Glad you didn’t turn the other cheek. Pun intended.
I’m not sorry to burst your bubble but… here’s a sizeable Likebox filled with stock photos of women doing everyday stuff – you know… like normal women do.
If you’re anything like me after running a couple of searches on stock sites, you might ask yourself this question: Why is it so hard to find photos of normal women doing normal, everyday things that most normal women do on a daily basis?
Smiling wide as they run. In reality, who does that? I’m a woman, and I am the paragon of a grimacing, sweaty, wheezing mess while I’m running. Cardio is not my thing. Some of my hair will escape the scrunchie I’ve pulled it into, and it will get matted on my forehead. The last thing I want is to be near a shutterbug going crazy with his camera.
Also, do they have to smile all the time? It’s scary.
While we’re at it, what we usually see are women grinning as they hold up an enormous bowl of salad. Or perhaps a woman would be laughing within radius of a plate of fresh lettuce.
I get that it’s healthy, but some concepts can slide over to the extreme side of the spectrum.
I’m not knocking any fancy, magic weight loss diets that have been grown in a lab. People are free to eat whatever they want. But the truth is, we don’t really see many men giggling around veggies. (Except for this guy. He’s having fun.) There seems to be a lack of photos with men smiling as they clean tabletops, smirking as they’re doing the laundry or grinning as they get down on their knees scrubbing floors.
Recreational activities and hobbies aside – what about women portrayed in everyday work scenes? Forget those businesswomen in professional dark-colored blazers giving the camera a thumbs up, I’m talking about the everyday heroines doing their makeup on their morning work commute because they’re running a little late.
Maybe it takes them an hour to get to their workplace. Sometimes they’re leaning against the window trying to catch forty winks because their baby was sick and kept crying all night. They’re exhausted to the bone, and it’s only the start of the day. They’ve just dropped their toddler off at a creche. They’ve just sent their kid off down the block where the school bus picks them up.
I mean, really – it’s tough smiling like a madwoman all day as I waddle about doing gardening work.
Picture this – I suck in a deep breath of oxygen and grit my teeth before I proceed to endure the ache in my arms that come from lifting heavy potted plants and staggering around my florist shop. I wince as my back twinges with the strain of continuously leaning down to check if I’ve added enough fertilizer to the flower pots littered around my store. My hands are smudged with dirt and the soil from the latest batch of orchids I’ve been trying to transfer. I’ve got dirt on my clothes where the apron doesn’t cover.
While I’m in the zone at work, I’m fine with looking a lot less than perfect.
All Shapes And Sizes
Here’s a woman who doesn’t fit into the stereotypical Asian features people expect to see. Her eyes are real narrow and you can barely see her eyelashes – typical, right? But get this – how astounding is it that she’s defying the cultural fixation by not being skinny?!
There seems to be a neverending correlation between women and weight, especially in photography everywhere. I mean it – you don’t see plus-sized women on many billboard ads. Larger women are usually used as an additional humorous element – you know… the underlying critical fat-shaming masked as a mandatory piece of comedic relief. Cue the tiny waists, airbrushed cheeks, a distinct lack of braces or crooked teeth, gap teeth, acne, freckles, cellulite, wrinkles, dimples.
Why can’t a straight woman have a shaved head and uneven teeth without being called a lesbian? If she posts this photo of herself on Instagram, be sure to check out the distinct lack of likes and positive comments she’ll receive.
Stock images of women enhances the ideals society has about the female face and body, rather than the actual flaws and natural shapes real women have.Ain’t that the truth?
What About Women At Work?
Honestly, I don’t see enough photos of women in tech, science, or engineering. Women who do hard labor, women actually working in construction (you’ll see why in a second), female architects, builders, crafters, designers. In short – women who are doing actual work and not just posing for the sake of the camera.
Women depicted in overly sexualized themes have slid into the norm so much that we barely bat an eyelid at these photos anymore. We’re wired to ignore it and stay immune to what we see on media.
In reality, women who do work in hard labor conditions don’t look as airbrushed as the ones we see in stock photos. I know that they’re sunburnt or freckled, brows furrowed as they concentrate on their job. They come in all shapes and sizes.
Their work gear isn’t meant to look sexy or attractive – it’s meant to protect their bodies from hazardous substances present in their work environment. These women have masks strapped over their mouths and noses, with safety glasses and gloves on to avoid inhaling hazardous fumes, getting sliced or burnt by chemicals. At most, they’ve also got hard hats on to protect their brains from turning into mush after trenches collapse in work site mishaps.
Let’s quit the cliche stuff. It’s 2019, and we’ve sailed far away from that island. Yes to stock images of diverse women doing their thing.