So what is the Strength Source Project? The project began as a positive push back against sexism. It began as a counter to the many pressures and expectations placed upon women every day – and a pushback against the negative treatment of women on the part of the current political establishment in the US and the frustration many women have felt as a result of the hostility, stereotyping, and lack of fair representation. There are expectations surrounding how women look, age, dress, speak, what career paths they choose, how they mother their children (or opt not to have children), their sexual activities, how they manage their own health and bodies, their place in the home, and their place in the work force. Women who speak up against the limitations and judgements are often told that they just need to “lighten up” or that they are “too sensitive” or “hormonal”. There is often in place the expectation that women just need to brush it off.
But women represent 50% of the population, and hold only 20% of the seats to elective office at the federal, state, and local levels. The pay gap between men and women is still around 20% overall. And worldwide one in THREE women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime.
For a long time, given the expectations and limitations placed upon women and the sexism I have faced on the job, on the street, and within my own family, I have felt frustrated and angry. I was never sure what I could do to promote change, I just knew that I wanted to focus on a POSITIVE. Guiding an amazing daughter towards womanhood, I always knew that I could help her to see her own value and greatness, but I did not know what I could do on another level using my abilities to affect change. I love photography and I’ve never stopped believing in the power of an image. I decided to take my love of photography and use it to empower women by telling their stories. So I began meeting with women. Meeting with family members, neighbors, friends, and absolute strangers – while taking their photograph – I asked them to answer this question:
“tell me about an event in your life, or something that you have done, or currently do now, that makes you feel strong inside”.
I asked this question because I HAD TO. I needed to hear other women telling me how they draw strength. I wanted to catch a glimpse of THEIR source. And I felt like it was a wonderful thing for women to reflect upon this — and it was an even greater act for them to share this with others, both women AND men. So this project, and this blog, was born. What I have found, after meeting with many women, is that no matter how different we are, there is always a common thread that runs through us. Within every story that I have heard, from every woman I have met with – there has been some aspect of their lives, their feelings, or their stories that I can relate to. I think it is really important to remind ourselves on a constant basis of how unique – but also how alike – we all are. We share a common strength.
I am grateful to every woman who has shared with me. The photographs and the stories are truly gifts. It is my hope that I will continue meeting with many more women and that this project will grow. It is my hope that the stories and images will spread strength to many.
- If you would like to participate in the project, please see my contact page and get in touch! I would love to meet you!
- If you would like to see more of my photography, please visit : www.carriebiegler.com. You can also find me on Instagram as “cmbiegler” as well as “strengthsourceproject”.