Apple Angers Twitter With Sex-Censored Engraving Process

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Did you know you can’t get the word clit engraved on the back of your iPhone? Most people, who’ve never attempted to append the word to their messages remain ignorant of the fact, and a great many of them, until this morning at least, probably included Apple engineers. An online campaign is bringing light to the situation and the double standard at the heart of the matter.

Apple probably didn’t want to spend Friday dealing with complaints from online feminists, but it’s managed to raise the ire of several groups after it became clear that the company’s iPhone engraving service regards several words relating to the female anatomy as inappropriate. The campaign, which was started by a blog post from Justyn Hintze, is operating on Twitter under the hashtag #myclitmychoice.

Apple censors Clit

According to Hintze, she attempted to have a line of poetry from Alix Olson engraved on the back of her iPad. The line, which reads “I’ll give myself a lube job,/shake my broomstick til my clit throbs” returned a message decrying its “inappropriate language” and denied the request to have the line engraved on the iPad. Hintze, obviously affronted at the denial, began to experiment with the Apple engraving system.


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According to the blogger, Apple will allow references to male genitalia to be engraved on an iPad. There should be some understanding about the word dick being allowed, given that it’s a common name, but the word penis was able to make it past the inappropriate language check. When it became clear that the word vagina was censored, the campaign began, and Apple’s PR people will be running to put out fires all morning.
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Hintze referred to the Olson line as “feminist, sex-positive, and it makes me smile. Every. single. time.” in her blog post.

Not Every Affront Is Intentional, But Many Are Exemplary

Although Hintze suggested in the same blog post that there was some kind of intent behind the Apple denial, it’s unlikely that company executives held a meeting and decided that this was the best way to deal with inappropriate language. The clit denial was likely caused by a filter that uses a standard list of offensive words.

The blogger said, “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.”

There is no doubt that the situation should be changed, and little doubt that Apple will do just that, but the incident is not damning of Apple so much as it is a reminder of the misogyny that still exists throughout society. The dictionary of inappropriate terms used by Apple needs an update, as do the internal dictionaries of people around the world. The kind of personal offense taken at the misogyny of robots seems, however, to be a misdirection of energy.

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