NY Times: Smaller, Easier to Use Gadgets Are Made for Women

Typically, the most shoddy work journalists put out is the ubiquitous trendspotting piece. And today's NY Times article, "To Appeal to Women, Too, Gadgets Go Beyond 'Cute' and 'Pink,' " excels at digging itself so far into stereotypical, sexist bunk I don't even know where to begin to pull it apart.

The fundamentally flawed logic at its heart is that the effort to make gadgets smaller, easier to use and more people-friendly is one, a move to appeal to more women (rather than, you know, everyone) and two, that women need gadgets to be that way. As our six female readers can attest to, that's total BS.

The article goes through a laundry list of recent gadget redesigns that make them more intuitive, and then pairs them with a "female-focused" logic. For instance: "wider spacing of the keys on a new Sony ultraportable computer notebook that goes on sale next week. It accommodates the longer fingernails that women tend to have." Not because, you know, it'd be easier for dudes with fat fingers as well, or simply that cramped keyboards suck for everyone.

Lighter, tighter DSLR cameras, like the Nikon D40X? 'Cause girls need to cram them into their purses, naturally. Us mens like big, bulky cams. Entry level features? Not for entry level users, no, they're "designed with women in mind because they tend to be a family's primary keeper of memories."

Yes, that's right, making technology easier to use amounts to "feminizing" it, moving it away from "products historically shaped by masculine tastes, habits and requirements." Hell, Energizer released a $20 "Easy Charger" battery charger aimed at women because apparently the $33 Dock & Go model (male-targeted) is too complicated.

Gadget makers should acknowledge that more women—and people generally speaking—are buying and using gadgets (and reading Giz) but that doesn't mean they have to dumb down devices. Everyone wants gear that's easy to use—sex has nothing to do with it. To say that women need stripped-down tech is to be just as sexist as pretending that women don't buy electronics or play games in the first place.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled boob and dick-joke posts.

To Appeal to Women, Too, Gadgets Go Beyond 'Cute' and 'Pink' [NYT]