Sunday, October 25, 2009

PC World on the Pepsi Amp App (by Liz)

As you probably know, I am neither as brave nor as wise, as our goddess Echidne. While she boldly explores the comment sections online, I avoid them at all costs. After all, I can hardly handle the stories themselves. In conducting research for Hello Ladies, I came across a troublesome article in PC World magazine.

But first some background: Recently, Pepsi released an iPhone app for its energy drink Amp called “Before You Score." The app was designed to help men "score" by providing pick up lines and other useful tidbits for 24 different types of women. You know, those categories we all fall into: business woman, tree hugger, married, twins. And, the app encouraged men to brag about their scores using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. It prodded them to share details. Following an uproar on blogs and Twitter, the company eventually pulled the app.

JR Raphael, PC World writer, said in an article entitled, "Sex and Smartphones: 5 Apps Edgier Than Pepsi's 'Amp Up'," the app was pulled when people complained of "stereotyping and sexism." He's wrong. It wasn't just the stereotyping --it was the encouraging men to brag about their conquests. That's more than sexist. That's irresponsible and potentially dangerous in a rape culture.

Then he goes on to write, "The objections to Pepsi's app included claims that it objectified women and turned sex into a game. The people lodging these complaints, I have to assume, have never picked up a copy of Men's Health or Cosmo (or watched a single movie made since 1967)." So is he saying that because women have been objectified for years, we shouldn't get upset at any new offense? I believe he is.

Raphael implies, by comparing the Amp app to other apps that remind men when their girlfriends are menstruating or that provide texts to help men "chat with the hottie whose number you got," that women are just humorless and opposed to anything sexual. But Raphael is comparing merely stupid apps with a potentially dangerous app. Reminding men to send email to their dates is very different than telling men to "raise your expectations" with regards to scoring. According to his byline, Raphael "swims in satire." I failed to get the humor in his post. But, oh I forgot, I am humorless.

To be fair to PC World, they ran another piece on the Pepsi app. This one by David Coursey, "Pepsi Removes "Amp Up" iPhone App, Humanity Rejoices," was encouraging. Coursey says, "Complaining about this application isn't just "political correctness," it's wanting to live in a world where men and women are treated equally and with respect." And Coursey is not being sarcastic.