Your Weekly OTPBS: Stupid Marketing Edition
Remember 5 years ago when Apple launched the ipad and we all laughed and laughed at the name and how foolish it obviously was to push that product through naming and marketing and packaging without consulting any women on how it would be perceived given that it has such a menstrual name? Alissa Walker's piece in Fast Company after the ipad's release names this as a watershed moment in realizing the dearth of women in the development of this product, or at least its naming and retail release:
"[I]t was the females in the crowd who read more into Apple's menstrual pun. They seemed to think Apple's name was indicative of a male-helmed team oblivious to the fact that they were pushing an insensitively-named product. 'Surely no women were involved in naming it the iPad' was a widely-reTweeted sentiment. Another: 'iPad: Proof not enough women work in the Apple Naming Department.'"
Because we all know, don't we ladies, that pads are things that you bleed on, and not things that you want to scroll your fingers over for hours, right? Right. And surely marketing teams and retailers worldwide have learned from Apple's horrendous naming in the five years since they rolled out the most snicker-worthy technology since the Pontiac Vibe, right?
Because check out West Elm's beautifully conceived and executed photo in the Christmas section of its website.
Well, if it isn't the glitteriest D&C I've ever seen!
If you didn't know what a D&C is or immediately get the joke upon reading this post, I'm going to go ahead and guess that you're a man. The fact that Apple was able to seriously and in all earnestness name their product an ipad and that West Elm was able to seriously and in all earnestness choose these two initials to sell ornaments indicates two things: 1. That there were unlikely any women consulted during these processes (or, if there were, their warnings against these choices were ignored), and 2. The taboo against talking about women's health and biology makes us all dumber. Because if there were women in the ipad development (ipadded?) room at Apple before 2010, or if the men in that room had any basic knowledge of menstruation, the ipad would be the itablet or something less hilariously and foolishly named. And if there were women in the photography or graphic design deparments at West Elm, or if the men in those departments had rudimentary knowledge of fairly common gynecologic procedures, this photo would inspire a lot less headdesking and shuddering at the thought of beaded holiday curettes.
So, please, everyone - every company, every organization - please, get a woman at the table, in the boardroom, behind the camera, and at the editorial desk. It's good for women, obviously, and it also prevents wildly ignorant jackassery in commerce and advertising. Had there just been one woman at Apple who raised concerns and was heard, or one woman taking or editing the photos over at West Elm, I wouldn't have to leak the outrage of having suffered the indignity of sparkly D&C all over my ipad.
And you, dear reader, wouldn't have had to endure that image, one that will undoubtedly haunt you for the rest of your days. I've said it before, and I'll repeat it here: When we take down OTPBS, whether it be aggressively malicious or passively ignorant, we all win.