Stock Images Are Bias
by Rebekah Dull
First of all, I want to address the definition of bias which is “prejudice in favor or against one thing, person, or group… usually in a way considered to be unfair.” So what I’m saying by bias is unfair. I truly believe that stock images are bias against race and gender. Let me tell you how I came across this revelation.
April is Make Every Dream Count month for Dream Big Community Center, a fantastic nonprofit organization in Vancouver, Washington that helps youth pursue their dreams. During this month I put together a project in which we questioned the youth in our programs. It was more like a “finish the sentence” survey. Here is the type of sentences they had to finish:
- “I want my dream to count because…”
- “Did you know I …”
- “My dream is to be…”
- “I need…. to pursue my dream.”
If you check out this Facebook page and scroll back to April, 2015 you will see the work I put into showcasing the youth I surveyed. I got answers like “teacher”, “business man” “firefighter” and “doctor.” These are pretty typical answers because society has taught us to go for the average. Something safe, so this didn’t surprise me. What did surprise was the images that came up when I searched for pictures to make the survey answers pop for each student.
If you do a simple search for “business man” you will find plenty of white men in suits. I was pretty disappointed when I had to search “African American Businessman” to find a photo that would respectfully represent my student. This to me is stock images being bias (unfair) in the aspect of race. Why should I have to search “insert race” business man to find someone of color in that profession?
If you do a simple search for “firefighter” you will find men dressed in their firefighting gear. Who says women can’t be firefighters? I was saddened to see halfway down the page was a women dressed provocatively in a “firefighter’s” suit, which really wasn’t a firefighter’s suit at all. Hint the quotations. This to me is stock images being bias against gender. Why must a firefighter be a man? Why must the only firefighter female be clearly dressed to party, not save life’s?
Here is to ALL the men and women treated unfairly due to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and anything else I am missing. Do not let Google search nor stock images demonstrate what you or anyone else should look like.
Be beautiful being you!
Rebekah A. Dull, Scoliosis Surgery Survivor, CEO of My Life, and COO of My Dreams
September 9, 2018
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