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Monday, June 9, 2014

5

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

uhHere 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]



5 Comments / Post A Comment

anachronistique

I was super shocked that a) the "piles of money" comment didn't link to this XKCD strip, and b) that the piles of money ARE APPARENTLY A REAL STICKER NOW.

(I don't have a car. Can I stick a million different decals on the windows of the subway cars?)

swirrlygrrl

The real way to divide people in this world: camp "Engage The Trivial Enemy" or "Ignore Completely Forever". (I am mostly the former. If by the former one means "I yell at my radio frequently during news and current affairs programming and Tweet my displeasure about stuff."

Gleemonex

Those decals are almost never not annoying to me, unless they're funny (love the piles of money one!), and I see a LOT of them in my UMC, SF bay area suburb. But the main reason I would never put them on my car is John Douglas-related: The whole entire damn world does not need to know the makeup, ages, and hobbies of my family. I don't display the PTA sticker from my kid's school, I would never put the decal for a business I frequent, etc. A little paranoid, maybe, but there you go.

shechemist@twitter

I have to confess. We have StarWars stickers on our car. I'm a Jedi Knight. One kid is R2D2. They were a stocking stuffer for my husband 2 years ago. My husband is Darth Vader. I love them.

Bird_

Yeah, I hated these until I saw a nice SUV with them, and I realized it was two dudes, two cats, two dogs, and an Obama sticker. Now I love them.

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