In Stock Images Women Are Now More Than Just Sex Objects

September 18, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Claire Cain Miller wrote about the top image result for “woman” (pictured) on Getty’s stock image library:

  • In contrast to the rugged woman hiking on the rocks today, a decade ago, in 2007, the top-selling picture for “woman” showed a half-naked person lying on a bed draped in a towel looking alluringly at the camera.
  • The change is driven in part by the Lean In photo collection developed in by Getty in collaboration with Shery Sandberg, to provide the media with more gender-positive stock images.
  • In addition to changing what ‘woman’ represented, Getty has also seen a 47% increase in searches for pictures of “female CEO”.
  • There’s still some ways to go. The typical woman in the Lean In collection is young, white, and has long brown hair.
  • Those that show women in science are rarely used in general science stories – they’re typically only trotted out in stories related to the difficulties women face in science fields.
  • Gender positive photos of men – for example those where they’re taking care of a baby – can have troubling subtext too. The men often have beards and are muscled, in an apparent attempt to emphasize their masculinity.

Read more in The New York Times.