Well, that’s if Sheryl Sandberg, LeanIn.org CEO, has anything to do with it. Getty Images — the stock photo company that fills the pages of The New York Times, Women’s Health magazine, The Huffington Post and just about every other professional media organization with color — has just announced a partnership with Sandberg’s LeanIn.org — the organization “focused on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions, and changing the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do.” With this partnership, Getty will now offer 2,500 images of women doing bad*ss (or just plain normal?) things like riding skateboards, lifting weights, and wearing fashionable work clothes while the fathers change babies’ diapers. This in place of existing stock images of business women in sexy nightgowns with red boxing gloves, women climbing the side of a mountain in uptight stodgy business suits and — surprise — heels, women doing weights in short skirts and red stilettos.
Type “working woman” into Google images, and in the first few lines of search results (besides a bunch of other stock photos of women in 80s linebacker-style business suits) you get:
The woman who looks like she just blew a circuit:
The “gee these color pictures on my mini-TV sure are cute” office girl:
According to The New York Times, the three most-searched terms on Getty are “women,” “business” and “family.” So it’s about time for new eye candy, especially when the most influential mediums in our day are Facebook, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, and other image-forward publishers. A strong, stylish woman with a job, NOT one who’s not carrying a kid on her hip, looking like she’s reading her toddler’s baby food jar for the first time:
Add this to other media brands trying to show a realer side of women — the Lena Dunham cover in Vogue, the Pantene WhipIt ad, and Aerie’s Real ad campaign — and things are budging in the right direction.
For once, sites like Jezebel aren’t screaming that LeanIn’s project is “mildly disingenuous” as they lamented about the Pantene ads. Why? Because LeanIn.org is a nonprofit and P&G is a shampoo brand. But in the end, does that really matter? Every company has publicity in its sight, even LeanIn. So what if the project is a for-profit ad if it’s helping to change the conversation? Not so fast, snivels Jezebel — for the LeanIn project, “one collection doesn’t shake up the whole industry.” I would argue that Jezebel (as usual it seems, these days) just keep missing the point. Every publicity stunt like this brings to light the kind of women we want to see. And that’s exactly what the industry needs.