Yesterday while checking Twitter to avoid having to write my paper, I came upon something I found interesting–at first. Then that emotion quickly turned into anger. What was the tweet that got me some up in arms? One from Time that referenced this link. Basically, HTC is looking to come out with a new Android phone aimed toward women. So what does that mean exactly? The phone will have a “female-centric” design (basically you can hang a cell phone accesory from it now) and apps included specifically for women–like calorie-counting and shopping comparisons. Excuse me, what? I thought we were in the 21st century, not the 1920s. Since was it acceptable (and okay) to stereotype women that way? Do men not calorie count? Ever? As far as I’m concerned, plenty of men are concerned about their body image. Why else would they go to the gym and “pump iron” while sipping on protein shakes? Please don’t try to tell me that it’s for health reasons. Since when did men not shop? The males I know have huge obsessions for new Nike kicks, among others. Sure, more women than men tend to become stay-at-home parents, but since when did that change their status, their likes and dislikes, and their habits? To bunch all women into this stereotypical image of the woman who loves pink, who eats salads for every meal, and who splurges with her husband’s every paycheck just does not sit well with me–at all. How are we expected to change women’s status in society–or even maintain it–when big companies fail to realize what was said by many years ago (see link)? As someone who previously owned the HTC Droid Eris and who currently owns the Motorola Droid Pro, I’m enraged. Since when was “masculine” and “male-oriented” technology too good for women? Since when did we need a differentiation in product that consisted simply of a built-in weight loss program?
I’m not against custom products being made with a feminine buyer base in mind. No, it’s not that all. It’s great if phone designers start realizing that women generally prefer smaller phones, that they’re more avid texters, that they need batteries that can sustain longer talk time. But what’s not okay is when designers aim to market a product toward females based on stereotypes–stereotypes that they themselves help to perpetuate, stereotypes that have been dismissed years ago that they are desparately trying to cling on to. It’s a new generation, a new age of women, and it’s time companies embrace that. If they continue to base their ideas on dated perceptions of women, there is no way they will be able to reach the audience the hope to engage. And why? Because they’ll be offended, the way I am right now.