Update, 4:58pm: I just got off the phone with Apple. The Customer Service Rep said that she hadn’t heard of this. She tried to enter “clit” and “vagina” for me, but was also blocked. Surprise: she also had no problem entering “penis” and “dick.” She explicitly noted the sexism, but said there was nothing she could do. Let’s tweet CEO @tim_cook.
I finally decided to give in and buy an iPad while I can write it off on my taxes, and come to find out, today’s my lucky day! Apple is offering free shipping and free engraving. My mind is racing, and I’m trying to decide what sex-positive thing I want my shiny, new iPad to say.
(Spoiler: According to Apple, I’m not allowed to say anything sex-positive if it refers to female anatomy, but using male anatomy is a-ok.)
In times of uncertainty, I have a habit of turning to Alix Olson, and her lyrics. I pulled up the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, Witches, and found the perfect line to engrave on my iPad:
I’ll give myself a lube job,
shake my broomstick til my clit throbs
Feminist, sex-positive, and it will make me smile. Every. single. time.
I type it in, and to my surprise, I’m supposed to give good, ole Apple a call to talk about my “inappropriate language,” presumably for my use of the anatomical abbreviation, clit.
And in my moment of frustration, I realized that this was likely sexist misogyny in the works. To test my theory, I replaced clit with dick.
At that point, they had NO PROBLEM with my words, just with the characters I used. So now I’m thinking, well, maybe the issue here is that clit is more anatomical, and dick could possibly be a Richard. I tried penis…
…Only to have Apple be satisfied with my engraving now that it no longer included the word “clit.” Just to test my theory one step further, I entered the word “vagina” where I’d written “penis” previously. Once again, I received a message telling me I’d used “inappropriate language” and that my engraving couldn’t be submitted without a phone call to Apple. My hypothesis was correct: the reason I cannot use the word clit is because Apple is so entrenched with sexism and misogyny, and frankly, is terrified of women’s bodies and women’s pleasure.
This isn’t Apple’s first offense. In the 2011 article, Siri Is Sexist, Amanda Marcotte says: “The problem is that the very real and frequent concerns of women simply didn’t rise to the level of a priority for the programmers.” Three years later, women still aren’t a priority, and women’s bodies are still being shamed.
Marcotte said, “That the tech company that’s the standard-bearer for progressive, innovative, user-friendly technology can’t bother to care about the concerns of half the human race speaks to a sexism that’s so interwoven into the fabric of our society that it’s nearly invisible. It’s a sexism that often only reveals itself in the absurd…”
We all knew that Hobby Lobby wasn’t alone in their absurd support of men’s sexualities and their legislation against women’s bodies, but really? This is absolutely ridiculous.
As Rebecca Chalker, author of The Clitoral Truth, asks, “Who’s afraid of the clitoral truth?“
Well, Apple, you are. What are you going to do about this? Because I’m sure as hell not purchasing anything from you until this is remedied.