As a reporter and photographer, one of the most common questions I ask myself is: “Did I get it?”
Did I get the shot?
This Saturday, March 3, I was at Victoria Park shooting the International Women’s Day march and rally. As the batteries died in every single camera I brought, that question kept popping up.
This is going to sound cold, but when you’re reporting, it’s hard to care so much about what’s going on around you as it is to care about whether or not you are capturing it properly. So when my batteries died and I was back in the moment, I had to ask myself on a different level…
Did I get it?
Truthfully, no. I didn’t.
I don’t think I ever will.
Here I am – a six-foot, white, cis-gendered man – asking a group of women to look into the camera and explain why the rally was so important. The responses were varied, but the theme was the same: Support for each other, frustration with the status quo, and a desire for change.
While I understood their sentiment and the passionate statements from the guest speakers, I have to admit.
I still don’t get it.
I don’t get judged based on my wardrobe or treated differently because of my body type or looks.
I don’t get paid less because of my gender.
I don’t get ignored when I ask for help.
I don’t get having to think about safety in numbers, having to cover my drink, or clutching my keys in my fist when walking alone at night.
Sure, I can understand these things on a basic, human level. But no – I’ll never truly ‘get it’.
Come this summer, I will be father to a beautiful baby girl. I can’t help but wonder – will I get it by then? Will I get it by the time she can speak?
More importantly – how do I even begin to explain to her what ‘it’ is?
I hope the words and wisdom of the women I listened to will bear fruit in such a way that by the time my daughter is old enough to understand, she will only have to ‘get it’ in a historical context.
I understand it’s a fool’s hope. I also understand that from my place of privilege, my words carry far less weight than those of the women dealing with a very cold reality.
Trouble is, many of the women I talked to and listened to at Saturday’s rally still don’t ‘get it’ either.
They don’t get justice when their sisters are raped, murdered or missing.
They don’t get sympathy or respect when seeking help.
They don’t get proper pay or social supports.
They don’t get protection from a government more concerned with sound bites than sound policy.
As I said, I understand these things happen, but the reality is:
They don’t and won’t happen to me.
I get that.
I get it all too well.