Let’s Discuss: The new Lady phone

11 Aug

Verizon is set to sell a new Android phone called the HTC Bliss, a seafoam-green phone made just for the ladies. With a little charm that lights up when you get a text, the phone is rumored to come with a calorie counter and a shopping app already programmed in.

CUE CONTROVERSY. Mislabeled ladies, please discuss.

Rachel: At least it’s not pink?

Kelsey: You guys are confusing. They’re doing what you want – acknowledging you as 51 percent of their target market (more so actually with smart phones), so what’s your deal?

Rachel: Kelsey, you make a great point. Until I read this:

The phone is also rumored to ship with special women-friendly apps, like a calorie counter and an app for shopping.

 I’m sorry if I don’t care about calories, and I certainly don’t need a GD app to spend my money for me. It’s insulting. Why are these things considered women-friendly? Why do women seem only to care about calories and shopping?

Kelsey: Yeah – you don’t. But guess what? the top apps downloaded by women are calorie counters and shopping gadgets – quantifiably. That’s why they’re “women friendly.” It’s not like they just made that shit up.

Rachel: Sometimes I think I’m just mad at my own gender. I realize how terrible that is to say, and that it’s an irrational thought. But I am surrounded by strong women who don’t care about calories. They care about their careers, their friends, and their passions. And then I read things like what you just said and I think, Gosh. Am I that sheltered? Is this what my gender really cares about? And I’m not sure what to do with that….

But truly, these things are a vicious cycle. Women care about their weight because society tells us we’re not pretty enough. Not like we as fems don’t know that, but it’s worth bringing up.

Kelsey: Yeah. I mean, some women are dumb and shallow. Some are cool, but not enough to warrant a targeted smartphone for “women of substance.”

Dawn: But it’s still just feeding into those gender stereotypes. Maybe they are the most downloaded apps for women, but by specifically labeling them as woman-friendly and making the phones come pre-loaded with them is insulting to me. Are there phones that are targeted toward men that come pre-loaded with sports apps?

My issue here is gender-based marketing when it gets out of control. (Have you seen the girly version of Scrabble? It’s all pink and the word on the front of the box is “Fashion.”)

I’m not upset with any particular gender; this is a product of socialization in a patriarchal society. Men can be just as dumb and shallow.

Kelsey: “Are there phones that are targeted toward men that come pre-loaded with sports apps?”

Would that actually be insulting to men? It’s called marketing. An industry based on stereotypes. Whenever I read a mislabeled email I have Google ads on my sidebar for strap-ons, but that doesn’t insult me.

Tara: Do you honestly get Google ads for strap-ons?

Kelsey: No.

Dawn: I’m saying that I am specifically insulted by what I think is a step too far in gender-based targeted marketing. I’m not generalizing and saying that men are or are not offended by pre-loaded sports apps. I do know some men who would be, just as there are some of us that are insulted by the calorie counting & shopping apps. Yes, it’s marketing. I get that. But at what point is it time to step back and realize that gender-based marketing is problematic in reinforcing gender stereotypes?

Kelsey: Or at what point is any marketing problematic in reinforcing all stereotypes? That’s a great question. Essentially the industry is not doing society any favors – it continually takes cheap shots at all demo/psychographic cohorts in the name of making a profit for themselves/their clients.

But one thing I’d like to point out is the fact that a “women’s” phone comes pre-loaded with shopping apps is actually sort of a pat on the back – women aren’t just buying heels and baking mixers – they control 85% of ALL America’s spending. Whether intentionally or not, Verizon is acknowledging that. And what’s more, they’re acknowledging that women make INFORMED purchase decisions.

Rachel: Agreed. You make a great point there, Kelcoh. It’s about time women’s buying power was recognized, and that’s certainly something I can cheer for.

Well, dear readers. What are your thoughts? Is this some BS, or is this phone the next big thing for Oh, You Fancy Huh?

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3 Responses to “Let’s Discuss: The new Lady phone”

  1. Meggan August 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    to dawn: there is a phone that comes pre-loaded with sports apps (not necessarily for men- i personally would love this phone if it was Vick instead of Ward)

    http://www.wpxi.com/sports/14460484/detail.html

  2. gus August 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Here’s all *this* mislabeled lady needs on her Android phone:

    Command line access to my web servers,

    an app to manage my finances,

    the app that I can use to tether my laptop and give it wireless access anywhere,

    the Nanoloop music app so I can make blippy video game music on the train,

    and most importantly, ROOT ACCESS, so I can remove all the built-in apps I don’t need (NASCAR?! Voice control?! Second mail program I never use which always runs anyway?!) My phone, my choice!

    And don’t tell me I’m a member of the only .0001% of women who wants this, or I swear to god I will teach all your daughters to wear mohawks and thick-rimmed glasses and hack the goddamn Pentagon.

  3. CR August 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Wow…retailers cater to a demographic that clearly exists and you call it sexist. This is so typical of our current culture. If you like to shop and stay thin buy this phone, if you don’t buy a blackberry, nobody is forcing you to buy this. Why should a retailer not try to cash in on a market that exists.

    I don’t want or need Root Access on my phone, does that mean they shouldn’t make one that allows you to have it….SO DUMB

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