A Rear Window Decal of You, Two Cats and a Big Pile of Money


Here is a very interesting read at Maclean’s about the social valences of stick figure decals:

Decal-makers may try to be gender-neutral, but they’re going to fail, because the stick figure is never gender-neutral, Wade says. “If it’s a stick figure with a soccer ball, it looks like a boy, and if it’s a stick figure without a soccer ball, it looks like a boy. And if you look at two figures and one is taller than the other, everyone reads the tall one as male. To make it a woman or girl, you have to use gender signals — a skirt or a ponytail.” It’s impossible to avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes, Wade says. “That’s how power works.”

And, on the possibility of subversion in one of the least subversive arenas I can imagine:

What interests Wade most is the blowback to “traditional” stick-family families, from people like Pavlovic. “This is activism happening, when you see couples with no children put decals of two people and piles of money on their cars, or women choosing to put a figure of a woman with a cat, or six.” Identifying yourself as a same-sex couple is another form of resistance, Wade says: “It’s very visible. They’re not coming out to somebody; they’re coming out to everybody.”

Alternately: stick figure decals as a nice example of our ever-present choice between Engage The Trivial Enemy or Ignore Completely Forever; the latter, as always, is looking great to me. [Maclean’s]