The Washington Post’s Express magazine, a free daily tabloid, has recently come under fire for a glaring mistake made on the cover of a recent issue.
The publication was meant to commemorate an upcoming march for women’s rights. They decided to be artsy about it, so they had a group of women form a well-known planetary symbol within the photo, showcasing their unity as women. Unfortunately, as seen below, they made a bit of a noticeable mistake with the final commission that ended up being published.
As you can see, they accidentally went with the Mars (Austin Powers) symbol. Traditionally, the Venus symbol (♀) is associated with femininity, and the Mars symbol (♂) is associated with masculinity. It helps to remember that Venus was a goddess and Mars was a god, and with Venus being the goddess of beauty and Mars being the god of war, both representing the pinnacle ideals of Greco-Roman femininity and masculinity, respectively.
The two also dated. It’s probably where we get the expression, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” Occasionally, Mercury (☿) is thrown in whenever a “third gender” is needed. A way to remember this and avoid screw-ups of your own is to recognize that Mars resembles a spear or arrow, and Venus resembles a distaff or mirror, which befits the whole “war/beauty” schism. Though I do understand the confusion, as Mars and Venus, and Mercury for that matter, both have Sailor Scouts.
The general consensus is that someone in the art department put “gender role” in a search engine and copied down the first thing that popped up, forgetting that humans come in more than one gender. Tricky, we know. There is some speculation that this was intentional, as if to say that gender is a social construct, but that was proven wrong when, instead of keeping quiet and running with that, the magazine admitted it was a mistake and later apologized on social media, adding a picture of a corrected symbol.
This is how the cover should have looked. We apologize for the mistake. pic.twitter.com/MKKOkHPV8T
— Express (@WaPoExpress) January 5, 2017
Way to go, Express. A simple Google search could’ve helped them avoid all of this.