Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Introducing the iPad

January 27th, 2010 by Elizabeth Kissling

Word on the street is that Apple is introducing their first tablet computer today. With their usual flourish, they’ve named it . . . wait for it . . . the iPad.

ETA: The ladies at Jezebel have published more than one compilation of period-related iPad jokes. A sample:

Are you there, God? It’s me, Marketing.

Don’t make fun. The iPad is the technology of the future. Period.

Can I get a scented iPad for when my data feels not-so-fresh?

Edited again to add: The Week has an interesting comparison of historical femcare slogans and Apple slogans – more similar than one might expect.

[Video via Lunapads]

10 responses to “Introducing the iPad”

  1. Laura Wershler says:

    Should we be glad or sad about this? Is this an opportunity or just another cheap humour take on menstruation? The MAD TV video has already been removed from youtube.

  2. Elizabeth Kissling says:

    Well, you can certainly decide for yourself how to feel about this. But the growing stack of iPad jokes contains both opportunity and cheap or crass humor. The Geek Girls say the real point here is that

    [I]t does tell me that it’s unlikely that any women were involved in the naming of this product. (My other favorite example of a product name I’m pretty sure no women weighed in on: the Ford Probe.)

    Tellingly, Apple’s promotional video for the iPad contains not. one. woman. It features interviews with the men who developed it, and action shots of male hand models using it.

    I think that’s a large part of why so many people are piling on; Apple is a huge, successful corporation that gets a lot of praise both within and outside its own industry, and the schadenfreude is flowing. For another take, see Chella Quint’s (international expert in menstrual humor) “Adventures in Menstruating” blog entry about it.

    I’m finding much of this to be mildly amusing, partly for the clever word play, and because I don’t see women or menstruators as the butt of the joke,* at least in most of what I’ve seen so far (I haven’t come across really crass stuff, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there [please don’t send it to me]). For instance, in the MAD-TV skit, which I have replaced, it is advertising that is being mocked, particularly femcare advertising, which frankly deserves to be ridiculed.

    On the other hand, Kate Dailey at Newsweek doesn’t think it’s funny at all.

    *Unlike the unfunny series of SNL ESPN skits we’ve discussed here; their claim to humor is that “vaginas are GROSS!”

  3. Lauren Z says:

    I have to be the pessimist and assume that most of the jokes about this will be cheap humour.

  4. […] this iPad humor has got us thinking about menstrual humor more generally–what’s funny (to some) […]

  5. Medley says:

    I think Kate Dailey missed the point entirely. Plus, her article is sort of incoherent, so who really knows what point she’s trying to make. In my geeky circles, it’s not the notion of menstruation that’s being mocked, as she seems to suggest, but the continuing clueless of a bunch of alpha-geek-men… and I say this as someone who loves my Macbook, and my iMac, and my iPod, and my iPodTouch, and my iPhone…

  6. Elizabeth Kissling says:

    Additional thoughts: Some of the subversiveness in the humor is the very public opportunity to mock menstrual technology. We’re familiar, although perhaps the dudes at Apple are not, with the femcare arms race in which each company touts their latest technical innovation, such as LeakLock®, Four Walled Protection®, Built-in Backup® Skirt, Clean SorbTM Cover, and so on (BTW, I am not making these up – these are all from real menstrual product ads). But really, none of these products are very different from one another, and no disposable pad is as comfortable or as effective as a soft flannel rag.

    So when the commenters at Jezebel say things like, “At 1.5 pounds with a slim design, I can’t decide if this will work better for lite flow or heavy flow…of data,” and “The iPad: protecting your data from embarrassing incidents,”and “Somebody give the iPad a Red Bull, because it ain’t no good without wings”, who is really being mocked? I say it ain’t us.

  7. Laura Wershler says:

    I see more funny than cheap, and more opportunity than not. And I love Chella’s post about it all. It’ll be interesting to see where it all ends. Do you think Apple is wondering if it’s too late to change the iPad’s name?

  8. Therese says:

    I just read through the Jezebel post and most of the comments and I have to admit I find it pretty hysterical. My overwhelming impression is these jokes are being made by women mocking the marketing techniques for ‘feminine protection.’

    One clearly male commenter tried to slam/shame the women for making all the jokes and he was promptly put in his place for his clueless comments. It’s got a fun girls club energy to me!

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