Any bloggers who’ve ever tried to pair a stock photo with a story know the limits of the genre. There’s the cheery woman serving her blond children breakfast in a sunlit kitchen; the woman in a black power suit, climbing the cold stone steps of careerism; the woman at her desk juggling a baby and a laptop, maybe also a spatula.
Feminist bloggers have enjoyed poking fun at these hackneyed images for quite a while now (think Edith Zimmerman’s “Women Laughing Alone With Salad” classic in The Hairpin or Emily Shornick’s compilation of pseudo-feminist stock photos in The Cut). Now it’s reached the attention of people inclined to do something about it.
On Monday, Sheryl Sandberg’s organization, LeanIn.org, announced a partnership with Getty Images, one of the biggest providers of stock photos, aimed at depicting women in more empowering ways. “When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see,” Sandberg told the The New York Times. (Note: Getty provides most of the editorial photos used by National Journal.)
There are 2,500 photos in the collection and a lot of attention has been paid to the women who’ve been portrayed as soldiers, painters, and weight lifters, tattooed and wrinkled and covered in sweat. But just as important to the project, and so far largely ignored, is the role of men. One photo portrays a dad with his daughter thrown over his shoulder under a leafy green canopy; another shows a father skewering a roasted marshmallow to help his daughter make a s’more; a third shows a father lifting an admittedly disgruntled baby into the air and kissing her fat cheek; a fourth shows a dad changing his kid’s diaper.
It’s the visual corollary to what The New Republic‘s Marc Tracy described in his piece about the rise of the so-called “Daddy Wars,” wherein men begin to expose themselves to the same work/life balance pressures women have been grappling with for decades. We see it in the founding of Kindling Quarterly — a journal devoted to the subject of fatherhood founded by two Brooklynite thirty-somethings — which was subsequently written up as a “Talk of the Town” subject. We see it in Esquire in Richard Dorment’s response to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Can Women Have It All” classic: “Why Men Still Can’t Have It All.” And now … we see it in stock photos.
“One of the quickest ways to make people think differently about something is to change the visuals around it,” Cindy Gallop, who started the United States branch of Bartle Bogle Hegarty advertising agency, told The New York Times. “The thing about these images is they work on an unconscious level to reinforce what people think people should be like.”
This won’t stop people from writing terrible think pieces about whether women can work and have kids and not be robots or evil-power Smurfs who crush men under their pointy heels. But at least the authors of those stories (and others!) will have some better photos to choose from.
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Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."
In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.
"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.
Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.
The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."