Monday, December 9, 2013

"How to be a feminist according to stock photography" - by 22Words

A short, hilarious look at the stock images NY Mag uses to describe feminists.

 "Ladies, you may think you’re feminists, but it turns out you’re probably doing it all wrong…

The folks over at NY Mag use a lot of stock photos in their business. They also have a lot to say about women’s rights. So naturally, from time to time, they use stock photos in pieces about empowering women.

Putting their experience to good use, they collected a variety of images that come up when you search terms such as “feminist,” “girl power,” or “career woman” on stock photography sites.

It turns out you can learn a lot about how to empower yourself as a woman from this exercise. Here are some of the key takeaways…"


  1. It's striking to see how many of the pictures are of the same subject matter--boxing, climbing, stepping on other people, standing alone on cliffs, etc.
    The whole idea of identifying a feminist by what she looks like is troubling.
    What I think is most interesting about these pictures is that all the 'feminists' (with exception to the scantily clad construction workers) look like they are from the corporate world. The pictures label feminists as working women and neglect to include a range of other feminists outside the business world (in lower income jobs, raising their families, etc.).

  2. I think these pictures present a very one-sided view of feminism by limiting a feminist's role to the corporate world, particularly emphasized by pictures showing women wearing professional business attire. I also think the article focuses entirely on the wrong side of feminism -- how to look like a feminist rather than how to act like one. It is disappointing because feminism can be an empowering mechanism to get women to engage themselves to improve the lives of other women, but this article does exactly the opposite by characterizing a feminist by her attire and looks. As Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie puts it, "a feminist is a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes." I wonder why you have to look a certain way in order to have a certain set of beliefs.