There is no single image that encompasses what a millennial Muslim woman looks like. And yet, there is a certain one-dimensional narrative that emerges based on the visuals that we tend to see in the media: She is Middle Eastern, she wears a hijab, and she dresses in all-black attire. It's this singular, inaccurate characterization that Getty Images and Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, the founder and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com, hope to challenge through their new collection of stock photos.
The collection, which launched today, presents a far more diverse representation of what it means to be a Muslim woman in 2017.
"We wanted to allow this first collection to really capture the spectrum of Muslim women," Al-Khatahtbeh told Refinery29. "There are women of different skin colors and body types, women who choose to veil and women who choose not to."
The case of the latter was something that was especially important for Al-Khatahtbeh to address. "[Veils] are one of the most homogenous ways that Muslim women are categorized and it is so perpetuated by imagery," she said. "It has a political impact on policy, public opinion, and things that we see unfolding on a national scale today."
Al-Khatahtbeh hopes this first collection of 41 photos will be the first of many. All of the photos were shot by a young Muslim woman and portray millennial women doing what they do in everyday life: exercise, snap selfies, go to work, and hang with friends.
This is not the first time Getty has worked to challenge stereotyped representations of women. Late last year, the photo agency partnered with Refinery29 for the 67% Project to fight unconscious size bias and show women of all body types.
"We know that positive imagery can help communities feel empowered and that images affect how people see themselves," Claudia Marks, a senior art director in Getty's creative department, told us.
In a press release announcing today's launch, Getty's director of visual trends, Pam Grossman, said that searches for "Muslim" increased by over 100% in the past year, making it especially important that what people are seeing is truthful, and that it doesn't reinforce outdated stereotypes.