I have been an active participant in the online toy photography community for three years and I almost always feel like a square peg in a round hole, I simply don’t fit in. This feeling has been growing the last few months to the point where I want to chuck the whole thing and run in a more appropriate direction.
You’re probably scratching your head and wondering how could this be? Let me outline exactly how I don’t fit into this amazing group of people.
First, there is my age. Yes, I am one of the oldest people, that I know of, who is actively participating in the toy photography movement. In fact it is so bad, most of my followers have more in common with my kids, than with me. I don’t feel like a peer, I feel like the den mother.
Second my gender. I am female in an overwhelmingly male field. When you combine toys with photography (both dominated by boys/men) you are going to get an overwhelmingly male participation rate. I have managed to find a few incredible female toy photographers within the community, but they are few and far between. My day to day interactions are primarily with men and sometimes the testosterone, the crude jokes, the sexism, wears thin.
I don’t consider myself a geek. I barely know the difference between Marvel and DC, my pop culture knowledge is slim to none, and I have never played video games much less read a comic book. This lack of knowledge puts me at a supreme disadvantage when it comes to identifying half of the toys being photographed. On the subject of Star Wars (which frankly dominates the scene) I will remain silent; although I do appreciate the community that has grown up around the franchise.
What makes the toy photography community so amazing is that they have accepted me as one of their own even though I clearly don’t belong. I have never meet a group of people so welcoming and supportive to all the diversity you find within this community; culturally, economically, educationally and of course, individual tastes in toys. I know that there are occasional squabbles, like in any close knit family, but the love and respect is real.
So I want to thank the community for accepting me for who and what I am… a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
I’ve outline what I’m not and you are probably wonder why I remain if I feel so out of place. Simply put, I enjoy the community and I enjoy the challenge. Whether that is enough to sustain me, only time will tell.
I would love to here from other women about there experiences within the toy community; the good, the bad and the indifferent.