What is the gender-neutral equivalent of poster boy/poster girl?

I want to use it in the context of a company, which is neither he nor she, like in: "a poster boy/poster girl company for self-organization."

Also, is either of the forms "poster boy" or "posterboy" more correct?

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    I've seen "poster child" used reasonably commonly. Definitely two words.
    – psmears
    Apr 26, 2021 at 11:03
  • 1
    'Poster child' is typically the gender-neutral term, as mentioned before in several threads, but probably connotes innocence, lack of sophistication, even martyrdom, to a degree that wouldn't work here. // You can research the open and closed (and possibly hyphenated) versions of the compound noun [poster/boy] yourself. The 'most correct' is inappropriate, but you can investigate the most popular variant. UD mentions the open and solid forms. Apr 26, 2021 at 11:04
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    In practice, the face of the company is usually a model or actress promoting a cosmetics company, but in principle it's a gender-neutral term. Apr 26, 2021 at 11:15
  • 1
    If poster boy and poster girl are not good, poster child is even worse. Help those corporate twerps build their vocabulary: A Paragon of Self-Organization.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 18:14
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    In the US "poster child" tends to refer back to the polio epidemic in the early/mid 20th century, when posters featuring children in wheelchairs or using crutches were used to promote donations to charitable organizations such as "Crusade for Children".
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 26, 2021 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


The term is poster child (written as 2 words):

A person or thing that epitomizes or represents a specified quality, cause, etc.

‘the antiglobalization movement's poster child’

All signs (eg COCA) point to it being used much more often than poster boy and poster girl.

  • 'Poster child' is usually a child that evokes sympathy; 'poster boy' may well evoke admiration. Though I'll withdraw the downvote if you post supporting evidence of the contrary (which can be found). Apr 26, 2021 at 16:58
  • @EdwinAshworth I changed the link to be from a reputable dictionary (other dictionaries have similar definitions). The link to COCA provides usage evidence that backs my answer up too
    – Laurel
    Apr 26, 2021 at 17:08
  • Lexico adds a North American caveat. Apr 26, 2021 at 18:04
  • poster child - noun - 1. a child appearing on a poster for a charitable organization. 2. a person or thing that exemplifies or represents: e.g., "She could be a poster child for good sportsmanship." (dictionary.com/browse/poster--child) - The aforementioned definition on Dicitionary.com establishes its use in the manner asked about, which has been more my experience. Maybe since I wasn't alive in the 50s for the polio epidemic, my experience hasn't colored my perception to closely associate the term with pitiful figures evoking sympathy but just with figures representing whatever. Apr 27, 2021 at 7:55

A simple answer could be poster person.

  • 3
    Yes, sadly, we are reduced to phrases like that....unless we turn to the immense resources of the English language....
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 18:15

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