Among the many forces holding women back in our world — poverty, reductive religious attitudes, lousy child care, etc. — you may now add another tool of oppression: stock photography.
So says Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, author of the female empowerment bestseller “Lean In” and now inspiration for a new collection on Getty Images that’s attempting to bust the stereotypes of women as salad-eaters, harried multitaskers and latent dominatrixes.
Sandberg’s non-profit foundation, LeanIn.org, has partnered with Getty to curate a collection that reflects the modern woman as she actually is. According to Pamela Grossman, director of visual trends at Getty:
It’s a space where females are equally celebrated for their life choices and diversity whether they’re students, businesspeople, athletes, aides, mentors, makers, mothers, partners, or none of the above. Together, we’re aiming to highlight more positive, powerful images of women and girls in hopes that others will do the same in their campaigns and creative projects.
Exactly what that means in practical terms is a bit hard to pin down, but a quick search through the Lean In Collection (currently containing about 2,500 images) suggests: Women with surfboards, tattoos and/or gray hair, plus Mr. Mom dads = good. Kitchen drudgery, unhappy expressions and high heels = oppressive.