It seems like we are getting increasingly sensitive with each passing day. You cannot say anything without worrying that your words might come off as offensive. We just need a reason to be upset now. We have stopped thinking about the context of a thing, we take everything at face value. I was pretty shocked when Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby was accused of Sexism.
Trouble started with the descriptor tags given to the male and female versions of Bixby. The female voice had descriptive tags like “chipper, clear, and cheerful.” The male voice had tags like “assertive, confident, and clear.” Samsung had to face a backlash because the descriptive tags were seen as stereotypical. Samsung has apologized since then.
Now, here is the thing. Stereotypes exist for a reason and not all stereotypes have a stigma attached. I am a woman but definitely not a feminist for the simple reason that I do not understand the meaning of feminism yet. Is it about having the same rights as men? Is it about equality? What does equality really mean? Dictionaries define equality as the state of being equal, especially when it comes status, rights, or opportunities. Deducing from this definition I can safely say that feminism was never about proving that men and women have the same traits.
I would like to quote an article published on Psychology Today. It clearly states that there are significant differences in the traits of men and women. Women tend to be warmer and more sensitive than men. On the other hand, men are usually more dominant and emotionally stable. Women are also usually more polite than men. According to a research, men and women only share 10% of traits.
Men and women can be equal, but it does not mean that they have to be the same. Cheerfulness is not a negative trait. If Bixby’s male voice assistant has been defined as confident, it does not automatically imply that the female voice assistant has a lack of confidence.
So, dear Samsung, I would like to apologize to you. Your descriptive tags were neither offensive nor demeaning. Your tags merely reflected the differences between men and women, and the difference should be celebrated, not shunned.