In our digital age visuals are everywhere. So it is crucial to observe what kind of messages those pictures are sending. A lot of the imagery we see every day shows an outdated or one dimensional view: men leading, women sidelined or sexualized, mothers and fathers in stereotypical roles. And although we’ve seen some really great changes take place in the last few years, there’s still much work to be done when it comes to building a visual world of equality.
That’s why Getty Images teamed up with LeanIn.org two years ago to launch the Lean In Collection, providing a simple way for brands and creatives to find images that expand the visual representation of women and girls—and also men. The more images we see of women leading and being powerful and living vibrant, interesting lives, the more normalized those images become in our actual lives.
We keep this in mind when we plan photo shoots or compose images in hopes that the small changes we make can have a big impact. Here are six examples:
1. Placing women in positions of leadership
It’s all about the small, subtle changes. In this picture the woman is standing and her body language signifies confidence and being in charge.
Showing the woman as the person leading a meeting that everyone is paying attention to is another way to visualize female empowerment. It is interesting how often that is not the case.
2. Visualizing strength and power rather than looks
Fitness is another area where women are often depicted in stereotypical ways. Most images used in advertising and magazines show models who are slim and perfectly toned, wearing crop tops, tiny shorts and heavy makeup. When we work with our photographers we ask them to focus on visualizing the strength and power of women rather than their looks.
In this great shoot, female photographer Tara Moore shows real women exercising, with real sweat and real fun.
3. Using models with different body shapes
Portrayals of different body shapes continue to be a major topic of conversation and we hope to see a more realistic depiction of bodies in upcoming years. In our imagery we make a point to celebrate people of all shapes and sizes.
4. Showing a broader range of jobs and experiences
The video #RedrawTheBalance provocatively captures how, early on in their education, children already define career opportunities as male and female. When asked to draw a firefighter, surgeon and a fighter pilot, 61 pictures were drawn of men and only five were female. The foundation of our Lean in Collection is ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ so we encourage our photographers to show women in a broader range of jobs and experiences.
5. No pink policy
It’s also important to start early and show not only women but also girls who have interests beyond dressing up and make up. Girls who are confident and comfortable in their own skin, learning math and computer science or martial arts instead of wearing pink and playing with dolls.
6. Showing men in modern roles is equally important
You can’t paint a full picture without showing both sides. Our research shows that images of stay at home dads are selling 450% more than three years ago.
Showing an authentic, modern picture of men is equally important. No more clumsy dads who can’t work the washing machine or cook. We want to show fathers who take equal responsibility for home and kids and enjoy it.
For more images that repicture how we portray women and men explore the Lean In Collection at Getty Images and iStock by Getty Images