A little while ago this photo
was reposted by a number off facebook pages and Instagram accounts, that do just that, repost photos from mariners around the world. The result was over 4000 likes in total and a lot of upset comments. What is important to mention is that the facebook pages and the Instagram accounts that reposted this photo did not credit it correctly. They reposted it from our dear friend Linnea (who is in the photo), that is also one off our ambassadors (If you want to read about her career at sea click here ), that shared the photo and she did credit Seasalt & Coffee. What this did, is that it lead some people to believe that this is a photo taken on an actual watch….
These are some examples of comments. When a page that consistently repost pictures and videos from real life onboard different type of vessels and officers in the maritime industry, are reposting a campaign photo that was taken to challenge stereotypes, without credit the brand behind it, it can get confusing for some people.
So to say this once and for all. This is a campaign photo, it is not meant to reflect reality onboard. It was taken to challenge the stereotype of a seafarer, and it looks like the picture has done a very good job at doing just that.
When we took this photo we took inspiration from this painting
and with the pose we took inspiration from this famous pirate called Captain Morgan that you might have heard off.
Since this was a photo that was supposed to challenge the stereotype we wanted to bring in something that represent female energy in to this very male dominated environment. And what to represent that better than a pair off heels? You might think that the fact that a woman is in the picture is enough but that is not the case, women onboard are accepted as long as they behave and act like a man (this is very generalized but the reality for a lot of women in the shipping industry).
As you saw in the comments, the fact that she is wearing heels, really got in to a lot of peoples heads. To answer them, no we now it is a safety issue and would never work in heels. However, and this is where it gets interesting, the anger that these shoes has sparked in some people reveals a underlying and very problematic view off women, from both women and men.
(Far from every comment where negative towards this photo, a lot off them are very supportive. For that, thank you!)
This last comment here “In an already male-heavy environment?” Is exactly the environment we wanted to challenge! More and more women are coming in to the maritime industry every year, and some of them are “very feminine” but it is so hard for so many people to accept that you can be a skilled officer or engineer if you like things like high heels and painted nails.
Should we really just accept the old way of this “male-heavy environment” or should we help it grow and evolve into an environment that helps people flourish and reach their full potential no matter who they are? If no one ever speaks up and get the conversation about this going, how long will it take before women (and everyone who isn’t a straight male) are fully accepted onboard ships?
If a photo that was created to challenge stereotypes gets this much attention, one could argue that it has served it's purpose perfectly, because it has gotten the conversation about this going!
What this picture shows is that you can be many things, you can have a male and a female side, ying and yang. It shows that you can be a hardcore sailor and still be walking in stilettos on the weekends. What this picture does not show however is a topless top model posing on a ship.
Fun fact nr1. Everyone involved with taking this photo is a seafarer.
Fun fact nr 2. She is not on a ship, it is actually a concrete parking lot, next to a ship.
Question nr 1. How come that the perception is that she is promoting nicotine? I suppose that this picture below is doing the same thing then?
Or is it just that she is a woman that is the issue?
Question nr 2. How come that so many people are sexualising her feet? She’s not wearing clothing that is revealing in any way, she is not posing like a pinup doll, she is posing like a male pirate smoking a pipe that is traditionally most used by fishermen (and yes we know you should never smoke onboard a ship).
Question nr 3. By bringing in this one element that is so strongly representing female energy, why should she all off a sudden be topless?
Question nr 4. Is this heavily male dominated environment so threatened by the feminine energy that a picture like this could be considered harmful? Is it harmful because it might lead people to believe that women actually work like this onboard? If that is the case, the lack off common sense definitely is be the biggest issue. Or is it harmful because times might be changing and, you who feels like this, don’t want it to?
It is interesting but sadly not shocking that both men and women are coming to the conclusion that since she is wearing heels, she’s could might as well be on the cover of the latest playboy magazine. Sadly this just shows how deeply the objectification of women in society is rooted.
To say that she might as well be topless just because she is wearing heels is to say that women are objects. To say that women are objects is to say that anything female is less worthy than anything male.
Regardless if you hate or love heels, regardless if you are a girly girl or a tomboy, regardless of how you look, if you are a woman you have a feminine energy. It does not mean you have to love makeup or wear dresses or anything like that. It just means that you are not a man.
We should embrace that feminine energy, not put a lid on it. The people who has build up the entire shipping industry has done a great job, it is one of the most important industries in the world. Like a lot of industries it was mostly, but not only, built by men, in other words it was built with maybe 55% capacity. Imagine the possibilities if it where to be developed by 100%!
It would also be wrong not to mention that this issue some people have with women onboard ships or in high positions in general, is a lot of the time a generational problem. However we can not just sit around and wait for those outdated and wrongly beliefs of women to die together with the older generations. We need to prevent them from being taken on by the next generations and from harming anyone else.
The future is equal, the question is just how long it takes for us to get there!
As one of the people who where upset with this photo kindly said “Talk to women in the maritime industry”, yes that is one very important part, could not agree more! If you want to read about real life stories from women at sea click the link here! We could also recommend checking out this website https://www.againstthetide.co.ke/, the founder Elizabeth has done an incredible job off collecting stories from women round the globe who works at sea!
Our belief is that there are many ways up the hill and that art and pop culture pays a significant role on they road to equality. Sometimes it is more about what the picture represents that’s what it actually shows.
So if you do have a trouble with this picture, if you feel like it belongs in a playboy magazine, that it is harmful for female seafarers, you might want to think long and hard about how you view women in general. Or perhaps you just don’t like this photograph, and that my friend is perfectly fine.