Which are more cliché: stock photos of hackers or stock photos of working moms? Stock photos of hackers tend to feature people in hoodies (presumably men) using computers in dark, shadowy places. Typical stock photos of working moms show frazzled women working, usually while holding a baby. Enough with the stereotypes! Women (even mothers) can be hackers, which means that hackers can be working moms!
I searched recent news articles for the terms “working mom” or “hackers,” then I swapped their stock photos to put hacker images with working mom headlines and working mom images with hacker headlines. I did the swaps based primarily on the which images would best fit into each other’s layouts. Scroll through the images in the gallery, then read my reactions to the experiment below.
In general, I feel the hacker photos fit better in the working mom articles than the other way around. My reactions to seeing the hacker photos with the working mom headlines was mostly, “Wow, that’s one badass working mom!” The only exception is image 11. I think that having the word “dads” in the headline tricks my brain into assuming that the hooded figure is the dad (even though it doesn’t have to be!).
Conversely, for most of the images of working moms placed with hacker headlines I find myself imagining the woman as a hacker victim. I like to think that reaction has less to do about sexism and more to do with the overwhelmed look featured by the women in many working mom stock photos. It’s that look that makes me think of them saying “Oh, no!” more than “You’ve been pwned!”
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