Thursday, February 26, 2015

Show of hands, who wants cake?

So you've written an article on marriage equality, it's been proofed, signed off by the editor, it's ready to go. Now all you need is an image to go with the article. Everyone likes a nice picture. So now you have your choice, what will it be today?

One hand with a ring? Two hands with wedding rings? Two hands holding hands? Maybe you're bored of hands and rings, maybe it close to lunch, so what about cake? Rainbow cake?

Not in the mood for cake? Okay then, what about a wedding cake topper? Two brides or two grooms?

Maybe you're feeling radical and want to think outside the box? How about a rainbow flag, or a rainbow umbrella?

Perfect. Now your article is ready to be published. 

Only it's not. You are a journalist and you have just written about real human people, that have real human problems, and they are being represented by inanimate objects. 

I take issue with this because representation is important. Is it important to put a face to the people that are being written about, their stories, their hopes for equality. Representation is important. 

Below is a brief round up of some of the accompanying images to articles in The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, and
The Journal. 

The Irish Times 

The Irish Independent

The Journal 

The majority of these LGBT articles featured images of inanimate objects, but it's not always the case. The Irish Times article by Fintan O'Toole featured a father and daughter. 

There was also an Irish Times article on Joey Kavanagh, and his Get The Boat 2 Vote campaign.

The Journal also had some real life gay humans accompanying an article too.

But what about the balance you ask?

Here is the picture The Irish Times used for Breda O'Brien's Love is not enough article. 

This picture was the inspiration behind this whole post, so thank you Breda. Here we have what the No Campaign would call their 'perfect family'. A nice clean cut Mother and Father and two perfect kids. And the gay community? We get cakes. We get hands. We get rings. We get decapitated couples. 

So this is a request, to the journalists behind these brilliant articles (not you Breda) and to the picture editors, that the next time you are looking for a stock image to accompany an article, please pick a gay family. Pick two men in suits. Pick two women in beautiful dresses. Please represent us. 

Representation is important. 


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