I don't own an iPhone. However, having read this article and the article that it was based on (don't click), I discussed this theory with Cute Boy Person, who upgraded his iPhone to iOS 7 on Wednesday. Then we examined his phone Thursday afternoon over brunch. The result was an attempt to make his phone as manly as possible, as sarcastically as possible. Why BusinessInsider felt the need lend any validity to this stance, I don't know, but for the love of God, don't click on the original "analysis," which is clickbait. I've already hate-read it for you and will include quotations so you can see its ridiculousness without actually giving him any ad revenue or page hits.

Long story short: a men’s rights activist got a beta of iOS 7 and decided that it looked like it was designed by Lisa Frank. He is basing this, quite literally, on the image at top and the Lisa Frank image enclosed next. Now, I’m not sure how much LSD you have to have taken to decide that the iOS 7 screenshot looks pink and purple with rainbow flowers and cutsey animals, but I’m fairly sure it’s a requirement.

Most of the icons are a mishmash of pastels that exude emotionally incoherent inconsistency. Some of the icons use gradients (camera, weather and messages) and shadows (the settings icon), while others have a more flat design (newsstand, compass and stocks).

The color scheme is almost unbearable if you’re someone that appreciates the stronger, richer and more detailed icons in iOS 6.


OMG, not gradients! Graphic designers have avoided gradients in device design because it’s too feminine since the “Devices are for Men Manifesto” of 2000, even though at the time, devices didn’t even have colors. And shadows! Shadows are totally not dark colors and are thus feminine, you guise! Let’s look at some of the actual differences:

  1. Messages has been replaced by Music, which is either a change in default or more likely, resetting to the default.
  2. The Safari logo no longer aspires to be a Netscape Navigator logo.
  3. The settings icon has changed from gears to a computer fan. The gears are consistent with what’s on my older Mac, but IMO neither icon actually makes sense.
  4. The camera icon now looks like a camera instead of a lens, which is clearer.
  5. The weather icon no longer tries to fool you into thinking that it is sunny and 73 degrees at all times.
  6. Photos icon is now something that doesn’t pretend to be a photo but still makes little sense.
  7. Reminders is no longer a checklist, which is clearer about the functionality.
  8. Game Center appears to want to be replaced with an app group (or whatever they’re called, see 9) and in the meantime, does not advertise for any existing games.
  9. I’m going to call these app groups because I don’t know what they’re called. It’s basically a folder that contains multiple apps that the user has organized that way for usability. This is still supported and CBP already had groups set up by the time I looked at his phone. This is user customization.
  10. This icon is user customization.
  11. The background has changed and again, is user customization.

So what are the overall complaints here? That the designers made the icons make more sense to users (likely based on customer feedback) and that the default screenshot supplied with the beta failed to be as manly as a male user’s already customized iPhone. What is the real complaint? The default background image has bubbles and light blue, which is apparently a girl color now.


I think the whole “boy color”/”girl color” thing is pretty dumb. DeposedDespot used to always say “Blue is a boy color” as a way to get me to buy furnishings that were blue and thus manly. Then he’d giggle and go squeeeeee! because he wasn’t particularly manly. We had blue plates and blue glasses and two blue couches because blue is a boy color. Not once did he decide that only dark blue is a boy color, that light blue is a girl color.

But this guy goes even further than making light blue a girl color. Apparently, a color is for girls unless is has a k-value high enough to be “masculine.” For those not versed in CMYK or color wheels with K values, what I mean is that a color is for girls unless there’s enough black mixed with the hue.

If you look at the icons side by side in the image below, it’s clear that the ones on the left are testosterone-based with strong, manly, dark colors while the ones on the right float in an estrogen-addled nightmare of gaudy colors. Did we really need fluorescent green Messages and Phone icons?


Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we were complaining about the new version having too many gradients. Apparently, we’re complaining that removing the gradient and leaving the lowest k-value color on the icon is “feminine.” Also, dark colors are testosterone-based and not-dark-colors are an estrogen addled, gaudy nightmare.

If this is Jonathan Ive’s work then it seems pretty clear that Scott Forstall was the alpha male at Apple…. What exactly does Ives have against men, anyway?


Yeah, poor downtrodden men. They are being discriminated against by the existence of not-dark colors on a phone designed by someone named “Jonathan.”

Speaking of the lack of testosterone, Game Center has become a total eunuch. Some people complained about the green felt look in iOS 6, but at least that had a masculine feel to it. It reminded me of playing pool at a pool hall, or going to a casino at night in Las Vegas. It felt like you were going to a place that would welcome guys, and that you’d have a good time there.

Wow. Dude reads a hell of a lot into an icon that’s intended to be discarded, even while admitting that the redesign is in response to customer complaints. Now, how a throw-away icon can become a eunuch, I honestly have no idea. I mean, the original doesn’t seem to have a penis, unless by penis you mean "dart." Yes, the dart was removed. Total eunuch.

Second, gaming is known as one of the few communities that is still mostly masculine in its perspective and sensibilities.


Well, actually, casual gaming is known as female-centric, not just by the companies that have their demographics to work with, but by guys who say things like “games are for men.” This is the excuse for sexism against women in hardcore games, but also for deriding casual games as "for women." And iPhone games are casual games. Basically, dudebro has to ignore his own rhetoric to make this "point."

The Game Center icon went from exuding the promise of action and fun, to meaning absolutely nothing whatsoever.

Yes, because there’s a buttload of action in chess and no one ever plays casual games involving bubbles. They only play casual games based on the bubble game genre, like Candy Crush Saga and Bejeweled, which are played by exactly no one. Clearly, manly man is such an awesome games expert that he doesn’t even know that bubble games are a genre that is one of the top genres for casual games, you know, the ones played on iPhones.

That got me thinking about the iOS 7 beta, there really is no male space in it. It’s an almost exclusively feminine experience from top to bottom.


Uh huh. So the problem is that Apple isn’t forcing women into spaces that feel “manly” just to pander only to men, which is pandering to women because UI interfaces are totally a zero-sum game where gender is concerned! Jesus, dude, so what if the icons no longer include a gradient that made the green darker at one end which you think made it manly? Change the background!

Cute Boy Person and I went through all of the included backgrounds to find one manly enough without going over, but if all else fails, take a picture of a bodybuilder and set that as your background! Done and done! Use the customization that allows you to put apps in groups! I have news for you! The app group things are translucent, so you’ll be able to color them as manly as you like simply by making a manly, manly background. Install some manly games, like a tower defense game where you defend your penis against an onslaught of pastel-colored bubbles by insulting their manliness! (Someone remind me to make this game.)

Note that I’m fully aware that some women might argue that iOS 6 was too manly. Fair enough, but you had your chance ladies. You should have spoken up about it earlier on. Or maybe some of you did behind the scenes and Apple listened just a little too well and thus we got iOS 7?


Um. Do you even logic, bro? Maybe women just looked at their phones and couldn't figure out why the Safari logo was a compass, while not evaluating whether or not the color scheme was inherently feminine.

Of course, the possibility always exists that one of my iOS devices might die and need to be replaced. But even then I still have the option of buying a replacement device that will run iOS 6. Not to mention Android and Windows Phone, neither of which have been overly feminized in the same way as this beta release of iOS 7.

You know what’s really funny? I have an Android phone. The default background had even more bubbles and was a lighter blue. And oh hey, the message icon? Same color as on iOS 7. So please make the switch, Guy Who Be Talking Out Of His Ass, since you clearly don’t have any clues to spare.


In other news, he did upgrade to iOS 7 and he likes it quite a bit, even though the design didn’t change. I can’t speak to his perception of the k-values of dark pink and whether they make pink manly just like they make blue girly.

But back to BusinessInsider and its mansplaining terribleness of a review.


The BusinessInsider article tries to justify the Dudebro’s initial stance, even while calling it sexist and pointing out that contrary to the Dudebro’s opinion, there’s nothing inherently wrong with femininity. Mansplainer accepts the premise that “dark colors” are manly and “not dark colors” are feminine, and then runs with it. Why? Because Apple product sales demographics are skewed heavily female!

His argument boils down to, “OK, since light blue and medium blue are girl colors unlike dark blue, perhaps this was on purpose in order to appeal to women, since that would actually be a good business decision for Apple.” But here’s where it gets really good.

Color schemes and designs do have different levels of appeal to men and women. That's why Victoria's Secret has an entire line called "Pink." It's also why PepsiCo recently decided to focus its marketing for Diet Pepsi entirely on women and not men.


Yes, Diet Pepsi is marketed for women, but not because women like different color schemes. Diet Pepsi is marketed to women because studies showed that Dudebros and other “I’ve got to prove my manliness at all times because I’m so terrified of being seen as less than hypermasculine” men saw Diet Pepsi as a "drink for women" and wouldn’t drink it. Thus Pepsi came out with a “diet drink for men,” Pepsi One, which is effectively the same product, but advertised to appeal to Men’s Right’s Activists who are totes concerned about their weight but are offended by the notion of purchasing a gender-neutral product that they imagine is for women. Pepsi One is for Manly Dieters Who Work Out With Kale.

And now comes the iPhone 5C, available in five light, bright shades. And the gold iPhone 5S, which gives users a choice above black and white. Notice that the new colors do not include "masculine" shades like burgundy, navy blue or Lincoln green. Only the black iPhone 5S comes in a traditionally male color.


Apparently, manly and goth are the same thing now. As a goth chick, I’m a bit put out that I’m now required to throw out all of my dark pink with black tutus and panties because they’re manly. But let’s look at this from a historical perspective:

Remember the iMac G3, the one designed to appeal to “home users” and “graphic designers” since most people using Macs at the time were graphic designers and other people who used Photoshop— the first computer released under Steve Jobs that reinvigorated the brand and saved Apple?


Not one of them is dark enough to be considered manly under this rule. No one really complained about the machine’s lack of masculinity and the redesign did, in fact, restart the Apple brand. Clearly, candy colors are a failure. Just like Candy Crush Saga.

Given that iPhone and iPad usage is "gendered," in that women are stronger Apple consumers than men, it is not completely outrageous to assume that Apple wants to ensure that its operating environment doesn't alienate women.

And this is the bottom line:

Hey guys, when women complain that the treatment of women in hardcore games is sexist because it treats women as objects to be ogled and saved rather than as real people with depth of character and protective clothing, you tell us to "stop whining and put up with it" because games aren’t for women and being accepting towards women is exclusionary to men. Well, iPhones are for women; if you dislike having a gender-neutral UI because the default colors used across the device and its competitors aren't "alpha male," take your own advice.


Stop whining and put up with it; you’re the ones pretending that being gender-neutral excludes men, you spoiled hypocrites. If you can be emasculated by the color scheme of your phone, you aren’t manly.

Now I wonder if I should explain to "alpha male" "beta software" reviewers that in the software development life cycle, alpha is less complete than beta and after beta is (liquid) gold.

ETA: Nao with moar kale!