There are some stories that make you cover your eyes with your hand and groan. And this column by Susan Estrich about what she thinks is the poorly named Apple iPad is definitely one of those. Here is Estrich putting on her feminist cap and making a very long stretch on blaming the name "iPad" on a "lack of diversity" at Apple:
Is there a woman in America who did not laugh, or at least roll her eyes, the minute she heard that the newest, hottest tablet computer from one of America's most ingenuous companies was going to sound like a feminine hygiene product? The iKotex is what most people I know are calling it, with apologies to Kotex.
So where were those women? The short answer is that, plainly, they were not in the room. Go to Apple's home page and look at the pictures and bios of key executives. I'll tell you who you'll find: Steve, Timothy, Scott, Jonathan, Ron, Bob, Peter, Mark, Philip, Bertrand and Bruce. All white, all men. If there is a "top" woman at Apple, at best she's No. 12.
Give me a few moments to remove my hand from my eyes so I can respond..... Okay, my suspicion is that Susan Estrich's friends who are calling the iPad an "iKotex" are limited primarily to one...Susan Estrich. The reason for my suspicion is that I Googled "iKotex" and found less than two pages in Google Blog Search (as of this wrting) for that term. If so many people outside of Estrich's imagination were thinking "iKotex" when the "iPad" was revealed then you would think there would be much more buzz about it in the Blogosphere.
Here are some more stretch feminist meanderings on the topic of the iPad from Estrich with a strong groan alert:
The video released by Apple to trumpet the genius of the iPad (it really does) is equally un-diverse. Only men use the iPad. Only men talk about the iPad. It's almost as bad as the name.
That might work if you were selling jock straps. It doesn't work if you want American consumers — half of whom are women — to buy your product. Even car companies, notoriously male at the top, use women in their promotional campaigns. Did they really think we wouldn't notice?
Um...Probably NOBODY would have noticed if you hadn't brought it up, Susan.
I know a lot of women who spend their days in front of Apple computers who are almost embarrassed that the company they so love and admire could frankly be so blind and stupid. And finding out why doesn't make it better. This is Apple's chance to change.
Or perhaps YOU need to change, Susan. Making the connection from iPad to "iKotex" is a supreme leap of a fervid imagination desperately in search of a column. As for the new Apple tablet computer: you can call it an iPad or even an "iKotex" but whatever the name, your humble correspondent still wants one.