While there will always be photos of political and business leaders, who more often are men, editors need to make an effort to use more pictures of women and visible-minority members, writes public editor Sylvia Stead. 

By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

A reader from London, Ont., wrote this week to say she was annoyed with the weekend photo essay on the Toronto International Film Festival that featured eight photos: four centred on male stars, two fan photos and two showing the shoes of women stars.

“Two female stars and only their feet. Come on! Haven’t we got past the days when women are portrayed as clothes horses? You can do much better than that. Review the whole front section of the Saturday paper and you will notice a similar lack of effort to portray women’s faces – oh, except the gamine on the front page. Your unconscious omission has significant consequences. Both men and women are seeing with their eyes that only men are newsworthy. Shame!”

Her comment about not enough photos of women in the paper is fair. On Saturday, in addition to small shots of Globe and Mail writers, there were photos of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Alberta premier-designate Jim Prentice, Father of Confederation George-Étienne Cartier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, slain teenager Tina Fontaine and author Margaret Atwood.

While The Globe’s photo and page editors say they try to show more women and members of visible minorities, the reader’s complaint is a good reminder to keep trying. While there will always be photos of political and business leaders, who more often are men, editors need to make an effort to use more pictures of women and visible-minority members.

The reader’s point on the one day of TIFF photos needs some context. I found it an interesting twist on the regular film-festival coverage to focus on the stars’ shoes as a one-time novelty. Unlike photos of business and political leaders, pictures of actors on the red carpet are interesting in large part because of what they are wearing, and shoe fashion is part of it.

To continue reading this column, please go theglobeandmail.com where this was originally published. 


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