No-IP.com – Alienating Women Everywhere!

So, take a second and watch this video:

Sounds pretty neat, right?  I mean…right up until the end.

I came upon this video from a Female Developer group I follow via Google Groups (“DevChix”); the thread was titled, “What do you all think about this?”

What do I think about this?  I’m sure you can guess.  And you’d be right.

I was so taken off guard by the bomb dropped in the video that I actually said aloud, “Whoa whoa whoa…what?”  It was like whoever made the video took time to clearly explain how IPs work, took time clearly explain what their solution offers, and then stood up and turned around to laugh in my face.  I’m don’t get it – why in the world did women suddenly become a target in this commercial?  Why represent women in the commercial at all if your only goal was to demean them not but 30 seconds later?

Mostly, this just confuses me.  It’s so bizarre, I’m not even sure how to comment on it other than to say “…really?”  Other ladies in my DevChix group have taken their gripe straight to No IP’s Twitter with mixed success; apparently as long as they didn’t mean  it to be offensive, everything is okay.  And you know, it’s cool if they honestly, truly, for-realsies didn’t mean it to be offensive…but if that’s the case, apologize and fix it – don’t just offer up lip service.  They’ve said they’re working on it…hopefully something will actually happen.

So congratulations, No IP!  You’ve officially alienated women from your product for LITERALLY no reason whatsoever.  Good job taking a good idea and then trashing it.  Here’s to hoping it’ll actually get taken care of.

Mary Gezo

Formerly of both n00bcakes and !Blog, the two magically become one on Spatialdrift; expect some lazy baking and serious nerditude. Also, I love semicolons.

Posted Under: Rant
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8 Comments

  1. Steven says:

    Wait, your first reaction was “THIS IS DEMEANING TO WOMEN?” Not, “hey, work-a-holics should probably spend more time with their kids?”

    Part of gender equality is recognizing the difference between the individual and the group. Not every jab that is about a woman is necessarily about ALL WOMEN.

    You’ve turned a poignant argument (http://xkcd.com/385/) into a self fulfilling prophecy.

    • NotBlogger says:

      Yeah, it being demeaning to women was absolutely my first thought. Do I think it’s fine for anybody to neglect their kids, regardless of gender? No. Did I think it was incredibly nonsensical to have 2 male examples without any jabbing, and then a female example with a big elbow to the ribs? Yes.

      Additionally, the video isn’t *about* people neglecting their children; it’s not even something that’s brought up at all until the end, and clearly just to make a cheap joke.

      Also, I’m not following your individual vs. group argument. As a woman without a child, I recognize that this woman *with* a child cannot be an exact replica of me. But as a woman in general, it bothers me that the woman in the picture was relegated to child neglect. Why wasn’t the man who plays video games also chastised for neglecting children?

      Also, that XKCD argument doesn’t follow – the equivalent of the video would be “Dude A sucks at math because he just started learning, Dude B sucks at math because he never studies, and Lady A sucks at math while neglecting her children.” Yes, it reads as *that* nonsensical.

    • Steven says:

      It’s clearly just a cheap joke, but in my mind it’s against work-a-holics.

      The XKCD argument, put another way is this:

      When people could simply insult one another, they often portray an entire group (in this case women) as being bad at something.

      What I am suggesting is that this is a case of making that argument into a self-fulfilling prophecy:
      Any insult of a woman is *taken* as a slight against all women.

      Also, as far as the sudden reversal: the woman was ignoring her baby the entire commercial.

    • NotBlogger says:

      Alright, I can understand the parallels now, and I understand what you mean when you say this is portraying work-a-holics, not necessarily women. Unfortunately I still agree with the above tweet: this feels like reinforcing the stereotype of incompetent women, especially in regards to technology.

      I agree with you that true gender equality means us (women) not participating in the self-fulfilling prophecy of discrimination. But I also think that sexism has an insidious nature and it’s easy to accidentally execute, as well as ignore. All in all, I feel like the jab completely took away from the video and really, was simply unnecessary.

  2. Dale says:

    Unnecessary, yes, but clearly intentional. As Steven pointed out they set up the joke in the very first scene with the woman where she’s on her laptop while the baby is in the background. The interesting thing is the animation also shows her ignoring her dog and that isn’t brought up in the dialog. Also, Sebastian is shown ignoring his girlfriend in the animation but that isn’t commented upon other than alluding to his “obsession” with his fish tank. Someone wanted to focus attention on the neglectful female parent and not any other negative personality types. Without the additional voiced commentary the animations might have been interpreted more broadly.

    • NotBlogger says:

      I’m glad you mentioned the thing with Sebastian and his girlfriend; I couldn’t tell if that was supposed to be him ignoring her, or if it was supposed to be implying something else. Glad I’m not the only one who got that vibe. :)

  3. Emily A says:

    Looks to me like it was simply in poor taste. I bet they do change it. There is a fine line between memorable/viral and stupid/bad, and try as they might, many people just can’t strike the balance.

    As a late-20s woman, the commercial makes me sad by reminding me that there is no way for a woman to win at motherhood (keep a career and you’re selfish, don’t and you’re lazy; skip motherhood entirely and you must be broken in the head), but it doesn’t fill me with rage, and I don’t sense pure evil off of this. I think it’s probably just naive dumbassery on their part.

    If No IP provided a service I needed at a price that was the right, I wouldn’t let this stop me from using the product.

    • NotBlogger says:

      I’m sure you’re right – this wasn’t an issue of maliciousness, but rather more one of bone-headedness. It’s unfortunate no one pointed the issue out before it made became public.

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