As I watched the Apple event while at work today in which the iPad was announced, I began to notice a lot of people on twitter joking about the iPad's name. They snickered. They giggled. They were angry. They claimed that Apple had little to no women working there. All of these people were in fact specifically women making these comments. I had been watching the Twitter Trending Topics off and on all morning because Twitter had just opened up local trends for me today. I noticed iTampon and iMaxipad were trending. I then got it. Women call Maxipads, just pads. When men hear 'pads' they think of notepads/writing pads/post-it note pads, etc.
Fine. Whatever. Steve Jobs either didn't realize this when he picked the name, or more likely, he didn't care. What really aggravated me was this article written by Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal.
Swisher's article title is "Memo to Geek Dudes: The Inevitable Maxi Pad Jokes About the iPad Are Lame (And Steve Jobs Doesn’t Care Anyway)". I quote her:
Well, that didn’t take long–even as Apple CEO Steve Jobs was launching the new iPad tablet computer today at an event in San Francisco, legions of geeky dudes let fly with the feminine-protection jokes.
It is the name, iPad, that Apple (AAPL) chose for its newest device that sent them deep into wink-wink-nudge-nudge territory about how it sounded like a Maxi Pad and would hurt the brand.
Get it? Get it! Like a tampon! My seven-year-old could come up with a cleverer comparison.
But Silicon Valley being what it is–full of mostly nerdish boys whose median maturity age hovers between 11 and 12 years old, and none of whom has likely ever handled one–this is exactly what you get.
Ok. I need to stick up for us guys for a moment. I didn't make this naming association until a female co-worker laughed at the name and had to explain why she thought it was funny. Since then, I've seen dozens of women I follow on twitter all comment on the name in various ways. I did not see a single guy on my feed (I follow ~ 450 people) comment on the coincidence of the name. I would like to point out to my female friends (and anyone who reads this) that it is not insensitive of men to not have thought of this. We simply do not use them ourselves, and therefore, they aren't something we think about or even talk about, on a regular basis. The meaning of that word is different in our normal vocabulary. It's a gender thing.
Need some evidence of my statements? Go read all of the comments to Kara Swisher's article. I'll quote a few:
nofasdf 7 hours ago
Actually, if you were following Twitter in real time, the source of most of these jokes are females. Nice try though.
davebarnes 6 hours ago
Well, Kara, my wife's first reaction to the name was: "MaxiPad". My brain made no connection to such products, but hers did.
Ksenia Coffman 6 hours ago
I think it was actually women who first reacted to the name; not men (geeks). Men I asked on Twitter said "my mind did not go there," while women snickered and thought the name was 'hilarious.' Could it be the unconscious 'sexism' akin to unconscious racism of "HP's racist computers" (famous YouTube video) - i.e. if it works for whites (or males) it should work for everyone?
msaldana 5 hours ago
Kara, I think that women are really who are making fun about this, for every guy I know it means NOTHING, it was a woman who made me the first Kotex observation, I truly believe that it only sound weird to women.
melodyakhtari 5 hours agop>
Actually, I agree with Ksenia. I saw mostly women reacting to the name, claiming that it was an oversight on the part of Apple's marketing team. Women are obviously more comfortable with that topic than men are, which explains why it was women who vocalized (er... twitterized) their reactions more than the gents. To be honest, that's where my mind went first, too.
How much sleeker would a name like iSlate have been?
I'm all for calling a bigot a bigot. I'm all for calling a racist a racist. I'm all for calling a sexist a sexist. But it's pretty hypocritical when it's women making the naming association and, as you say, act like 11 or 12 year olds, and yet, you blame men for it. Sigh.
I'm not saying some men didn't make these jokes and I'm not saying that all women did, but lets try to keep things in perspective people, and for damned sure, do not blame one gender for something when, as I see it, it's the other gender who is doing it.