Amanda Zaeske will tell you she got into photography because her ex-boyfriend was a photographer. She had a better eye than him and she knew it.

Los Angeles is not a place of 9 to 5 jobs. Ask a Los Angelian what they do and they, like Amanda, will tell you:

“I’m an actress but I picked up teaching yoga to make money…and photography because it’s more creative.”

After the Women’s March in Los Angeles, Amanda felt awesome, but then lost.

“I was like, ‘what’s next?’ This is great but I want to do something more now.”

So she started Supergirl Series – “a photo series focusing on powerful women and feminists alike.” The idea of the photos is not only to empower women through art, to reclaim a word that was used against them, but also to call awareness of the battles that women have fought, and are continuing to fight every day.

I found Amanda from a Facebook post on an inspired women’s group page and decided, yeah I can get beside this. So we scheduled a shoot. I modeled my photos after Rosie the Riveter, of course, but a modern take on Rosie.

 

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And incase you’re wondering what the little heart pin attached to my denim shirt says, it reads: FUCK YOU, and if you could see the other side you’d see PAY ME. Just two quirky details Amanda added to my look. When I arrived I was told to think about a word that I wanted to take ownership of – a name that I was called, or a nickname I was given. “Bitch,” and “slut,” were already taken so I went with MANLY.

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And just look at those guns I’m still packing 7 years later. I was a cheerleader in high school and the amount of practicing and weight lifting we did led me to some massive gains (bro, do you even lift?!) I’m pretty sure I just intimidated the boys, but in return I was playfully teased. Honestly I took it as a compliment…but shouldn’t women be allowed to be strong without standing out? Without being called names? If nothing else, this project has really allowed me to look at the names I’ve been called without assigning judgement to them and question why society feels this way about women.

After the shoot I looked around at this awesome group of women in the room and we got into a conversation about what life was like for us. One expressed that she’s never felt like she’s been able to open up about politics because her uncle is a prominent Republican (ran for the Republican seat against Trump in the last election, guys), but now she feels she has to speak up. A few girls expressed their concern over the alarming amount of White women who voted for Trump and what our responsibility was, as White women, to counteract that, to inform others. Overall it was a fantastic experience and something every woman should have the opportunity to do.

Empowered women empower women. Thanks Amanda!!

-Chella

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