Let’s Discuss Motorola’s Moto X Lady Problems

Motorola’s feminine-friendly phone advertising.
Photo: Courtesy of Motorola

Motorola came out with a new phone and it’s called the Moto X. It’s a big deal. It’s the Google Phone we’ve all been waiting for since they bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2011. Anyway, the cool functional aspects are that the Moto X is super fast and you tell it what to do not so much by smearing your finger sebum all over its face and then mashing that face onto your face but by talking to it or, like, flicking your hand a certain way if you want to use the camera. My near-death, very-old iPhone in comparison requires about 26 seconds, a blue streak of curses and a solid ruining of the moment in order to get the camera to work. Basically, it’s this huge move away from manual controls. Anyway, I haven’t met this phone in person or hung out with it so if you want more details you can read this or this or if you want the Cliffs Notes/TL;DR, read this. Or you can just go to Twitter and watch all the poindexters get huffy at each other about different vibes of the coverage so far.

But since we’re a style blog, let’s talk about how this doodad looks. It looks cool. And that’s nice since it’s an Android. You can even Nike iD it up on the Moto Maker customization web site (it’s not live yet or I’d link it) or in AT&T stores later this year. There’s a BOATLOAD of permutations since you can meddle with the color and materials and people are going bonkers for the woodgrain one that’s coming out in Q4 because some people are obsessed with wood like that.

Now, let’s consider the advertising imagery. OK, I know that this isn’t some Fujitsu’s Floral Kiss laptop in “Feminine Pink”-ish but the folks responsible have a really interesting way of marketing towards women. First they used an insanely out-of-touch “That’s What She Said” joke in a print ad, basically exactly the way your step-dad who you HATE would use it (they’ve since kiboshed the joke but you can see it here). And then when they did a bunch of market work to show you how good your new Moto X phone looks with all your stuff, they did a decent job with the fellas but screwed the pooch hardcore with the women.

Motorola didn’t forget about phones for the fellas.
Photo: Courtesy of Motorola

Compare the guy’s pinterestables to the first image of this post. Sure, it’s the hyper-curated contents of a limited-edition, heritage brand x Japanese label, oiled leather weekender (LOL at graphite pencils). And OK, it does say “kemosabe” which is also really confusing (again on that step-dad-joke tip) but at least they are identifiable, covetable things that men you know would want. Now look again at the first image. Who is this flammable garbage for? Which molly-chomping, jaw-bulgey, short-short-and-white-rollerskates-wearing, 45-year-old, dude-raver with bleached-blonde hair + a neon pacifier did you rob for this particular assemblage of trash? “Feminine mystique” is SO TELLING. The guys are told to choose wisely and to wear things well. We’re told that they’ve provided a “ridiculous amount of color options” and that you can match or not because WHO THE F KNOWS WHAT CHICKS WANT OMGAWG. And then the “is bigger really better?” copy (this “size joke” created a bunch of drama and the Moto crew changed it to the equally preposterous “play Goldilocks and choose the right size for you”) is so baffling because it’s just trying to convey that it, like phones that have come before it without the terrible, dorky, wise-cracking comes in 16 or 32GB and you should get what you can afford.

I just wish they wouldn’t try so hard. Let us have an elegant phone from a company that cares about intuitive interfacing and bespoke design elements without being painfully tacky. Also, for the record, were I to get this phone it would definitely be in matte black. WITH A BUBBLEGUM SCRATCH-N-SNIFF GLITTER BLING BLING CASE OBVI!!!! Not really.

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