The logo for the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (PM&C) new “Women’s Network” – which is intended to promote gender equality – has instead been roasted online for its phallic appearance.A description for the Network says that it “champions equal opportunity on behalf of its members and is an inclusive, volunteer-based organization built by members, for members”.
“The Women’s Network assists PM&C and is enabling cultural change aspirations expressed in the Department’s 100-1000 day plan for transformational change by helping implement PM&C’s Gender Equality Action Plan and Embracing Inclusion and Diversity Program,” the description continues.
“The Women’s Employee Network promotes gender equality and supports members to succeed in their personal professional lives. The network priorities are founded on driving cultural change and encouraging men to drive this cultural change, particularly in areas where men can make a significant contribution.
“The network promotes women’s career success by facilitating opportunities for learning, networking and career mobility and encouraging flexible approaches to work.”
Rather than focus on the supposed purpose of the Network, social media users instead fixated on the logo for it – which many at first assumed was a fake because of its overt resemblance to a penis.
“I really thought this logo for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinets women’s network was fake but uh … do they know?” wrote one Twitter user alongside an image of the logo.
Others were furious at the NSFW logo – noting that it detracted from the actual purpose of the Network.
“Why have the juvenile idiots in your department made male genitalia out of the Women’s Network logo?” political and social commentator Ronni Salt wrote.
“How hilarious. Let’s degrade women. Again. Anybody who understands graphic design knows this is deliberate. Anybody who didn’t catch this isn’t doing their job.”
Salt shared a screenshot of one graphic designer’s response to the logo, who in their tweet noted that “the designer knew EXACTLY what they were doing from font choice to layout to colour”.
“This isn’t a mistake. It reeks of teenage boy malevolence,” the graphic designer added.
Author and journalist Quentin Dempster agreed, tweeting that the logo’s appearance “satirises what all women and men of goodwill are trying to achieve: the empowerment of women, equal rights and an end to a culture of violence, sexual assault and misogyny”.
Reddit users echoed the sentiment, with one commenting that “at this stage I think [the Federal Government] are just taking the p*ss”.
“I’m honestly at a point where I don’t know if they are just so incredibly stupid or if they are doing it intentionally because they are just so misogynistic,” wrote another.
“Honestly I don’t even think this could be a case of seeing what you want to see. That’s just straight up almost a picture of a d*ck,” commented a third person.
Others questioned how much an advertising agency may have been paid to create the logo.
It’s not the first time the validity of a Federal Government campaign has been questioned – lest we forget the infamous taxpayer-funded “milkshake” ad on sexual consent last April.
The $3.7 million campaign was pulled after fierce public backlash, with hundreds of people – including government officials and rape prevention campaigners – labelling it a dangerous waste of money and a “big fail”.
The bizarre video showed a woman smearing a man’s face with a milkshake, while another used an example of a man eating a taco to explain sexual assault.
“Young people are more sophisticated than this content gives them credit for. And sex and consent is far more complicated than videos about milkshakes and sharks at the beach,” End Rape on Campus Australia’s Karen Willis, a prevention educator with 30 years experience, told news.com.au at the time.
“These resources fall well short of the national standards, and what experts know is needed to actually change behaviors and prevent abuse.”