This week’s dinner table topic focuses on a strategy Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) is using to disrupt stereotypes about age and gender, two demographics Johanna Blakley touches on in her TED talk “Social Media and the End of Gender.” As you may have read, Sandberg recently teamed with Getty Images to develop a Lean In stock photo portfolio. If you’d like, read the NYT article about the partnership and/or spend a few minutes perusing the image collection.
Quotation: Sandberg asserts, “You can’t be what you can’t see. In an age where media are all around us, it is critical that images provide examples that both women and men can emulate” (quoted in Ciambriello).
Question: Concern about visual stereotypes in the media isn’t new, but how have changes in the media landscape over the last decade (since this year is Facebook’s 10th anniversary) changed the power of visual stereotypes and our conversation about them? Consider one or more of these sub-questions:
- In what ways are different age groups stereotyped visually in the media? What impact does this have?
- What sorts of stereotypical images in the media concern you the most (they could be related to age, gender, or something else)? Why?
- How do you counteract stereotypical images that don’t affirm your values? Share stories of positive impacts your strategies have had.
- As you peruse the images in Getty’s Lean In collection, select one or two you wish you’d seen more often when you were younger and/or one or two that you don’t like. Talk about why.
- In our current media landscape, what limitations are there to projects like Getty’s collection truly disrupting underlying stereotypes?