New Tablet Targets Women By Upholding Female Stereotypes

by Sholeh Hajmiragha

Eurostar, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, has created a tablet specifically for women, and the result is nothing good.  Their new creation, the ePad Femme, has an 8-inch touchscreen, 1GB of RAM, and Android 4.0.  Oh – and let’s not forget the pink cover and homescreen – this is for women after all.

The ePad Femme, which currently costs $170, is currently only sold in the Middle East and parts of Asia.  And it isn’t the first product marketed exclusively for women.  The HTC Rhyme in 2011 unofficially targeted women through a LED-infused charm that clips to a bag or purse and lights up when a text message or call is received, and more recently, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 launch event has received backlash for its sexist portrayal of women through skits demonstrating the phone’s functions.  And let’s not forget BIC’s For Her pens targeted specifically towards women, which Ellen DeGeneres hilariously smashes in the clip below.

Mani Nair, head of marketing for Eurostar talked to ABC News and discussed the unique capabilities of this women’s tablet.  “We are easing out the hurdles of browsing or downloading applications with Android.  Preloaded are cooking recipes, a yoga app, Office on the go.  They are very user-friendly.” 

However, despite Eurostar’s enthusiasm for the ePad Femme, responses are not entirely favorable.  Eurostar’s ePad Femme assumes women’s interests and creates a female mold for them through its product.  Maria Seidman, founder of Yapp, comments, “To think that anyone can ‘guess’ what types of content I’d like just because I have two X chromosomes is just a bad business strategy.”  She goes on to say, “Products and content specifically targeting women only work when they are solving a unique problem surfaced by really listening.”

In response, Eurostar emphasizes that the ePad Femme was created by a group of men and women.  Nair states, “The ePad Femme is a product they can seem proud of and let them be distinct.  We want to give women a supreme product.”  And, when asked about a tablet specifically for men, Nair responded saying “That’s not a bad idea.  Why not?”

However, the issue is not that there is a specific tablet for women only.  If there was a tablet exclusive for men, Eurostar would still face backlash – what stereotypes would the preloaded content reinforce for men?  The problem is that the ePad Femme appeals to users not by their interests or needs, but rather explicitly through their gender.  As one woman told ABC News, “If I wanted those apps I would download them on my own.  Someone should also tell the company I can vote on my own now too.”

Source: ABC News, The Verge, Huffington Post

Images via: ABC News, Nova Planet

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