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Who’s Alex?

Billboard demonstrating gender stereotypes as most people automatically assume that Alex is the boy.

Actually, I’ve studied design and advertising, and I can tell you that the reason people would look at this and immediately assume Alex is the boy is because, quite simply, the boy is the focal point of the ad.

English-speaking readers’ line of sight goes from left to right and up to down. This ad leads the viewer from the words MEET ALEX etc straight to the boy and then over and down to the girl. I didn’t even notice there was a set of parenthesis with words in them in the ad until I looked the fourth time. 

This is a fallacious confirmation bias, as anyone looking at it will assume Alex is the focal point (i.e. The Boy) and then if they’re perceptive they’ll notice the words at the bottom. Aha! Those damn gender stereotypes gotcha again! Except no, because the ad literally forces you to read it as “Alex is the boy” by the visual language and lines of sight. 

A better ad would have been structured from top to bottom instead of left to right, and wouldn’t have pushed the girl, the real subject of the ad (who, by the way, has been VISUALLY PUSHED OUT OF HER RIGHTFUL SPACE ON THE AD BY HER BROTHER) off to the corner as far away from her identifiers as possible. 

Here, I’ll make you a better ad.

image

Bam. Shitty stock photo but you get the point. If anyone sees this and assumes Alex is the boy, they don’t have the the ad layout to use as an excuse for their internalized gender shittery. Likewise, the ad isn’t actively trying to make you read it a certain way and THEN making you feel guilty for interpreting it the way they designed it to be. 

Thank got someone pointed this out… I didn’t have the energy to do it. 

Agreed with urulokid. And I certainly like urulokid’s version of the ad.

I was thinking the same thing when I originally saw this post, but then I ignored that instinct and kept scrolling. So I’m glad someone laid that counter argument out so beautifully.

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