Are These Pictograms of the Differences Between Men and Women Brilliant or Cliché?

Slate’s design blog.
Aug. 22 2014 9:02 AM

The Differences Between Men and Women, Told in Pictograms

140821_EYE_ManMeetsWomanImages2
Do men (left) and women (right) have different preferences when it comes to the balance of love and sex?

Copyright Yang Liu Design/Taschen

Designer Yang Liu’s Man Meets Woman is a visual exploration of the age-old, constantly evolving interplay between the sexes. A pictogram-based shorthand answer to Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus for the 21st century, the book will be released in October by Taschen. It’s the award-winning 38-year-old Berlin-based Chinese author’s second book, after East Meets West, about Liu’s bicultural experiences.

140821_EYE_ManMeetsWoman1
How men and women view themselves.

Copyright Yang Liu Design/Taschen

“We are living in an age of constant social change, in which the subject of the sexes, in particular, is rapidly evolving in people’s consciousness,” Liu writes. “Each new generation re-assesses and questions the role models currently in place. ... It is interesting to see how Man/Woman clichés have indeed changed in our daily lives and to what extent the attributes that were assigned to the sexes in the past, often centuries ago, are still relevant in today’s society. And to consider which desirable role models are already rooted in our thinking but are still in the process of transformation.”

140821_EYE_ManMeetsWomanImages1
How men and women talk on the phone.

Copyright Yang Liu Design/Taschen

The side-by-side male-and-female pictograms cover the discrepancies between how men and women generally see themselves, are viewed by others, communicate, work, love, fantasize, behave, and more. The simple, accessible, and stark visual format is necessarily reductive, designed as a thought-provoking tool to spark conversations and elicit a range of emotional responses.

140821_EYE_ManMeetsWomanImages4
How men and women talk about their sexual experiences.

Copyright Yang Liu Design/Taschen

Advertisement

“I myself have experienced, directly and indirectly, many communication problems between the two sexes, both in my private life and in my professional career,” Liu writes. “As a working wife and mother, I am compelled to realize time and time again how many minor and major differences exist between men and women, despite today’s ongoing debate on the subject and the constant redefinition of male and female roles.”

140821_EYE_ManMeetsWomanImages3
The ideal partner(s), as seen by men (top) and women (bottom).

Copyright Yang Liu Design/Taschen

Liu says that many of these differences “arise out of traditional gender models and are dictated by social and professional structures.” The book, she is careful to note, is “a visual documentary of my personal views on the subject of communication between men and women. I thereby hope to be able to encourage all of us to approach this subject with a little more humor and, in our daily interactions, to look at and think about things from the viewpoint of the opposite sex.”

140821_EYE_YangLiu1

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How Moscow’s Anti-War March Revealed One of Russia’s Deepest Divides

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.