Sheryl Sandberg isn’t just telling women to lean in anymore, she’s showing them how.
Sandberg thinks that the current crop of stock images used by media outlets is harming women by showing them in outdated power suits or happily performing housework. So the former Facebook executive’s nonprofit, LeanIn.org, is partnering with Getty Images, one of the main suppliers of stock images, to offer a new collection of photos.
So what counts as an empowering activity for a woman to perform in 2014? Contra the definitive Onion article on the subject, it isn’t quite everything.
A quick browse through the gallery reveals the kinds of visuals that Sandberg thinks can strike a blow against sexism: Women engaging in sports definitely qualifies, and even the clichéd image of a woman in boxing gloves can be empowering with the right lighting. Sandberg also wants women to know that they can do a variety of outdoor activities, in addition to working out in the gym: Rock climbing, hiking, wielding a shovel in an urban garden, jogging, you name it. And riding a bike is as sure a way to signal emancipation as it was in 1890, whether you’re taking your fixed gear for a spin in Brooklyn or commuting to work in Manhattan.
But the main innovation of the last few decades that serves as evidence we’ve moved beyond stereotypical ideas of women in the workplace is the iPad. Just the act of holding a tablet and wearing Warby Parker glasses in an office with floor-to-ceiling windows, apparently, says, “I am shattering glass ceilings.”
Men do have a role in empowering women by the megapixel. They can change diapers, walk through a flower market with a baby strapped to their chest, and hang out with their toddler on the stoop of their brownstone. A man can also be supportive of his working wife by lovingly looking over her shoulder while she types on her laptop.
“The partnership is a way for Lean In to broaden its reach after criticism that Ms. Sandberg’s advice is relevant only to women in corporate America,” according to the Times.
— Katherine Connell is an associate editor at National Review.