12 Sexist Stock Photos That Prove This Imagery Needs an Overhaul

Sexism and stock image photography go together like Miley Cyrus and hot pants, but fortunately, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is changing the stock photo game. Her non-profit organization Lean In recently partnered with Getty Images to produce a gallery of images that represent women in a positive (and very non sexist) way. But before we do a happy dance over these beautiful new photos, let’s reflect on what we’re used to seeing on these sites: highly sexualized, unrealistic, and downright cheesy portrayals of women. We entered a few phrases related to "strong women" into a stock image site search tool, and this is what we found. Sigh.

by Marisa Riley

"Strong Woman"

Well…she does look strong, in a literal sense.

"Empowering Women"

The next time I need to feel more empowered I’ll just hold a frying pan?


Nothing says feminism like a white body suit and an American flag.


Someone wasn’t listening in their gender studies class.


Ladies and gentleman, this is one of the many images stock photography uses to define a “woman.”

"Working Woman"

And she’s wearing pink, no less!

"Career Woman"

Because you can’t climb the corporate ladder without your heels on!

"Female Athlete"

Spandex pants would not have been revealing enough, clearly.


The first photo that comes up when searching “female”, since looking hot while in the shower is clearly a definitive characteristic of the gender.

"Woman in the Workplace"

How else are we gonna get ahead, ya know?

"Female Boss"

This isn’t what any of my female bosses have spent their time doing.

"Girl Power"

This photo doesn’t make me feel particularly empowered.