Computing stereotypes

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Fujitsu has jumped on the current bandwagon of promoting their products through explicit and simplistic gender stereotyping.

The company has made a laptop targeted at women called the Floral Kiss, which comes in a small, ‘feminine’ size and carries a distinct floral motif. It even features a power status light and caps lock key adorned with a diamond cut stone. This sort of product construction implies countless stereotypes about the female gender, which are both restrictive and one-dimensional.

The attempt by the company to use gender stereotypes to market to a certain audience unfortunately isn’t uncommon.

Honda recently announced that it would be selling a car specifically for women in Japan. The car would be equipped with a special air conditioning system to help purify women’s skin.

Three months ago, Bic released a line of pens designed to be exclusively ‘for women,’ coming in an array of ‘feminine’ colours and with a thinner design for slender fingers.

Other less explicit examples of such stereotyping are found with car commercials that portray rugged aggressiveness to sell their product to the male demographic.

In making these products clearly gendered, these companies are obviously attempting to capitalize on a given market.

However, they’re also making a distinctly normative statement — one that all members of a given gender won’t necessarily agree with.

While it may be the intention of the company to cater to their customers based on gender, it’s highly unlikely that women will actually find much need in a woman-specific product such as this laptop.

After all, do women need a diamond-encrusted keyboard?

The product implies that women aren’t equipped to use regular laptops — a premise that is offensive and degrading.

Not all women want a diamond-encrusted keyboard, in the same way not all men drive trucks and have a tendency to partake in rugged, sporty activities. It’s disappointing that, in our day and age, companies are still using these sorts of restrictive and unsubstantive stereotypes to sell their products.

While Fujitsu’s gendering of its laptops isn’t an anomaly in marketing, it’s ultimately still offensive and demeaning to women.

— Journal Editorial Board

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