Apple bites it with decision to Photoshop a smile on a woman’s face

apple bites it with decision to photoshop a smile on womans face screen shot 2015 09 10 at 7 23 39 pm
Women, as a whole, are under no obligation to plaster on an expression that renders them feminine, sweet, submissive, accommodating, or any number of adjectives that are commonly associated with what millennia of social expectations have deemed “feminine.” This isn’t to say that we should be traipsing about with a scowl on our faces, nor can we deny the power of a friendly demeanor. But when smiles become a social expectation, a line has been crossed.

Which brings us to Apple’s decision to Photoshop a smile onto the ruby red lips of a female model. Adobe executive Eric Snowden, who was invited on stage during an iPad Pro demonstration, was displeased with the steely and strong (but rather neutral and unsmiling) countenance of the woman in the photo. “I wish she had a little bit more of a smile. I think it would warm up the design quite a bit,” he said. “Luckily we have an app for that.”

Snowden decided to fix her face, turning the corners of her lips up for an expression he found more acceptable. An avalanche of social media commentary followed this, with many commenters finding the incident to be the personification of literally everything that is wrong in the tech industry today.

Despite Apple’s awareness of its need to improve diversity among employees (an industry-wide problem), the fact that this faux pas raised no alarm bells is an indication of just how desensitized we’ve become when it comes to subtle sexism. The woman who appeared on screen during the demonstration was the first female presence in the two-and-a-half hour presentation, and her purpose was to receive criticism and superficial beautification from a man.

As a woman (and one who works in technology, no less), this is a sentiment that has become all too familiar. Whereas it is common to find executive head shots of men looking very serious (and sometimes downright unapproachable), their unsmiling faces are considered appropriately professional.

But for women, such images — even on stage — are dismissed as cold, aloof, or arrogant. As though there weren’t already enough road blocks to making it to the top in an industry that is stunningly dominated by men, even the manifestations of our moods are put under a microscope. After Serena Williams won her quarterfinal match against sister Venus at the U.S. Open, a reporter asked her why she wasn’t smiling, saying, “You just won a match. Normally you smile when you win, you come here, you laugh. What happens tonight? Is just because you beat Venus or because you’re thinking about what is going next? What’s wrong?”

Was Apple’s photoshop an intentional slight towards women? No. But does it point to a very longstanding and extremely salient issue in technology today? Absolutely. And if it takes some angry tweets and ridicule to point out just how unacceptable such a move is, so be it. We women have faced much worse.

Home Theater

Dolby’s secret recording studio app may soon exit stealth mode

In secret testing since June, Dolby's stealth recording and social network app may soon be ready to make an appearance. Dolby 234 blends unique noise-canceling tech with Instagram-like audio filters.
Movies & TV

Here's everything we know about 'John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum'

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum, the third installment of the wildly successful action series that stars Keanu Reeves as a deadly assassin forced out of retirement, hits theaters in May 2019. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Mobile

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Movies & TV

Curious about 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'? Here's everything we know so far

Despite some mystery surrounding Spider-Man's future after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters in July 2019. Here's everything we know about the movie so far.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.
Mobile

5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.
Business

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.
Mobile

Here’s how to take a screenshot on an iPad, step by step

The ability to capture screenshots may not be the iPad's most glamorous feature, but it's one of its most useful. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to take a screenshot on an iPad, whether it's an iPad Pro from 2018 or an older iPad model.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Social Media

Here’s how to save someone’s Instagram Story to your phone

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Wearables

Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.
Mobile

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.
Business

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.