Washington Post's symbolic Women's March on Washington error

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/09/washington-posts-symbolic-wo.html


There’s something poignant about the error since the march was prompted by the actions and statements of a bunch of men with no real concern for what’s actually best for women.

Edited for clarity.


I can sympathize. I have a hard time remembering which is which*. Although I’d probably look it up before getting to work on the image.

*(I tend to resort to immature memory devices to help me recall, associating elements of each symbol with typical anatomical features of their related genders)


Holy Shit. That is a hell of an error.

Oh I can too, to a degree. I assume this is a stock photo, so an errant tag could have lead to this. But still, even if the designer screwed up, that is what the various editors are for.


Nope. Well, kinda. But they photoshopped a circle into a male symbol.


Ugh, yeah, I think I would have double checked WTF I was doing before spending what I assume is at least an hour or two on it.


Maybe they should just use this one, I’m sure it won’t offend anyone-


As a Prince fan, this offends me…


The Fstoppers link is dead. They seem to not have any content at that URL.
It is missing a 0 at the end:


I blame Russian hackerz.


What I love is all the creepos defending the cover as “an honest mistake” about “symbols that no one can remember” and it astonishes me because these are the agreed symbols for male and female since Middle Ages and pretty much ubiquitous around the world.

I find it incredibly difficult to believe that a graphic designer could use the wrong symbol because we live and breathe signs, icons and typography. It’s almost too dumb to believe. My five year old knows which is which how someone that does magazine covers for a living is more ignorant than her?!



Oh, I have known some incredibly blinkered designers who are fully capable of this sort of brain fart. One of these guys was living out of the office for a while because he forgot to renew his lease. Guy knew how to draw and use Photoshop like none other, but was otherwise barely capable of leading a normal life.


The incorrect symbol makes a better cover image, with the arrow suggesting action. And with the right symbol, the circle has to be squeezed up toward the top instead of dominating the cover. (My opinion as someone who knows nothing of graphic design.)

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So are the Zodiac signs, but probably couldn’t remember over half of them from scratch. There are people who view those signs every day who could better than me.

It really isn’t that incredible, considering it isn’t a sign used THAT often in many circles. I don’t recall when I last saw either sign used in the wild. I mean, I know what they are, and if I think about it, I can remember which is which. But at the same time, yeah, people really are that dumb. Or rather, they make dumb mistakes. All the time. And while this seems head slapping obvious now, and it SHOULD have been caught by the editorial staff, gaffs like these are super common, even if most of the time they don’t make national news.

I don’t think one is a creepo defending it as a honest mistake, which it appears to be. The other option is that it was an intentional mistake which doesn’t make a lot of sense why they would do that.


Hey,even Andrea’s OP here implies “honest mistake”.

What is even more mind-boggling is if someone made the mistake purposefully. Why would anyone do that?

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The designers were trying to show a symbol which the average person would look at and immediately recognize as the female sign.

Most people should be able to recognize the circle with a cross below it as female (or Venus), a circle with an arrow pointing up and to the right as male (or Mars), but few would recognize a circle with a dot in the middle and an arrow point straight up as Uranus. The male and female symbols are far more ubiquitous than the symbol for Uranus.

If the symbol was so obscure, they shouldn’t have used it. If it wasn’t obscure, even if they didn’t know that symbol themselves, they could easily have googled it.


I think the first image is better because the designer spent some time on it. The second was obviously composed in a “oh shit oh shit” frenzy.


I’ve seen that sort of narrow focus in other areas too.

Like when i got called up in the IT helpdesk by a talented senior programmer who couldn’t work out how to plug a USB mouse in…

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An honest mistake, but still a dumb one. More likely a brain fart than anything else.

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