Computers "for women"

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I’ve just realised why the feminist movement has stalled. It’s because women don’t have the right equipment. And no, I’m not talking about the contents of our undies.

For the last 20 years my sisters and I have been forced to make do with computers that were designed by men, for men.  No wonder we haven’t managed to crack the glass ceiling.

The blinkers fell from my eyes yesterday when I came across an email from the helpful people at Fujitsu for their new 'Floral Kiss' line of PCs. In the minds of Fujitsu, this is the computer ‘For Women, By Women’.

As the accompanying press release explains: ‘the Floral Kiss project was born from the desire of Fujitsu's female employees to create a PC that women would find appealing. The new series, developed under the concept of bringing elegance to all aspects of PC design — from hardware to applications — was created with this aim in mind.’

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And the girlfriends at Fujitsu have thought of all the important things a modern woman needs. Forget about processor speeds, RAM or graphics cards, the designers went all out and changed the colour of the lid. Floral Kiss computers come in colours including ‘Elegant White’ and ‘Feminine Pink’. (I'm not sure how feminine pink differs from pink, but hey, I'll leave all those technical details to the boundary-pushers and game-changers at Fujitsu.)

As if that's not enough, they've also worked out a way to preserve your delicate lady hands and freshly manicured nails from the harsh wear and tear of er, um, opening the thing.

‘The top casing has been constructed with an elegant and refined gradation with gold trim,' squeals the press release, 'and it features a flip latch that can easily open the display —even by users with long fingernails.’ If that doesn’t spell the end of patriarchal dominance, then I don’t know what will.

And forget about software that you might actually do something with. Those Fujitsu go-girls know what women really want from technology. We don't want to worry our pretty little heads managing company accounts, cutting code, designing graphics or — heaven forbid — writing something.

No, what real women want from computers is scrapbooking. I shit you not.

That's why they've included specially designed digital scrapbooking software for storing and organising pictures and URLs from, in the words of the press release ‘retail stores, recipes, and other content that users come across when they are casually browsing the web.’

The program, Fujitsu says, allows users to ‘perform quick comparisons of their favorite stores and products for even greater convenience’. Thanks Fujitsu. Because we all know that chicks couldn’t work out how to use complex software like, say, Pinterest, if their blow waves depended on it.

But it's not all chores and shopping. The sisters at Fujitsu have also incorporated a strategic planning app just for women. They call it a horoscope. If a man isn’t around to advise us on how to spend our day, then the horoscope app will provide the direction we all lack — not just for the present day but the next day as well. Nothing says empowerment like giving up control over your life to a piece of software.

On second thoughts, I'm not so sure Fujitsu's Floral Kiss line really was created by women for women. Unless of course Fujitsu is getting its information about women’s needs and desires from Betty Draper. 

Kasey Edwards is the best-selling author of 4 books 30-Something and Over It, 30-Something and The Clock is Ticking, OMG! That's Not My Husband, and OMG! That's Not My Child. 

www.kaseyedwards.com

 

53 comments

  • How cute

    Commenter
    SilverTail
    Location
    UpperNorthShore
    Date and time
    October 25, 2012, 8:04AM
    • I understand the therapeutic benefits in ranting about stuff but I don't really see it in this one. I'm wondering whether marketing a product to a particular sex could be construed as sexist. I only have to think about that for a few seconds and it strikes me that the answer to that is no. So, surely either you will like their product or not. If you don't like it, no harm done, just don't buy it. I can't see what they've done to offend you so. I'm not sure ranting for it's own sake is of any benefit to anyone.

      Commenter
      Jacorb Effect
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 8:19AM
      • Come now, overstated gender outrage about things in which, if you reversed the sexes it wouldnt even raise an eyebrow, is the order of the day around here.

        Commenter
        Bryce
        Location
        Melb
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 8:37AM
      • "I'm wondering whether marketing a product to a particular sex could be construed as sexist"

        Tampons, no.
        Pantyhose, probably not.
        Computers, yes, a thousand times, yes.

        Call it "The Laptop that Appeals to People Who Like Scrap-booking and Shopping", not "The Laptop for Women"
        We don't (or shouldn't) even define 'woman' as 'human with two X chromosomes' anymore. If biology can't figure out what the heck a woman is, Fujitsu certainly can't - and clearly hasn't.

        Commenter
        mk.mac
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 9:04AM
      • +1 Couldn't agree more.

        How exactly does this help the feminist movement? I would like to see more articles on how we can change society as a whole to create equality, not endless whining about comsumer products desinged to target a particular sex.

        How about an article questioning what the education system is doing to teach equality to children? or where parents fit into all of this? Less rubbish and more constructive material would be an excellent starting point.

        Commenter
        dman
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 9:14AM
      • It's interesting that you've thought about it for a few seconds and come up with a definitive answer, because Ms Edwards has thought about it for considerably longer and reached the exact opposite conclusion.

        What is at stake is not just that different versions of the same product are marketed to men and women but that the marketing aimed at women is incredibly condescending. Moreover, condescending gendered marketing aimed at women is incredibly common. A recent example was the BIC pens for women, which differed from regular BIC pens (not pens for men, you'll note, because men are people first) by colour (pink and purple with blue ink) and price: 20c more expensive. Middle range razors marketed towards women are also more expensive than middle range men's razors. I've also seen wine marketed towards women in bottles labelled "friendship" or "passion" instead of any useful descriptors. Don't even get me started on the one beer ad I've ever seen aimed at women -- as a female beer drinker it was actually capable of turning me OFF the product, the condescension and pinkification were so bad.

        Pink football stuff is another weird one: I get selling shirts in women's sizes, but if you turn it pink, how do people even know who you're barracking for?

        Rest assured, I've thought about this for more than a few seconds, and in the context of my lived experience of sexism, I think it's sexist.

        Commenter
        Annie D
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 9:28AM
      • I don't usually feed trolls, but here goes. Fujutsu have decided that they can make a buttload of money by targeting women, but instead of actually thinking about what women need in a computer, they have thought about what ... um, I don't know ---stereotypes in sitcoms? 9 year olds still going through their pink phase? --- might be distracted by for long enough to get out their My Little Pony purses. They think covering a piece of technology in crap and glitter and pre-loading it with scrapbooking and starsigns is what makes it applicable to women. They are basically reinforcing the idea that what you and your accessories look like is far more important than anything you may actually do. You know what I want in my tech? Lightness, because I travel a lot, and have to tote the thing around, and I'm not as physically strong as a man. Durability, because my laptop spends a lot of time on site and in planes. Blisteringly fast processor speed and a lot of RAM, because I have to run multiple applications of high-end software. Now, for all I know, the LadyLappy has all those things; but that's not how it's being marketed. It's being marketed as though I have nothing better to do than be superstitious and make things pretty.

        Commenter
        vian
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 9:38AM
      • The idea that women require 'special' computers is offensive in and of itself. Perhaps if the software that came with the computer was something useful to me as a female, tech-savvy, twenty-something year-old professional, then I mightn't be offended. Perhaps if (so far as I can tell) the main feature of the laptop wasn't the physical appearance of it, I mightn't be offended. Perhaps if there was anything useful about this laptop (Word 2010 could be a good start), I mightn't be offended. And, perhaps if Toshiba weren't marketing a piece of hardware with a flowery, feminine name that certainly must appeal to every woman on the face of the earth, I mightn't be offended.
        Alas, that's not the case. But I guess I'll have to email my boss now to tell him the me and my female coworkers will be more productive if we invest in these laptops. Heck, maybe he'll even give me a raise when he sees me toting such a pretty, feminine item to and from work (hopefully he doesn't catch me using it - I might get in trouble if he catches me scrap booking all day!).
        I'll have to buy some new shoes in "feminine pink" ASAP so my outfit is coordinated...

        Commenter
        H
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 9:46AM
      • The basic concept is that if you keep telling women that being a woman is all about being pretty in pink, landing a man of means and then being a good wife, then you're being sexist.
        There's nothing wrong with marketing to a particular sex. Of course that makes sense. But you generally do that by presenting an image. That could be a businesswoman getting things done, or a woman on a holiday, uploading her photos and sharing her trip with her friends. You could promote features like it being lightweight, portable, having a long battery life, and frame it all in ways that display the benefits to a woman.

        But they didn't do that. They promote superficial features and try to say that that's what women care about. Not busting a nail opening the thing, looking for direction in their day, sharing recipes and shopping. Isn't that just a little condescending?

        Consider that promoting this sort of image - and don't be under any illusion that marketing doesn't create demand and only supports pre-existing demands - damages gender equality by reinforcing the message that women are, by and large, passive, superficial creatures.

        Commenter
        Lucid Fugue
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 10:00AM
      • I don;t get it. This is a laptop for women who want a pretty laptop to do non technical work related tasks.... If they wanted a work laptopthey'd just buy a normal gender neutral laptop.

        There are laptops designed for Design, there are laptops designed for games, there are laptops designed for just browsing the web and now there is a girly laptop for scrapbooking and looking at horoscopes. Although why they wouldn't just buy an ipad and get a pink cover is beyond me

        Commenter
        Yeah Yeah Yeah
        Date and time
        October 25, 2012, 11:13AM

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