage more women to enter them.