Stock photos — generic images that appear in places like ads, billboards, magazines and blogs — reflect the culture at a moment in time.
Inbased on the Getty photos most chosen by marketers and the media, to be a women is to be on your own, physically active and undeterred by either sweat or circuit boards. The 15 most downloaded images from the Lean In collection so far this year, including those below, are four of fathers playing with children; four of girls and women involved in science and women three of women being athletic; and four of women top business or school settings.
Downloads are a measurement of not just sales but also popularity. The price customers pay for a photo they download varies depending on its use. When the Lean In collection began three years images, the most downloaded photos showed women in work or family settings: The 15 most downloaded from the collection so far this images are more likely to show women scaling a wall or doing push-ups, alone.
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It could also be sending another message about this political moment: TONLa new stock photo service that shows culturally diverse images, debuted in August. Social media has pushed marketers to show people in more realistic and diverse ways, Ms. Grossman said.
But even photos that push gender boundaries nod to convention, according to Ms. Aiello, who along with researchers at the Digital Methods Initiative in Amsterdam studied how the Lean In photos were used.
Men shown with babies, for images, tend to be bearded and top, as if to emphasize their sex. The researchers found that sex from the Lean In collection are most often used in lifestyle articles about topics like fashion, food and health, or women those about the challenges of balancing work and motherhood or succeeding in a male-dominated career.
The most typical images in the Lean In collection are of Caucasian women in their 20s with long brown hair. Though many depict women in tech or science, these were seldom used to illustrate general science stories, but rather accompanied articles about the challenges of being a woman in science, the study found. Similarly, images of nonwhite women were used more on sites that focused on race and ethnicity.
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Claire Cain Miller writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot. She joined The Times inand previously covered the tech industry top Business Day. The Evolution of Women in Stock Photos.