Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad, Menses, and Sexism. Oh My!

I'll readily admit that I am an enthusiastic Apple acolyte-- however to be fair, I'm also equally enthusiastic and evangelical about all those nifty Google web applications. So, like the masses of gadget geeks across the nation, I waited with great anticipation as to the announcement of the then rumored iSlate, now officially announced iPad. I was an early adopter to the tablet PC revolution (which turned out more like the recent Iranian green revolution than a gloriously bloody and victorious French one), having used a hybrid tablet PC throughout my college career. I loved the idea of stylus input and handwriting recognition, paperless notes, and dynamic pressure-sensitive digital art. The implementation of all these great ideas by Microsoft was a lackluster to say the least.

So the prospect of the Apple tablet for me was great. I faithfully waited for the announcement, watched the liveblogs and the tweets. But I became suddenly displeased by the sudden outbreak of the now ubiquitous iPad/Maxi-pad joke. A poor choice on behalf of Apple marketing execs? Perhaps. Only time will tell. After all, the peanut gallery laughed at the iPod name.

But the fact that so much attention has been given to the iPad qua feminine hygiene is really childish and frankly sexist. A recent CNBC segment discussing the iPad launch descended into a death spiral of anti-woman cringing and menstruation hate when a female correspondent declared her distaste for the product because it reminded her of feminine hygiene. Her male peers then proceeded to audibly groan and make derisive comments about menstruation.

Let the anti-menses rhetoric stop. The notion that menstruation is gross, disgusting, unclean, etc. only further alienates women from their vaginas and reproductive organs. Additionally, by continuing to focus on this minute natural bodily process, we discursively reduce women to a single bodily function. A bodily function that we treat with great shame, secrecy, and disgust.

Moreover, this kind of mense-talk builds on historical and institutional rhetoric on menstruation that is fundamentally biased as anti-woman. If you look at medical language, many textbooks and resource materials describe the menstrual cycle as the vaginal "decaying" and "shedding" as opposed to "regenerating" or "renewing." Same essential idea, two completely different implied meanings.

I'll be honest, the iPad is not a perfect product. The lack of flash support, open source ePubs documents, a lack of an optional stylus input (like Wacom tablets), and no camera are all missing features that will keep me from purchasing (at least version 1.0). But, the fact that mense-hating has taken over the iPad discussion is nothing but anti-woman speech and I have had enough of it.

And one more note, to all of the gay guys out there: Stop making fish jokes. Just stop it. It's not 1992. It's not funny anymore (was it ever?). We get it. You're gay, you like guys, you suck cock. Done. Finito. fini. Just because you like guys doesn't mean you need to hate on gals to get your point across. #petpeeve

CNBC clip below:

1 betches:

Rachel said...

Some period related apps to run on your iPad perhaps? They're actually pretty good, and advice them for men as much as women. Doesn't hurt to know your lady's cycle:

Post a Comment