Women are empathetic. Men are redundant. (2014)

Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT


Women are empathetic. Men are redundant.

Deeper analysis, if needed:

1. My spontaneous reaction when I see this picture from the Swedish Television (SVT) is: “FAIL, Jan Björklund, Göran Hägglund and Fredrik Reinfeldt! Did all three of you have stabbing backpain that day, or why couldn’t you stoop down and face your future constituents on their level?” But it would be to miss that at least three other people were involved in the process of taking, choosing and publishing this picture: a photographer (who probably took hundreds of pictures from the occasion), an editor (who was given a folder with pictures to choose from ) and a web editor at SVT who illustrated the article with the photo. And all of them have either completely missed the gender aspect or thought “🤡”.
2. Research shows that female politicians are often associated with “soft” qualities, competencies and issues, while men are often associated with “hard” ones. According to the meta-study Gender differences in political media coverage by political scientists Daphne Van der Pas and Loes Aaldering, journalists tend to describe politicians according to existing gender stereotypes. Thus, journalists cover a politician who has a certain gender, are reminded of society’s gender roles, and describe the politician accordingly.
I am convinced that we photographers also, unconsciously, work like that. That we choose an image that confirms patterns we are used to seeing, that feels “right” precisely because it reflects a familiar norm. And therefore we risk missing expressions and moments that break the pattern – which might have led to images that gain wings for positive reasons…

3. Like my perhaps favourite picture of a politician even: the boy who gets to pat Barack Obama on the head during a visit to the White House. The boy wondered “is your hair like mine?” “Touch it, dude!” said the kind president.

“Touch it, dude!” Photo: Pete Souza

Imagine capturing such a moment, photographers. And politicians: be more like Barack Obama. (No pressure.)

4. Clothes clash! Embarrassing that Jan, Göran and Fredrik came to school dressed exactly the same? Or just a sad symbol of the limited palette available for men’s uniforms.

5. The boy in the foreground looks like he’s thinking “GET OUT”.