Okay, everyone: Are you ready to see the most popular feminist stock photo from the Sheryl Sandberg/Getty Images Lean In Collection? Sandberg and Getty revealed on Wednesday during a Cannes Lions advertising awards panel that the most downloaded image from the collection is the one seen below. It’s called “Designers examining sample shoes on floor,” with its lengthier caption describing it as, “Designers examining sample shoes and design drawings on floor of design office.” How do you feel about it? Love it? Hate it? “Meh” about it?
As NY Mag’s The Cut noted, “It is kind of an accurate representation of feminism in 2014, right? For better or for worse! It’s like, I, a woman of a healthy BMI, am not ashamed to love shoes! I demand the right to design them alongside my male and nonwhite peers.” This is true, and in some ways, it’s kind of great: I mean, we’ve got a woman who clearly means business and a nonwhite dude carefully considering the typically female topic of shoes, but in a way that’s not all girly and offensive. I’ll admit that the shoes thing kind of makes me go, “…Well… but… did it have to be shoes?”… but maybe that’s just me.
It’s far and beyond better than any of other photos that pop up when you search for “strong women.”Sandberg announced the Lean In/Getty collaboration back in February, with the goal being to create a collection of stock photos portraying women in a positive light. No more “Women Laughing Alone With Salad”; no more weird, sexist images of “strong women”; no more undermining women by snapping them in unnecessarily sexy poses. Said Sandberg at the time, “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.” And happily, the Lean In Collection has been a great hit; shoes notwithstanding, images like the ones seen in the collection give me faith that stock photography can evolve for the better — and if representations of women can improve, then how the world views women at large can improve.
So, I mean, hey. It’s a start. And if we have our say, we’ll keep moving upwards from here, too. Because let’s face it: Who spends their spare time laughing alone with salad?!