For a long time I've felt troubled by the stock photography aimed at - and used by female entrepreneurs.
Not only did it not align with the women I see in REAL LIFE around me - but it also made ME feel somehow 'inadequate' because I don't look like those glossy women - and so, I held back from running my business the way I WANTED to.
The photos often shown to us are 1) pink-themed, 2) impossibly slim and beautiful white women.
I remember sitting in an office at the Student Union at University and there was a poster on the wall which read "there are 3 billion women on the planet - and only 7 of them are supermodels" - yet, were you to base your ideas of "womanhood" on the marketing photography you see in the Online space, then you could be mistaken for thinking every single online entrepreneur out there had a previous career on the pages of Vogue!
Not only do I see photos which have no bodily representation - but they're also really thin on the ground for non-white women.
I use a paid stock photo site - which granted is waaaaaay better than the free sites - and you're not running risk of accidentally using a photo which has been illegally uploaded to the free site... yep, it happens!
It makes searches easier and there's usually a better quality and greater variety.
I love bold visuals. I love luscious portraits of decadent women reclining on couches, 40s/50s/60s style glamour, pop-art - and almost anything where the woman's wearing a "fuck you" face!
But when I search for "plus-size" or "fat women", I'd say a fair number of the images returned in these searches show a woman seasoning her green salad with salty tears, hauling on fitness wear or stood on a pair of scales in her underwear.
Don't know where YOU are with your weight - but despite me being very much overweight - I'm a woman. I walk, I run, I work, I play, I eat salad - but fuck me, there's more to my life than crying about my weight!
Where are the images of women who look like me? Overweight - but reasonably well-dressed, rolling her eyes at the latest slice of shit of life?
What about the images of black women? Ooof - even HARDER to find an overweight black woman. Sure... there are photos of black women - but overwhelmingly challengers to Tyra Banks - not the woman stood behind you in the checkout queue or sharing a joke at school pick-up.
It's insulting to ALL of us!
It brings us back to measuring our value and "womanhood" in terms of beauty, thinness and common or garden "sex appeal".
And I am soooooooo over that! Approaching 50, I give exactly ZERO FUCKS whether others find me attractive or not - I'm me. Just me. Just me and my brains doing my stuff.
Stock photography is SLOWLY getting better - but I implore you, to go further, go harder and search out these images for your marketing which represent women like you, your family, your friends, women in your circles.
Of course there are beautiful women out there and nobody is denying that - but to build a business around looks alone does a disservice to us all.