Is Samsung Sexist? Galaxy S4, Note 2, And S Capitivate Failures Cause Trouble

By Jordan Mammo , Mar 16, 2013 03:52 PM EDT

The Samsung Galaxy S4 event took place on Thursday, March 14, but the unveiling is still creating ripples days after it ended. Considering that the show took place in New York City's Radio City Music Hall, Samsung tried to live up to the historic venue's reputation by putting on a tech spectacle like no other. The Galaxy S4 event was certainly unique, but was it also sexist? And what does it say about Samsung as a whole?

The South Korean giant offended many when it tried to explain why ladies would be interested in the Galaxy S4. Some of the smartphone's features were specifically aimed towards attracting women during the presentation, but the lack of subtlety ended up simply turning many in its intended audience off.

For example, during the Galaxy S4 event, Samsung showcased how the phone would be great for women because it would help them do the things they cared about most: planning weddings, cooking, and losing weight. Women dressed as bridesmaids were used to present all lady-oriented features, like the Air Wave, which is a great way for women to cook without worrying about "sticky fingers" getting in the way of using their phone. Meanwhile, the S Health app would be loved by women because "weight loss!" Seriously. That's what the lady screamed. Because weight loss.

Clearly, the Galaxy S4 show had its share of blunders. But the bigger problem, as the Atlantic Wire points out, is that this isn't the first (or second, or third) time Samsung has promoted its products by stereotyping women.

In one of its commercials for the Galaxy Note 2 (first video below), Samsung portrayed a woman employee as lazy, watching puppy videos and playing games while her male counterpart used his Note 2 for work. The man ends up saying she could get fired for not working, but when he passes his work document to her phone she lies and takes credit for writing it. What happens is the woman doesn't work and lies about it, but even as she takes credit for writing the report her male counterpart is the one who "wins" and goes out for lunch with the boss.

Another commercial for the Galaxy S Captivate, meanwhile, shows a man's girlfriend talking non-stop, torturing the driver until he hands over a shiny object (the Galaxy phone) to shut her up. The commercial doesn't even advertise any phone features outside of games and movies, but suddenly the woman stops talking and her glossy stare is transfixed on the Galaxy screen.

Then there's Samsung giving away free make-up with its pink Galaxy S "Femme" (for girls, get it?)

Of course, the flip side to all this is that in many modern commercials men are often portrayed as bumbling, lazy idiots. Commenters on the Atlantic Wire article are quick to point this out, but the fact remains that the portrayal of women has been a sore spot for the tech world for years and years. Samsung doesn't make things any better by creating numerous advertisements that simply continue the trend.

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