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Finally, Stock Photos That Look Like Real Women

Thanks to a high-powered business woman and a formidable photo agency, things should start looking a lot more like real life

They bombard us at every turn; The bewildered-yet-perfectly coiffed mom up to her eyeballs in laundry. The mother with a baby strapped to her back, a cell phone glued to her ear and a laptop open on a messy kitchen counter. The June Cleaver-y wife/mom setting the perfect breakfast down in front of her perfect kids as her perfect husband, briefcase in hand, leaves for work.

Stock photos are everywhere. You write a blog post, magazine article, etc. and need an image, you pour through the online catalogs of one of the many image banks until you find the perfect one to illustrate your point.

The problem? The preponderance of these images verge on cheesy, feature predominantly white models and, as Sheryl Sandberg, she of Facebook executive and "Lean In" fame, says, help to perpetuate dated feminine stereotypes.

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To remedy this situation and help send a better message to the viewing public -- especially young girls -- Sandberg joined forces with one of the industry's biggest players, Getty Images, to curate a collection of photographs that better represent today's woman in all of her multi-ethnic, multi-faceted glory.

"When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we're trying to overcome, and you can't be what you can't see," Sandberg says.

And, while offering up more relevant stock imagery might not seem that important, Cindy Gallop, a seasoned advertising executive would disagree. "One of the quickest ways to make people think differently about something is to change the visuals around it," she says. "These [new] images work on an unconscious level to reinforce what people think people should be like."

After all, ours is a society that looks to imagery at every turn. One just has to consider Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube or, yes, Facebook to realize what an impact a simple image can have.

"Imagery has become the communication medium of this generation," says Jonathan Klein, Getty's co-founder and CEO. "That really means how people are portrayed visually is going to have more influence on how people are seen and perceived than anything else."

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