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Smartphones for Women Are Apparently Smaller, Pinker, and More Hexagonal


The Keecoo K1 is a smartphone made for women. I’m not just extrapolating that based on the pink hues, the gem-shaped case, or the makeup surrounding the phones in this advertisement. I’m basing it on the actual about page for the phone, which explicitly says that the phone is “for women.”

What do women want in a phone? Well, they want it to be pink, of course! … and for the record, that’s fine with me, although I don’t see why women should have a monopoly on pink. Anyone can have a pink phone.

Apparently, women also have a monopoly on selfies, because this phone puts its selfie game front and center. It offers a front-facing camera that includes built-in after-effects, meaning it “automatically makes your skin look delicate and smooth.” Um … but … what if I just want to take a picture of my actual face, with my makeup looking how it actually looks? Is it possible to remove this “automatic” filtering system, or is it non-negotiable? Oh, and why is this “for women” specifically, again?

The phone’s camera also emphasizes multiple times that it’s possible to take photos in “low lighting,” which doesn’t really seem like a “girl thing” to me, since I’m pretty sure that it’s not just women who take selfies at clubs and bars. But, hey, maybe I’m wrong about that.

The product description also details the phone’s small size, boasting that it’s designed for “the small hands of women.” Only women have small hands, apparently, and would therefore want a phone that could accommodate that. Oh, and all women have small hands. Apparently. Okay then!

It’s not until you scroll to about 80% of the way down the descriptions on the page before you finally learn about the specs of the phone. It’s got 16GB of storage with 2GB of RAM, which is on par with the iPhone 6. The Chinese company manufacturing these phones is brand new and just got into the smartphone biz, although apparently they also make decently well-reviewed cameras.

The Keecoo K1 is only available in China for the moment. According to these statistics, smartphone owners in China are almost exactly 50/50 in terms of gender demographics. Now, in spite of that, maybe smartphones are considered a “guy thing” in China, and that would explain this marketing campaign. I just don’t know.

Still, I think focusing so much on the “for women” aspect of this phone, rather than the actual specs, seems like a mistake. Yes, the color and shape and weight of a phone does matter, and the camera quality matters (although that automatic smoothing thing sounds like a bad idea to me; there are already a lot of apps out there for that, and if it were me, I’d prefer to do my own selfie editing, thank you). Marketing these specific phone traits as being “for women” seems unnecessary. Lots of different people might want a smaller and more comfortable-to-hold phone size! That’s not just a “girl thing.”

Anyway, if you are someone who wants a really small phone, I’ve heard good things about the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, which is a mini Android phone. It doesn’t hurt that Android didn’t specifically market the phone as being “for women,” since most everyone owns a phone these days, and the act of using a phone (big or small, pink or not) isn’t gendered and doesn’t need to be gendered. Oh, and also, gendered advertising doesn’t work. So, there’s that too.

(via The Daily Dot, image via Keecoo)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (