'Washington Post'-published paper mistakenly features male symbol on Women's March cover

Source: Twitter/Shutterstock

Someone at the Washington Post's free daily newspaper Express has some explaining to do.

On Thursday, the publication featured a head-scratching illustration for its cover story on what's slated to be an epic Women's March on Washington. Surrounding the headline "The modest start of a massive march," Express used an image depicting a hoard of protesters arranged into the Mars symbol — that is, the symbol for men. 

The newspaper shared an image of the cover in a now-deleted post on Facebook, and in a now-deleted tweet:

A screenshot of the now-deleted tweet depicting Express' Women's March cover
Source: Mic/Twitter

Was it a Freudian slip? A subtle patriarchal bias? Or some kind of hidden commentary on the march itself?

Twitter users had some ideas. And some strong opinions. 

One Twitter user offered a quick fix for the gaffe, changing the accompanying text to "The modest start of a massive fuck up."

The image was credited to "Thinkstock/Express Illustration," a stock image site affiliated with Getty Images. A quick search on Thinkstock reaps what appears to be the exact same image seen on the Express cover. It's also easily findable on Shutterstock, where the meta text reads, "Large crowd of people moving toward the center forming a circle with room for text or copy space advertisement on a white background." 

  

This finding suggests that someone put some time and effort into adding on the extra arrow that makes the final image the men's symbol instead of the women's. 

But hey — add a pink watercolor background and no one will tell the difference, right?

Express issued an apology later Thursday morning, writing in a tweet that the newspaper's staff was "very embarrassed" by the mistake. The newspaper posted a quick edit on the cover image, depicting the (correct) women's symbol.

The previous slip-up, though, still made it to the print edition. And they say print is dead.