Being a female photog in the Middle East
Do you A) Suck it up and pull down your pants or B) skip over to the 5 star hotel next door, sneak in behind a Spanish tourist group and accept a mimosa on the way to their clean, hygienic bathroom. Obviously the answer is a no brainer if you’re a real backpacker. But sometimes a girl needs a little luxury when traveling. After all…. being the only female in a hotel of man is leads them to think one thing. There will be no showering for you in this hotel at the risk of getting spied on…or worse.
Being a solo female backpacker can be on its worst days hellish, but the good days always make up for it and usually the bad days are few and far in between. Everyone says guys have it easier, and to an extent it’s true. Guys can pee standing up, are hairier therefore never have to worry about shaving and seem to care (much) less about grooming (as I can attest that half my backpack is always taken up by hair products). But things aren’t always easy in the land of testosterone, especially as a photographer. During a recent trip to the Middle East while comparing notes with various male photographers (which are there any others kinds down there? I would have loved to come across with a female a camera) it seemed that people were more accepting and more friendly to me then the males I talked to. I was invited into homes while I walked through refugee camps, given enough cups of tea to float me away, hugged and kissed loved and fed. By comparison…the guys seemed to get yelled at and abused whenever they pointed the camera at someone. Now perhaps this was just one person getting lucky but I would love to compare notes with another female photog. Not only as the Middle East the easiest place to get photographs as compared to some of the other regions I have gone to, it as also the most fun. Families posed for me, men did the GQ and kids made funny faces. It was a dream come true…
From "The Little Princesses Guide to Backpacking. The Trials and Tribulations of a Traveling Twenty-something"
Photo credits: Angela Ostafichuk.