What links the Atlanta shootings and Intel’s Chinese ad controversy: the silencing of women
- While Intel chose to pull a promotional video featuring a female stand-up comedian after a backlash from angry men, the murder of women in Atlanta shows the deadly consequences of misogyny
And so, for Yang, who has courted controversy before, to say that “Intel’s standards [for laptops] are too high, even higher than mine for choosing a boyfriend” seems pretty tame. But it resulted in such a social media backlash that Intel has taken the video down.
Look, whether Yang and the Intel ad is funny doesn’t matter now that the grotesquely sexist backlash has taken the spotlight. Many male social media users felt Yang was not qualified to promote what they consider a “male user-oriented” product. “Intel is mainly for male users, and women don’t understand electronic products,” says one post.
Wow. Just wow. Apart from the clear misogyny in that statement, it’s impressive how these fragile egos manage to project such confidence. But here’s the thing: the fridge? Invented by a woman in 1914. Women also invented the electric water heater, and plenty more.
Let’s give a special shout-out to Hedy Lamarr, a movie star who created a frequency-hopping communication system that could guide torpedoes without being detected during World War II.
Lamarr’s work laid the groundwork for modern inventions such as Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. So it’s time to stop the sexist statements about women and their supposed lack of knowledge of electronics.
Are all Chinese women (who supposedly don’t understand electronic products), including entrepreneurs who have been thriving in the digital age and using technology to boost their careers and businesses in incredible ways, to conclude that Intel is not for them?
What is most annoying about nonsensical statements like “women don’t understand electronic products” is that, again, we are forgetting that in the old days, these products were not designed by women, did not have marketing to women in mind, and therefore couldn’t really sell in the female market.
It’s more accurate to say that the makers of electronic products did not understand women. But they have been made aware of that and have, over the years, learned to create products that are designed to suit women as well as men. Good tech, like all good products, sells across gender boundaries.
I suppose this is a reminder for women and the majority of very sensible and respectable men, who are not sexist and can take a joke, that even if we spend a month every year honouring women and their extraordinary achievements, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Obviously, the correlation is problematic. But this man was convinced his solution was more effective: “licensed concealed carry will empower women and short/weak men of any colour” since “life is not without risk”.
Silencing women in this day and age is definitely no laughing matter.
Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA