It seems that, despite it being the year 2013, some technology companies are still living in the dark ages – or the 1950s at the very latest. Apparently, we can add “using a tablet device” to that incredibly offensive and outdated list of things women can’t do properly. You know, like changing a tyre, or mowing the lawn.
Luckily for chauvinists everywhere, the Dubai-based developer Eurostar have come up with a solution; the ePad Femme, which they are calling “the world’s first tablet made exclusively for women”. So what makes it a girls only, no boys allowed kind of product, I hear you ask? Well, it might be something to do with the default background (pink, naturally) and the range of pre-installed apps, which cover a broad and by no means stereotypical range of interest areas including cooking, grocery shopping, yoga and weight loss.
It is something of a struggle to imagine the brainstorming session that spewed this idea out. “Chicks are no good at tech stuff,” was no doubt bandied about at some point. “Let’s make it nice and easy for them.”
Which is awfully odd, when you consider women are actually leading the curve when it comes to social media use. In 2012, women accounted for 80% of Pinterest users, and in general, tend to spend more time on mobile and tablet web apps than men. In fact, around 71% of women use social media, as opposed to just 62% of men.
But it doesn’t even matter whether the thinking behind the product is patronising, derogatory, or just tragically misguided. Conceiving and developing a product exclusively for women in the first place, when nobody asked for it, and when women are managing perfectly well not to dissolve into hysterics over the existing tablets on the market… That’s what makes this entire endeavour objectionable.
At this point, the best possible result for the Eurostar Group would be for people to assume that the ePad Femme was a thoughtless and anomalous misstep. Or perhaps an early April Fools’ Day prank.