LinkedIn removes ads for web developer because "women images" are offensive


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“Women images”. As if “images” by default is male or something. I found that particularly … ugh.


One more mark against LinkedIn. What are they good for, again?


As a woman engineer the example ad in their blog screams “porn ad” to me since the common style of ad for all those hot singles in your area looks exactly like that. I guess when I see ads for a job I don’t expect to see fancy headshots of people, maybe the company’s logo or something.

That said, I wouldn’t have banned the ad if I worked for LinkedIn. There is nothing actually wrong or offensive about it at all.


So a bit clavicle and a small glimpse of the left shoulder of an attractive woman screams “porn ad”?

This is, quite frankly, offensive and thought process the linked article was outraged by. I just… sigh.

“OH! It’s a woman?! I can see her shoulder? OH NO! PORN!”

There is nothing actually wrong or offensive about it at all.

There’s nothing that screams “porn ad”, either.


I agree that the image in question doesn’t really look like an ad for engineers and looks more like “hot singles in your area” as you say:

The moment I say this, though, I’m immediately opening myself up to the criticism that I’m somehow suggesting that women, hot or not, shouldn’t work as software developers. That’s not what I’m saying at all.

Rather, I just wonder whether the choice of headshots was directed more towards men who might notice the ads, rather than women who would be happy to see a female engineer in an ad.

Since it looks like it’s directed towards men, it seems like just another case of using pretty women to generate clicks, and so I can see some LinkedIn members thinking the ads are sexist.


Don’t freak out, I didn’t mention anything about her clothing or posture. Its a nice headshot of a woman next to an ad for a job. Seems out of the ordinary for trying to hire engineers of any gender for any development position, unless as @SamSam mentions, you are just trying to generate clicks rather than qualified candidates.

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Why would there be photos attached to a resume in the first place? That seems rather inappropriate no matter who it is or what they look like.


Because it’s a hot woman next to ad copy that looks precisely like porno websites ad copy.

It’ll trap plenty of hiring managers.


I didn’t “freak out”.

One really can’t judge this based on one photo ad. Toptal, how about posting all of them? Not only would this support your position it would also be good publicity.


WTF? Seriously, WTF?

This is just incredibly disturbing and I can’t even wrap my mind around it…

…people actually use LinkedIn?


I read the longer post on the Toptal website, then the comments there. Curious to see the whole pool of employee profile pics that they had to choose from, I went poking around their website.

None of the “top developers” shown in their banner are women. I clicked through every one of their sample developer profiles at the bottom of the page and none of them were women. I looked at their “Team” page, and no one on their team is female.

I find it hard to believe that they are heroes fighting the good fight for women’s inclusion and respect in the tech industry. I find it hard to believe that they chose to highlight the photos of certain female employees to celebrate the “diversity” of their team. Maybe as one commenter here says, they are using the profile photos of their female engineers to appeal to a male audience and not a female one. I suspect that’s likely, unless they realize their diversity problem and are trying to attract women to eradicate it. Either way, they lucked out in getting banned from LinkedIn, and now they are using LinkedIn’s response to make themselves out to appear heroic and feminist and generate links through blogs like this one,


I suspect their “woman engineer” is a model. I’ve been trying to find some of her other work.

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That is not just an image where the nice lady just looks “sharp, well-dressed, and happy”. If they say she’s an engineer that they’ve placed, fine. However, that woman is not dressed professionally–she’s dressed like she’s ready for a night on the town. It’s a bit disingenuous to classify that picture as just another picture of a typical female engineer.


They say she’s an engineer, and that isn’t a stock photo, or at least the only hits I can reverse search on Google come back to this story.

But it does look a bit like the creepy online dating adverts you see. Why use a photo of anyone for this advert? (as others have mentioned, probably because male managers are more likely to click on the ad if there’s a picture of a purty laydee).

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I don’t want to freak out but what exactly do you mean by this? Having a photo at all? Having a photo of a woman?

A professional work picture shows you in work clothes. People are holding women to a different standard than men in this case.

I am a feminist. But I smell viral marketing here.


The woman in question is a web developer who works for toptal. She is wearing clothes that many women (engineers included) would wear to work in quite a number of places. Their site doesn’t have any women shown on it which is a disappointment. The text of the ad is terrible and certainly should be reviewed.

HOWEVER - it was not the text that got the ad pulled. It was the images. “we had to reject the ads on the TopTal business ads account as many LinkedIn members complained about the women images you were using.” “If you agree to change the images on your ads, we will un-restrict the account”
I haven’t seen the images of men but I have seen references to them existing. Usually when advertising people use the most attractive people the can so I am not surprised that the woman is good looking.

So the question is - what is wrong with having a photo of a woman on an ad for an engineering job?