International Women's Day & The Worst Google Doodles of All Time


Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Yay women! And before you get all uppity about why there isn’t an international men’s day, there is:

International Women's Day

That’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to focus on why yesterday’s Google Doodle was so, so terrible:

International Women's Day Google Doodle

Let’s just do a quick run-down:

  • The capital G is the gender symbol for woman, AKA the Venus symbol. Fair enough.
  • The second “o” is a flower. That seems pretty weak. It’s not International Flower Day, and women aren’t really that into flowers.
  • The next thing that pops out to me is the little “g.” It styled so it looks a little like a gender symbol. But what it primarily looks like is a bra. Maybe even a coconut bra. Really, Google? This is how you represent women across the world? Flowers and bras? (Andrew Hanelly suggested it might be a Shake Weight.)
  • Once you make the bra connection, it’s hard not to see the remaining letters as offensive symbols of womanhood. Are the first “o” and “e” spots of menstrual blood or what? Is the “l” a tampon?

Even if you don’t see all this subtext in the doodle (lucky you), you have to admit it’s not good. That got me thinking – what other Google Doodles have totally sucked?

And it turns out (spoiler alert) it’s really hard to find another Google Doodle that’s anywhere near as bad as this one. Most of them look like they actually took some care and thought. But here we go anyway, the five-ish worst-ish Google Doodles ever, in my humble estimation …

Tie: Father’s Day 2010 and Father’s Day 2011

Two years in a row, the Father’s Day logo centered around neckties, proving they are equal opportunists when it comes to gender stereotypes. What percentage of dads actually wear a tie?  

Father's Day Google Doodle

/Father's Day Google Doodle

Mother’s Day 2010, 2009, etc…

If Father’s Day means ties, Mother’s Day means flowers, obviously. Mothers are also women, and as established above, women love flowers! (In 2012, I think I’ll be subversive and send my dad flowers.)

Mother's Day

Mother's Day Google Doodle

Google Doodles

Figure Skating (Vancouver Winter Olympics)

I’m including this one for the lost opportunity. Why wasn’t she carving out the double-o like a figure 8? SMH. (There is a whole, too-long series of these, for skiing, curling, etc., and they are all pretty dullsville.)

winter olympics google doodle

Happy Holidays from Google 2006

Thanks Google.

Happy Holidays from Google

But what’s with the kangaroos??

Google’s First Doodle

I’m including this one partly because I forgot how ugly the Google logo used to be. Also, it’s really kind of embarrassing that the Google boys were so excited about going to Burning Man they had to commemorate it in a Doodle.

First Google Doodle

It reminds me of when the Beatles went through that stoner stage. We get it, we get it! You really like weed!

On the upside, like I said, most of Google’s doodles really are pretty good. You can browse through them all here and here.

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Have a good weekend, homies.

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Courtney Seiter
Mar 09, 2012

Elisa, this post is hilarious! I knew that Google doodle pretty much sucked, but I couldn't figure out why exactly. You nailed it.

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 09, 2012

Thank you Courtney, I'm so glad we agree. :)

Aug 01, 2012

I was doing a search on bad Google Doodles and came across your post. When reading your break down of the Doodle I laughed and thought that maybe the "L" is not a tampon but a pregnancy test strip. :)Great comments/ observations. Kudos on sticking to your journalistic guns as well.

Pete Dakota
Apr 09, 2012

Think what you want.  Those who know me - female and male - know otherwise.  In the cirlces I run in, we all agree that this type of post does nothing but further sterotypes that women have been trying to get out from under for decades.  Congratulations, you've set the women's movement back another decade with this.  All because you thought it smart to complain about something others would consider an honor to have in whatever form the particluar Google Doodle took.  

May 18, 2012

Dude, don't argue with the author. You're just gonna get pwned.

Garrett White
Jun 05, 2012

Dear Elisa, who cares?

Aug 03, 2012

Tampon? Bra? Blood spot?Methinks your trying VERY hard to read something into this doodle that is not there. 

Feb 22, 2013

I agree that many google doodles are crappy, some do not make any sence. I think they should have people rate the doodles, if any people do not like the doodle it gets taken off, to no have so many hate them.PS: what an ulgy doodle they have today.Who cares for some weirdos anniversary? They should stick to the reguler logo! 

Gary McHine
May 22, 2013

Elisa,Not to be an a**hole, but you sound like a total b**ch in this posting. Were you fired from Google? Sounds to me like you have an axe to grind. Maybe you wanted to go to Burning Man and the tickets were too expensive and are now resentful of not being able to experience that. If so, I totally feel ya on that. We went in 2010 and at nearly $400 a pop, OUCH! But it was totally worth the price of admission. Nearly every single one of your comments are negative. Maybe you need to get laid, or are on your period or just need a Snickers. Hey, I get it, I'm married and sometimes my wife starts bitching about the kids, work, dinner, my going out drinking with friends or to a strip club. But then I calmly talk to her about it or give her the D or a Snickers and VOILA! She's back to being awesome.  "But what’s with the kangaroos??"Maybe you're not aware of this, or maybe you're a Republican, but Christmas, or in this context "the holidays" are not just celebrated in 'Murica. As far as I know they are celebrated in places with kangaroos, beavers, bears, rabbits and even snowpeople (trying to be PC with that) ( why all the negativity?If it is a matter of needing the D, I'd offer to help but I'm married. Even if I wasn't I only have like 4.25 inches. (Damn you Mexican heritage!!) :-( I do, however, have a co-worker that could assist you with that. He is packing a serious rig, if you know what I mean. And if you don't know what I mean, he has a really HUUUUGGGGE penis. Don't ask me how I know, I just do.If it's a Snickers you need, let me know and I'll send one. (No joke, send me a mailing address and I'll pop one in the mail this afternoon. I'm being serious)If Momma socked you with a massive uterus punch, I have no concept of WTF that even is. But I'll still send you a Snickers. If you're bleeding worse than the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail ( then I can... Oh wait... Ugh, nevermind. You're a woman, you wouldn't understand that kind of humor. 

Aug 27, 2013

I love the fact that you need to spend your time picking apart other people's artworks to find absurd reasons to be offended, and then bitch about them on the internet in order to feel important and relevant.Really? A flower offended you?Yes, not all women like flowers. I wonder what percentage of women do, though?>50% I'm guessing.As for the bra, tampon, menstrual blood - paranoia much?In the first place, that 'g' looks absolutely nothing like a bra. The only resemblance is in having two circles connected by a line.IT COULD BE A PAIR OF SUNGLASSES (but no, for the purposes of bitching about google, it's a bra).Methinks you just like reading way too far into things so you have an excuse to bitch about the "patriarchy". Lol.

Ann on a moose
Nov 07, 2013

I think you've got a bit too in depth with this woman's day doodle. To be honest, i thought that the simplicity of the doodle made it look serious and professional, and not that they just couldn't think of anything other than a flower. Maybe its a flower from google to women, as a gift? To go "here you go, happy woman's day!" rather than because they thought "durr, you girls like flowers, right?" Try thinking about what the flower symbolises instead of it representing women. And as for the tampon, bra and blood... That is just too stupid. That figure skater's dress is above her knees! How sexist!
The 'g' letter looks like a bra because that's what lower-case 'g's look like. The 'l' is a line because that's what a lower-case 'l' looks like, and the 'o' and 'e' are red spots because they want to follow the google colour scheme and the minimalist theme. Christ.

Lela K
Feb 08, 2014

Boy, you sure sound fun.....hating on a light hearted doodle concept. So Google should just embrace plain, boring appeals-to-most-and-bland-enough-to-offend-the-least corporate logo BS? Sheesh. Why not use your talent to tackle an actual world problem?

Paul McCarthy
Feb 27, 2014

Mother's Day was invented by the florist industry as an excuse to buy flowers, so the flowers in the mother's day doodle are accurate.

Apr 21, 2014

ellisa great article. i think green line and red circle look more like world trade center explosion and it is at an angle because it is toppling over.

Jul 04, 2014

Your observation may be spot on, but in the grand scheme of things, who cares?  Quite frankly, I'm sick to death of everything being PC.

Nov 19, 2014

Women need to explain to men that there's a men's day?The fact that there is a men's day does not explain why it goes by totally ignored.The problem that most people notice here is that women's day gets a doodle and men's day (TODAY)gets not the slightest mention.The women that work in my area didn't even know about women's day.What do you do on women's or men's days anyway?It's just like all the other's: hispanic heritage month, black heritage month, women's month, jewish month, asian pacific islandermonth. All the islamic signs around the office during ramandan, but no mention of Christmas, etc.No recognition at all of anyone or anything white, male, Christian, etc.A deliberate reverse discrimination. To make whites males PAY for all their atrocities over the centuries (when we weren't even alive!)

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 09, 2012

No, Pete, the stereotypes we've been trying to get out from under include that every complaint we have can be blamed on PMS. And I bet *even* the women you know would think that's offensive.

jennifer slewiak
Apr 09, 2012

Sorry, but even as Pete's sister-in-law, I agree with him on this one. I am more offended by the fact that we as women come off as never satisfied when we are paid an honor. Even one as simple as a Doodle. Why can't we just say thank you for the respect the day earned and not complain about bras, period spots, and tampons? Is it any wonder we give off the impression that all we are happy doing is 'bitching and moaning' as a gender?

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 09, 2012

Just because Pete can find people (family members) to agree with him doesn't mean he's right. What if Google published a doodle for Black History Month that was full of racial stereotypes? If someone complained, would you tell them to be happy they were being recognized at all?In any case, most of the people who read and commented on my post took it in the good humor with which it was intended. (Yes, there are jokes up there! Did you read it?) You and Pete are the only ones "bitching and moaning."

Elisa Gabbert
Jun 05, 2012

You, I guess! Thanks for reading!

Elisa Gabbert
Aug 01, 2012

Another possibility! Thanks, Andrew :)

Gary McHine
May 22, 2013

Hasn't the Interwebs taught you anything Mr. Alberto Nonymous? 

Jan 08, 2018

Ooooh shit! Exactly what I was thinking! :-)

Mar 09, 2012

i like the bing hompage photos (lol)

Mar 12, 2012

Google's doodle for International Women's Day could have been more imaginative. Looking at the worst doodles listed here, a lot of them are still fairly "gendered", i.e. pink for Mother's Day and a neck tie for Father's Day.

Mar 12, 2012

Don't forget chocolate, Google. Women loove chocolate. And babies.

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 12, 2012

Next year I hope the two o's are fashioned from a chocolate baby.

Mar 17, 2012

I don't get it. What would you put up for Mothers day or Fathers day. Throw us an alternative idea to celebrate the different sexes (there are still 2 different sexes in our race aren't there?) Sometimes people just seem to like rubbishing things for the sake of it. 

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 19, 2012

How about a mother with her child or a father with her child? Breakfast in bed? When I think of my father, I think of a lot of things other than ties.

Pete Dakota
Apr 09, 2012

This post is nothing but further proof that women aren't happy unless that have something to bitch and moan about.  At least Google took the time to create a Doodle for the day.  Maybe next year they should just ignore it as to not piss you all off and put up a Doodle for something different that day.  You can't just be happy the day was recognized by Google?Now take that Google tampon and go use it.  You are obviously PMS'ing.

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 09, 2012

Dear Pete,What explains your bad mood, if PMS is not an option?

Zack Schuster
Apr 09, 2012

Maybe he's just upset that he doesn't get to use PMS as an excuse.Damn women, withholding things from the patriarchy! *weakly shakes fist*

Pete Dakota
Apr 09, 2012

Not in a bad mood at all.  I am having a great Monday outside of stumbling upon this pile of whine!

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 09, 2012

Wow, I'd hate to see you on a bad day. You must be great at parties.

Karen Kohl
Apr 23, 2015

The fact that you you use the word uppity , is probably a sign that it is you who needs to do some privilege checking of your own, since you are starting to adopt the language of the privileged defending their privilege by trivializing some other group. Just do a Google search and look at the context the word "uppity" was used in , especially in the American south around the period of the civil war...

Bongle Pappu
Apr 27, 2015

Oh get on with it ya feminist smug!

May 10, 2015

Todays "Mother's day" is the worst of alllllll google doodles!
MAY 10th 2015! The creator has Mommy issues one can only guess!

Tracy Therese
Feb 14, 2016

Who approves these doodles???? Today's Valentine's have a teapot and hedgehog cactus love? The MOST offensive to me was how they made Martin Luther King look like a hot dog, and was PINK instead of any where remotely close to his skin color

Timothy Ray
May 19, 2016

look many of us really even bother looking at the Doodles....ennui is Windows 10....3,000 additions i never use...besides the current Doodle is all about a prig-hater...i am happy she is dead

Jan 08, 2018

The fuck do you have against kangaroos?

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