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Children's hairstyle world-wide

by Monsieur Jean — coiffeur

Even for people of my profession — I am a hairdresser (I fancy the French word for it: coiffeur) — this site offers some very interesting material. I have a very international clientèle and from time to time I browse the site a bit for ideas I could use in my salon.

During one of this sessions it occured to me that throughout the many times that Mr. Mecánico wrote about the loss of diversity and the dangers of iconization, his view and inter­pretation of what he sees are strongly skewed towards collections. In my opinion there is more below the surface.

I have reasons to believe that one of the most common road­signs since long has been hijacked and designed to influen­ce people in their behaviour. You could object stating that there is no wish to influence people, but that the drawing simply betrays the state of mind of the designer. I don't con­sider that in the least more comforting.

I will prove my point first with observations about the hierarchy and dresscode on Children's Crossing signs, and then with a discussion about iconization.

Sorry for the emancipation movement, but their strategies for equal rights for women always show the same fatal flaw. They never seem to realize that their message is overruled (or at least diluted) by some everyday traffic signs.

1) Warning sign for a school area
+ The boy shows the way; the girl follows. Shown on most panels on this site.
+ The girl has to dress up, not the boy. Try to find a boy with a distinct haircut. It is close to impossible. On modern iconized panels, the hair is sometimes the only gender signal left.
2) Warning sign for a playground
Apart from an extremely rare exception (I give one away: Austria. Try to find a second example) we are always con­fronted with a boy playing with a ball. That is because girls must work in the house-hold.

The message is radiated loud and clear every few steps on many places! Disguised as an innocent roadsign: the secret agenda of the male part of humanity. The approach is extremely clever: the most appropriate placing is near schools: imprinting starts early in life and is repeated every day.

My second discovery is about iconization.
Many countries drop the sweet old-fashioned road-signs for bleak match-stick things (f.e. Armenia, Canada or France). I wonder why. Let's have a look at some possible reasons.

+ Cut the production cost.
The drawing has only minimal impact on the production cost. Once you have the template, there is no difference anymore between both old and new. The oldfashioned template may cost more, but depreciation over the many panels needed, gives only a micro-saving, if any.

+ Improve visibility: lower chance of missing the sign.
A good colour choice guarantees that the sign can be seen from far enough away, even in sub-optimal conditions. I don't see why the change can't be restricted to colours only. Worse: from a distance the match-sticks all look the same.

+ Improve identification, thus the impact of the signal.
The drawing must ignite the association with the real-world thing — preferably unequivocal. Read the Armenian page about fire-wood and look at Canada warning for adults playing with balls. The light footed approach (see Slovenia, Bulgaria, Madeira) kills fast recognition.

+ Improve world-wide recognition by setting standards.
The samples show no trend towards unification. We see triangles, diamonds, pentagons, circles in blue-white, yellow-black, white–black all with different children lacking a face.

None of the possible reasons survives our scrutinity.
We must open our eyes for reality: modern signs are meant to impregnate us with the thought that we are un-people, nobodies, numbers, and must behave accordingly like docile herd-animals. The alternative conclusion is that the modern design unintentionaly emits the secret thoughts of our governments about the people they are supposed to serve. The difference is the lack of malice.

I dislike both. I dislike the vanilla-sation of the world. And so, to my own surprise, I arrive at the same conclusion as Mr. Mecánico.

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