If you have ever done a search on a stock photography site that includes the word “woman”, hoping to get photographs of a professional or ordinary woman, you know that the results can be surprisingly…um…unprofessional—women splayed across desks with buttons undone, looking seductively at the camera, and so on. These photographs—utterly unasked for—often populate the search results at a surprising clip, sometimes far outnumbering the much more expected search results of just…a women at work or going about her day. But all those who have been largely irritated and somewhat puzzled by this phenomenon have gotten some good news this week: The Guardian has reported that stock sites are reforming their sexist ways to more accurately reflect “real women” in their imagery. And demand is just as promising: “Over the last three years we have seen a monumental spike in searches for ‘female business executives’ and in the last year alone, searches for ‘empowered women’ have increased by an incredible 772%.” The article also reports on several galleries created under different feminist campaigns such as #LeanIn, #LikeAGirl, and #ThisGirlCan.
And there is good news for the men as well—more photos of fathers with their children are being both supplied and searched for: “By changing the representation of not just women but men too, we build a more balanced perception of both genders; the dads who enjoy great relationships with their children and in turn, the working mothers of the world.”
Photograph: Tara Moore/Getty Images