photographic agency Getty Images And iStockIts e-commerce platform for SMBs, SMEs and creatives has recently seen a huge explosion of interest in the women’s sport in the UK following the success of Lioness. [the England Women’s football team] Women in Euro. Over the past 12 months, there has been a 125 percent increase in visual searches for women’s soccer on iStock, indicating that conversations between women and girls in the sport are beginning to accumulate.
To help sports rights-holders and brands navigate this space, Getty Images has created a set of practical guidelines Creating a fair and inclusive visual representation of female athletes. Jacqueline Bourke, Director of Creative Insights and Head of EMEA at Getty Images, explains the key things to consider.
What inspired the creation of Getty’s Women and Girls in Sport Guidelines?
Getty Images has long been an ardent champion of authentic and inclusive representation of women and girls in sport, and there is a need to work on multiple fronts to bring forward transformational equity.
We created the Women’s and Girls’ Sports Guidelines with the aim of stimulating discussion and helping creatives, marketers, art directors and curators practically, to understand how to better select or create visual content that really works. Will move towards fair and inclusive visual storytelling around women and girls. In play. We’ve heard directly from female athletes that they feel pressured to limit the range of their emotional expressions in order to secure and maintain brand sponsorship, and we believe that media companies, brands and sports rights-holders are on the scene. By rethinking, women can change the perception of sports. they use.
How did you analyze consumer sentiment and what did you learn?
We launched our creative insights platform visual gps Two years ago on Getty Images and iStock, which is a worthwhile extension of our long-standing visual content expertise. VisualGPS pulls together 2.6 billion annual photography searches from more than 842,000 customers in nearly every country around the world, coupled with the image testing and custom market research we do with MarketCast to understand consumer sentiment, and the extensive creative search. Drawing on the visual expertise department at Getty Images and iStock. What we are increasingly seeing, as we survey at least 7,000 people in 25 countries, is that consumers actually want to see sports organizations do more for women’s sports.
Seventy-two percent of respondents agree that sports organizations and brands can do more to promote women’s teams and female stars, an increase of six percent since 2021. Research has also shown that 78 percent want female athletes to get the same. coverage as their male counterparts, and this is across people of all genders and in all the areas we looked at. Our findings suggest that closing the visibility gap and re-imagining a new world for women’s sport has never been so important.
What kind of trends did you see regarding the use of imagery during the recent UEFA Women’s Euro?
The most popular game scenes on Getty Images during the Women’s Euro were the lioness lifting the trophy and the much talked about iconic moment of Chloe Kelly taking off her top while celebrating her winning goal on the pitch. This growing interest suggests that sport has a unique opportunity to close the visibility gap with authentic representation and unbiased visual storytelling about women and girls.
And how can photography help promote fair and inclusive depictions of women’s sport?
One of the key findings of our VisualGPS research is that 75 percent of consumers want to portray female athletes in a way that focuses on their skills and their athleticism, rather than their beauty, their glamor or their sex appeal. And then, the percentage of consumers and sports fans who want to see it increased by three percent in 2022 versus 2021.
We also felt it was very important to understand how female athletes wanted to be represented visually. In the UK, we have conducted workshops with female athletes from a variety of sports, as well as with the Women’s Sports Trust. [which aims to raise the visibility and awareness of women’s sport], There isn’t a look that all the women and girls involved in sports, or those who want to participate in sports, would relate. We believe it is important to understand how to bring about an inclusive lens that speaks to the different layers of identity for women and girls to truly relate with authentic visuals in media, brand communication and advertising.
What problems have female athletes faced in their photographic depictions in the past?
The guidelines focus heavily on showing emotional expression and empowerment of the body. A strong finding from our research is that 60 percent of fans want female athletes to fully express who they are and have a full range of expressions, and it was interesting to hear from female athletes on the subject. Some of the examples he shared were abbreviations for headshot photos. Female rugby players are allowed to be seen as more aggressive or too strong in visual communication, while for some other sports – take gymnastics for example – there is a different level of expectation in how they may appear.
Can imagery and photography have an impact on sport participation?
I think it’s important to think about the role of body positivity, making sure female athletes of all shapes, sizes, types and abilities are represented. There is no one cliché or stereotype of what a body might look like, and it has a huge impact on encouraging women and little girls to participate in sports. When we ask consumers and sports fans which scene they relate to the most, it is the scenes of real people whose bodies are involved in a wide variety of sports in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and abilities.
In the history of sports science research, female physiology has often been abandoned. There is a long legacy of equipment and kit, particularly at the grassroots level, heavily reliant on male physiology. How is female physiology understood when it comes to performance? We first see a lot of conversation, especially when it comes to the visuals in commercials, starting to speak about understanding menstruation, for example, in sports, from performance to participation. Understanding how you encourage greater sports participation, especially where there are drop-offs in sports participation after puberty, or equally in women in mid-life experiencing perimenopause or menopause, also really important.
During the COVID pandemic, we wanted to make sure we were helping to bring the visibility of the women’s sport to the fore. But at the same time, understanding how we can reach women between the ages of 40 and 55 who are going through either perimenopause or menopause, and how we can help create a relatable view that encourages them to participate in sports. I will encourage. For this, we partnered with Women in Sport and created a gallery of content It showed women in midlife from across Britain, and how they transformed their back gardens, garages and local parks into their gyms and sports recreation areas to keep themselves active. The creation of the gallery is 100 percent driven by women, with the ideas behind the lens, the creative direction, from photographers and videographers, capturing the stories of these incredible women sharing their lives in the gallery’s curation – to be sure That visual storytelling is very authentic, relatable and ultimately drives people to action. We have seen great success and engagement with this gallery and the content is being accessed by our clients in many countries around the world, despite being shot only in the UK.
What are the key findings of the Women in Sport Guidelines?
The COVID pandemic has highlighted the power of sports to improve mental health, and an important one, that the emotional benefits are now more important for consumers and sports enthusiasts than the physical aspect of sports. Sixty-eight percent of consumers believe that athletes and sports organizations should talk more about mental health, and female sports stars such as Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles have begun to lead the cultural conversation about mental health. When choosing scenes around women and girls in sports, sports brands and rights-holders should consider how they are challenging the social stigma within the scenes they create or choose. For example, getting athletes support from female coaching staff or bringing a more inclusive lens to people participating in sports at all levels.