#Smilegate

Nice to see Apple receive a bit of free publicity, courtesy of CNN Money:

Tim Cook has unveiled the new iPad Pro and Apple Watches at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for another one of Apple’s patented press events…

The company is also making its own stylus, but with the usual over-the-top design and marketing. Yes, it’s the Apple Pencil, a low latency stylus that feels like a real pencil. It even got its own Jony Ive narrated videos. it “feels like a true writing or drawing instrument,” said Ive.

As the name implies, the iPad Pro’s real target audience is business users. To show that it’s serious, Apple brought out a very unexpected partner to demo the iPad Pro: Microsoft’s Kirk Konenigsbauer. He demonstrated Microsoft Office for iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil.

Adobe also demoed its IPad Pro apps including a new product called Photoshop Fix, a retouching tool. Using the iPad Pro and new stylus, Adobe’s Eric Snowden did some realtime edits including the odd choice of changing a photo of a model to make her smile more. (It was the first woman on stage during the presentation.)

For the final demo, Irene Walsh from 3D4Medical showed off her startups 3D medical app that shows 3D interactive anatomy images for medical students and patients.

The company also announced a new iPad Mini 4.

Exciting stuff. These new gadgets are sure to work wonders.* Wait, didn’t Steve Jobs reportedly leave, quote, “a legacy” of blueprints for the continued development of new, consumable shiny things? Apple execs wouldn’t be stringing us along, would they? But I’ve taken my eye off the ball. Forgive me. On to the pressing issue of sexism in Tech.

Four paragraphs into the above excerpt, reporter Heather Kelly takes a dig at Adobe’s Eric Snowden, brought on stage to demonstrate the everlasting brilliance of the iPad Pro. This involved the use of Photoshop Fix to retouch a stock photo of a model’s face (unheard of!) to give her the appearance of a smile, effectively turning her frown upside down.  

The problem, in the event that it sailed right over your head, is that a man (a man!) used Photoshop to manipulate a woman’s appearance. In the mainstream media and on Twitter, this has been equated to catcalling and/or harassment.

Apple Turns World’s Oldest Catcall Into Product Demo – Emily Peck (via Huffington Post)

A woman refusing to smile is never an error that needs to be “fixed.” – Jenny Hollander (via Bustle)

Even though he may have made the change innocuously, it points to a recurring problem of women being harassed for not smiling… – Andrea Romano (via Mashable)

For many women, being told to smile is a form of harassment… – Ann-Marie Alcantara (via POPSUGAR)

The following tweets were republished in several mainstream newspapers, including the Independent, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

After all the stick Apple get about women & they choose to PHOTOSHOP A WOMAN’S FACE. I cannot. – Guardian Tech (@guardiantech)

Did they really just use Photoshop in a demo to force a woman to smile? How is this really happening? – Rachel King (@rachelking)

A man just used software to force a woman to smile. What an age we live in. – Adam Wilson (@bright_flight)

Stop telling women to smile Apple – Femsplain (@femsplain)

*You should smile sometimes* street harassment, now built right into the iPad! – Taurean Bryant (@_Taurean)

Hey @Adobe — you kind of just took all the street harassment I get when told women should smile more and put it on stage. In tech. – Caryn Vainio (@Hellchick)

So there you have it. Sexism has officially infiltrated every corner of popular culture. A caveat. Having redefined what constitutes harassment, women need exercise extreme caution. All it takes is one errant brushstroke.

*Until next year’s product line renders them completely obsolete.

Advertisements

One thought on “#Smilegate

  1. Pingback: Unshaken | Shooting the Messenger

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s