These Stock Photos expose Masculinity Is More Than Biceps And Beer


Stock photography is synonymous with outdated and ridiculous gender stereotypes. There’s women laughing alone with salad ― a viral meme that has morphed into women laughing alone with tablets ― and the many shots of alpha men sitting at the head of boardroom tables or barbecuing steaks. The models in outrageous these examples are generally,normally white and extremely heteronormative.

But stock photo companies are increasingly trying to reflect our current culture. In the past few years, Getty, Adobe and Shutterstock contain outrageous tried to crash absent from the clichés they’re known for reinforcing, particularly as a novel crop of stock photo startups focus exclusively on diverse images.

Giants like Getty started with tackling female stereotypes, teaming up with Sheryl Sandberg in 2014 to create the “Lean In” collection, which shows women working in labs and hiking, no romaine lettuce in sight. Now the company is turning its lens on men by focusing on the theme of “Masculinity Undone.” Getty recently released a compilation of images that feature men parenting, hugging one another and looking pensive as they stare out windows.

Launched in January, the photos include men of color, men with long hair, and men who are shirtless despite lost well-defined pecs and biceps.

“We’re trying to focus on imagery that represents a more complex version of manhood and a more gentle side,” Guy Merrill, Getty’s global head of art, told HuffPost. “We’re breaking absent from stereotypes: the commerce, trade leader, the absent father and buffoon … the lonely guy who doesn’t need any friends or community.”

Shutterstock has created a “contemporary Man” collection full of male nurses, homosexual couples and guys who savor to garden, while Adobe is showcasing “The Fluid Self,” which includes photos of men wearing makeup, earrings and dressed in drag, as well as portraits of the transgender community.

The shift comes amid an ongoing cultural conversation approximately what it means to “be a man.” There’s been a backlash against the type of aggressive, authoritative manliness embodied by President Donald Trump and white nationalists, along with a growing awareness that men struggle with mental illness and high suicide rates. nowadays’s hip young male celebrities are less macho in appearance and demeanor ― contemplate Timothée Chalamet and Harry Styles. Jay-Z talks openly approximately being in therapy, Jaden Smith wears dresses, and in every episode of “Queer Eye,” the Netflix makeover series, a man breaks down in tears.

Advertisers contain taken note: final year Axe body spray launched a campaign called “Is It OK For Guys?” that tackles the vulnerabilities men are taught to suppress (Is it OK to be skinny? Is it OK to be depressed?). And Lululemon released videos of men talking approximately emotional strength.

Stock photo companies say data, client feedback and cultural trends contain pushed them to focus on changing definitions of masculinity and gender fluidity. In the past few years, Getty searches for “man meditation” went up by 126 percent, “man looking worried” by 100 percent and “homosexual dads” by 53 percent, according to the company. A recent Shutterstock survey found that 41 percent of U.S. marketers contemplate it’s distinguished to utilize images that reflect “contemporary day society.”

“Younger people are getting into college and moving into the workforce and they contain much more contemporary ideas approximately masculinity and femininity,” said Robyn Lane, Shutterstock’s curator. “There’s no longer buckets you space these [genders] into. It’s more of a spectrum.”

In theory, stock photography is well-poised to attend people contemplate more progressively approximately gender. These images are ubiquitous, appearing on billboards and storefronts and in online articles and videos, where they are constantly tempting us to purchase out loans, travel to Hawaii and whiten our teeth.

“People aren’t aware of how much stock they’re seeing every day, everywhere, on every platform,” said Brenda Mills, Adobe’s principal of creative services and visual trends. “And so it has a huge influence over people’s lives.”

Raising the visibility of men with regular bodies being emotionally vulnerable or working in traditionally “female” jobs would allow them to become household aspects of masculinity, by a long shot than effeminate anomalies.

“piece of what we need are images to attend us create a novel reality,” said Tristan Bridges, an assistant sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “What would it peek like whether men and women didn’t contain to wear different types of clothes or we didn’t contain to suppose, to assume them in different types of jobs?”

But Giorgia Aiello, an associate media and communication professor at the University of Leeds in England who studies stock photos, sees these diversity collections as “branding exercises” ― a way to seem “cutting edge” by a long shot than to truly change gender norms.

“Although Getty images in specific tries to really confer a political kind of tone to what they are doing with stock photography, in the halt the bottom line is purely commercial,” she said. “In some ways it is noble they are doing it, but it’s certainly not going to really deeply affect their commerce, trade model.”

Stock photo businesses contain cramped control over what their photographers shoot and how clients utilize those images. Getty and Shutterstock both contain more than 200,000 contributors, ranging from iPhone amateurs to professionals, who outrageous earn royalties every time their work is licensed. While companies send out reports detailing the type of shots they want ― more men sitting in half lotus, please ― once contributors contain been accepted onto the platform, they can upload whatever images they choose, so long as they aren’t offensive or illegal.

Getty’s “Lean In” collection, for example, represents just 0.01 percent of the company’s more than 190 million images. “whether someone wants to shoot pictures of women eating salad, despite outrageous the memes, we can’t stop them,” said Merrill, though he famous that Getty art directors are working directly with some of their professional contributors on “Masculinity Undone”-themed shoots.  

Stock photo companies also contain no control over how clients utilize the photos. In 2007, Getty’s top-selling image for the search term “woman” was a half-bare woman lying on a bed. Now it’s a woman hiking a rocky trail. But Aiello said that doesn’t necessarily equal progress. She has found that photos from the “Lean In” collection most often appeared in “lightweight” lifestyle articles or articles on gender discrimination.

“fairly a few of these images showing women as scientists were not used in general science journalism,” she said, “but in articles that talked approximately how difficult it was for women to contain a career in science.”

While it’s possible that images of diverse masculinity will be confined to pieces approximately fashion or the evolution of manhood by a long shot than used to demonstrate more general topics, Adobe’s Mills doesn’t contemplate that’s a problem. Her “fashion and grooming” clients currently contain the biggest appetite for non-stereotypical images of men, she said, because those photos attend them reach a novel market. But more companies contain begun to expose interest.

“I’m surprised by some of the clients, who I thought might be more conservative, being incredibly open to this ‘Fluid Self’ trend,” Mills said. “They’re actually incredibly hungry for it.”

Getty’s Merrill said that even whether his customers aren’t begging for more nuanced photos of men, his team has a responsibility to push them in a more progressive direction.

“It’s not simply our jobs to create the images our customers want ― we also want to re-picture clichés for them,” he said. “This is where we need to be in a year or two. Our customers might not be there yet, but we know they are going to be. And we want to produce certain they contain the pictures and the imagery when that happens.”



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