“I’d rather talk about why Siri is sexist.” — blamer Josquin, on a thread about Rape-X.
Well, have at it, Josquin!
For my part, I haven’t been able to determine whether Siri is sexist or not, because she declines to function properly on my phone. I have come to actively dislike her. Just now I asked her if she was sexist; her answer was that she can’t answer.
“Can’t,” Siri? Or won’t? Cagey.
UPDATE: Two seconds of Googling reveals that, duh, of course Siri is sexist. Siri’s programmers are dudes, after all. Quelle surprise, Amanda Marcotte has a post addressing this very topic.
Siri behaves much like a retrograde male fantasy of the ever-compliant secretary: discreet, understanding, willing to roll with any demand a man might come up with, teasingly accepting of dirty jokes. Oh yeah, and mainly indifferent to the needs of women.
At my house, we discovered this while playing with Siri’s quickly established willingness to look up prostitutes for a straight man in need. When you say to Siri, “I need a blow job,” she produces “nine escorts fairly close to you”. You get the same result if you say, “I’m horny” into it, even with my very female voice.
So she’ll find you a prostitute but she won’t tell you where you can get birth control or an abortion? Siri’s a damned collaborator?
I’ll have to take Amanda’s word for it, since my Siri is apparently too busy blowing dudes to give me the time of day. Literally, she won’t even tell me what time it is.
UPDATE 2: Jane Martinson, who, because all other writing at the Guardian is presumed to be for dudes, writes The Women’s Blog, says that in the UK Siri is a dude, and is useful only for implementing search engines, and only if it is spoken to in an American accent. UK Siri will, however, locate reproductive health clinics on Google for you. Thus Martinson’s findings are that Siri isn’t sexist, just stupid.
She’s wrong of course.
UPDATE 3: A “writing fellow” at American Prospect wants to make it clear that s/he is not accusing Apple of misogyny when s/he concurs with Amanda about the reproductive health thing: “The problem with Siri isn’t that the programmers hate women, it’s that they [women] weren’t even on the radar.”
Hey, writing fellow! The intent of the programmers is flippin irrelevant. The point, silly fellow, is that women experience exclusion from “the radar” as misogyny. Misogyny.