Florida Logo Sexist? Critics Blast Patriarchy’s Influence On Design, Rightly

A new Florida logo reads as sexist to many, in the sort of disagreement that seems annoyingly picky to some males and frustratingly indicative of institutionalized male privilege to some females.

The Florida logo deemed sexist is certainly understandably drawing ire from many women, and, as a woman, it is not hard to see why. One of the frustrating things about the male default is that, by its very nature, it’s a default. In day to day life, it can be annoying when you’re out somewhere and the male accompanying you is assumed to be the decision maker of the pair of you — but in business, the masculine pre-sets are a constant reminder your gender is seen by many as an impediment — and affects the amount of money you earn because of it.

Like in, for instance, the state of Florida. The sexist logo is part of a new campaign, “Florida: the Perfect Climate for Business,” and in place of the letter “i” in the state’s name, there is an orange men’s necktie. Subtle? Perhaps, but still the sort of thing that drives the message home: bosses are male, secretaries are female. Ugh.

Melissa Medley, Enterprise Florida‘s chief marketing officer, denies the image’s patriarchy-reinforcing vibe and counters:

“The idea of a cartoon tie being considered sexist is somewhat of a stretch … The most recognizable icon of the business world is a tie. It has nothing to do with men or women.”

But a local columnist, Sue Carlton, said the Florida logo as sexist may not be apparent for younger women (to whom the specter is slowly fading) — women who lived when it was “even worse” are far less blind to the implications:

“This … may seem as ancient to younger women as whalebone corsets. But to some of us who grew up with tales of important downtown clubs where businessmen dined and women were unwelcome, of big deals cut on golf courses without pesky women in attendance, the message is not so subtle: Businessmen Welcome Here. The rest of you? Eh.”

mad men

Ultimately, the issue of discussing whether the Florida logo is sexist is one that’s fraught with misconceptions and fears of “feminazis” getting “offended by everything.”

The thing is, it’s not offensive — the Florida logo is undeniably sexist, intentional or not, but it’s not offensive per se. Just another subtle, systemic reminder that our go-to image for success is often inextricably linked with an XY chromosome.

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