iPad:This is NOT about Apple’s latest product

Last night, I was waiting to watch the release of ‘Apple Tablet’ like many Apple enthusiasts all over the world until I could wait no more. I fell asleep. So, I was half asleep when I asked ‘Apple Tablet release vayo?’ (Is the Apple Table out yet?)  The reply was: ‘Hoina tesko naam iPad raicha.’ (No, its called iPad). And the first thing that crosses my mind is the sanitary pad. The term ‘pad’ automatically gets interpreted as ‘sanitary pad’ in my head. Of course, I know there are notepads and other ‘pads’ but they all come later. So, the American women aren’t alone in seeing the sanitary connection here. The correlation was instantaneous even for a Nepali like me. Though it could be an entirely different story for many Nepali women where the access to pads is an issue in itself. There’s chhau padi tradition, untouchability issues and what not. We (Nepali women) could write a novel on menstrual cycles if we wanted to, couldn’t we? And I could definitely contribute more than a few chapters.

This reality check apart, what struck me the most when I came across plethora of blogs/tweets on  iPad or iTampon or how it made some women cringe or fueled more women hygiene jokes was the sheer awesomeness attached to the fact that women in the West can laugh about sanitary pads (or menstrual cycles) all over the mainstream (and new) media. Imagine newspapers like Kantipur or Nagarik splashed with sanitary pad experiences. Imagine Nepali women hotly debating the nitty-gritty of menstrual cycles, the pads, the pain, the untouchability practice and chau-padi (apart from occasional reports like the one linked here). I would definitely call it a day if that ever happened. How often do we come across a women’s take on issues in Nepal? Despite the evergreen existence of women NGO et al in Nepal how empowered has the common Nepali woman become to voice her thoughts on everything? And there is always an ‘acceptability’ factor in the Nepali society as to what a woman says or does.

I might be blogging, tweeting or always having things ‘my’ way but this change in a handful of English boarding school cum private university going Kathmandu women is not enough. We don’t represent anyone else but ourselves. That’s just my belief. So, here I wait for that moment in history when Nepal (the society as a whole) is at ease with an iPad sense of humor. And if you are still waiting for some Apple iPad product review don’t force me to yell ” You didn’t read the title, Did You!!” 😛

Jehos, I don’t think I will own an iPad anytime soon. I don’t earn a penny at the moment. So forget $499. The iBook feature looks interesting to me but I don’t want to indulge in the iPad will kill Amazon’s Kindle or not debate. I am certain that both put together will never be able to kill ‘books’ on paper. Why have another gadget to look after when books can be tossed, turned, smelled, held and at times even lost without suffering a huge monetary loss? Hoina ta?

Here’s the NY times Bits blog which inspired me to write this. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, hope you do too.

The iPad’s Name Makes Some Women Cringe

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

When Apple announced the name of its tablet computer today — the iPad — my mind immediately went to the feminine hygiene aisle of the drugstore. It turns out I wasn’t alone.

The term “iTampon” quickly became a trending topic on Twitter because of Tweets like this one: “Heavy flow? There’s an app for that!” A CNBC anchor, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, said the iPad was a “terrible name” for the tablet. “It reminds me of feminine products,” she said.

“Are there any women in Apple marketing?” asked Brooke Hammerling, founder of Brew Media Relations, a technology public relations firm. “The first impression of every single woman I’ve spoken to is that it’s cringe-inducing. It indicates to me that there wasn’t a lot of testing or feedback.”

It is not just women who were surprised. When Peter Shankman, a public relations and social media expert, saw the name on television, he was taken aback. “I’m waiting for the second version that comes with wings,” he said.

Mr. Shankman was surprised that Apple, with its meticulous attention to detail, missed the significance. He cited a piece of company lore — when its naming conventions called for a new computer to be called the Macintosh SEx, Apple went with the name Macintosh SE/30 instead.

So if the name is a bit tone-deaf, at least to half the population, will it hurt sales of the iPad?

“In three months’ time, if it delivers on its promise, no one’s going to remember that they chuckled about it,” said Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer at Landor Associates, a brand consulting firm that has introduced new names for many products and services. (Like many men, he said that he did not make the menstruation connection at first.)

The women I interviewed said that if the iPad is a must-have, they will buy it, even if their first reaction was to wince at the name.

Apple probably vetted the name and knew the risk it was taking, Mr. Roth said, but used the name anyway because it was so fitting. I e-mailed Apple to ask, but haven’t heard back yet. (Some critics, including a few commenters on the Bits blog, noted that Apple currently lists no women in its top executive positions.)

Mr. Roth said that whatever its drawbacks, the iPad name was effective.

“The minute you heard the name, did you know exactly who it was and who brought it to you?” he said. “Yes. Because they followed the naming convention that they created and have used very cleverly, and it’s a name that actually is very descriptive.”

And here’s a funny iPad video from Mad Tv made in 2007. Have a good laugh:D

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3 comments

  1. Thanks for bringing sanitary napkins ‘pads’ into vogue. I am only remembering a few brands now-Kotex, Feme, Whisper and Stayfree.

    Nepal does need to discuss about pads. It was nice to read about a school in Nawalparasi providing pads for free to its girl students in todays Kantipur daily. Just let not the NGOs now take up the task of bringing in funds from all over the world to distribute some flthy cotton balls in villages. You can do better.Be honest, utilize the fund you can bring in to distribute some comfy pads.

  2. They don’t have it in newspapers, not the front page anyway, but writers in 60s and 70s like Bhupi Sherchan talked about menstrual cycles, and menopause.

    hahahaha “We don’t represent anyone else but ourselves.” There is still a lot of “पर सर्नु” in the rest of Nepal, which always reminds women that they are still women. But this also functions as a sort of an “indoor” awareness- Among brothers and sisters.

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