Photo Experiment Updates

One thing I thought would be fun with my experiment on blog photos would be a riff of the “working woman” stock photo. You know, she with the briefcase and heels, climbing ladders with a smile on her face.

(Such nice tall ladders.) And I still will probably do that. But first, a brief moment of WTFery for the ridiculous creature that is the Working Woman stock photo.

Yep. I totally go to work like this all the time.

Oh for sure. Babies are so cooperative.

Every day man. Dark suit. Hair up. Smile.

“Hi. I want this job so badly, I wore my nicest suit and exposed my breasts. Nice to meet you.”

To be fair, the fourth–dark suit girl–is the most typical shot: a young, slim, very attractive woman with a dark suit and a big smile. Because yes, in point of fact, we all do grin like idiots while we’re working. And our desks are as lovely as our faces, with no inconvenient traces of actual work to be seen.

I wondered, though. What would I get if I looked for Working Man stock photos?

For one thing, they’re older and they don’t smile so much.


For another, sometimes they’re women.

Very masculine.

ETA: How could I have forgotten the most important difference! The stock photos of Working Men don’t have babies in them. (Carry on.)

14 thoughts on “Photo Experiment Updates

  1. I write this from a library study cubicle, in a dark suit, silk blouse, and hose (hose?!), with 3.5-inch heels stashed in my bag for pre-interview swappage. At least the ladder seems fun (if a hair dangerous).

  2. Definitely should be one of a sexy working female sitting on top of her desk, legs crossed, either examining something in a manilla folder or leaning over talking to a male coworker. Possibly chewing on her fingernail (sexily) while obviously straining to process a thought.

  3. Erf, I had a design job that involved extensive selection of stock images. It was a tough job for someone interested in reversing (or at least not reinforcing) gender stereotypes.I do like how biz-baby is typing notes for biz-mom.

    1. You just know that for every one shot of biz-baby peeking adorably at biz-mom while sitting happily on her lap, there had to be a hundred of biz-baby wanting to get down, pound the keyboard, be nursed, pull biz-mom’s hair, scatter her papers on the floor, or otherwise act like a real live baby. But it did make for a cute shot.

      What do you think of the Lean In stock photo initiative I’ve seen mentioned?

      1. I had to look it up, but then remembered I had seen it mentioned in the NY Times. I don’t know too much about Lean In, but the current stock photo choices were so abysmal when I was doing that work that I think any attention paid to creating imagery that portrays women more accurately and expansively is positive. Getty was way too expensive for the company I worked for but I’ll bet the lower-priced stock photo companies will follow their lead if these images prove profitable.

      2. I’m not any kind of stock-photo industry expert, so I’m very happy to pick the brains of someone who knows more about it than I do. 🙂 I hope you’re right. Anything, really, that helps to counter stereotypes about women.

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