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Subject: Re: Masculine/Feminine
From: Hrant H Papazian <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 3 Sep 2001 13:46:56 -0700

text/plain (57 lines)

From: Gunnar Swanson
> Care to add enough detail to this
> argument that I might change my mind?

Sure - just please don't ask for "proof", OK? It does not exist.


We humans are animals, and our physical realities form the core
of our existence. These physical realities become engrained in
us in two ways:

1. Through various "trainings" during formative years (childhood).
   This is not the same as social training in later years, because
   the early training can "get through" to the subconscious (which
   is the only thing that really counts) much more easily. Once our
   system is balanced, only freak disasters can affect our nature.

2. But also through natural selection (evolution). Babies
   are not taught to suckle, wolves are not taught to run
   away from fire - they just do it. Those who don't, die,
   and cannot have offspring - offspring likely to behave
   in similar ways.

Some example, which belong to either -or both- of the above types:

- Because of who participates in battle, pain is masculine.
- Because of how we bleed, pain is angular and straight.
- Because of what babies [generally] go through, comfort
  is feminine, and curvy. Food is our strongest influence.
- Because of gravity, an inverted triangle (or anything
  top-heavy; jokes are welcome...) denotes instability,
  and triggers attention (which is why Yield signs use it).
- Also related to traffic: red is the color of attention,
  because of blood, and what it means when you see blood.

(Sex, blood, guts, food: still going after all these years.)

The list goes on, and I admit that one could read
too much into it. But denying the truth that humans
have low-level "hard-coding" is ludicrous (and also
happens to be one of the first things the West has
to get over ASAP). And this hard-coding is the first
thing that comes into play during communication.
Like typography.


One thing that I'm strugling with is why italics are seen
as feminine. Is it really an issue with "movement"? To me
that doesn't make sense. I think it's probably more because
italics just tend to be curvier. In which case it should be
easy to make a masculine italics; and that might actually
be the perspective Morison should have had in guiding his
slanted-roman efforts.


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