Quick Hit: iPhone “Apps for Girls”

Apparently, Apple’s App Store has a category called “Apps for Girls.” Among the iPhone’s “essential” Apps for Girls are MASH, Fashion Fix, and lastly, Math Flash Cards, because girls are bad at math. To quote Barbie: “Math class is tough. I love shopping!”
The link and the list:

Thanks to Mike Healy for the iPhone screenshots. iTunes screenshots are here.

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35 Comments

  1. nestra
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Stretch…
    If there hadn’t been a math flashcards app there would have been an very similar post here, except it would complain about how girls were interested in other things, like math!
    Posts like this that reinforce the stereotype of feminists as complaining about everything, and damning those that do as well as those that don’t, add to the problem rather than help solve it.
    Really, was it just a very slow women’s issues news day?

  2. JLu
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Here is what the description of this category said in the email I got from Apple today:
    “Sugar and spice and everything nice — that and a bit of sassiness describes our App Store Essentials just for girls. Play dress up with Dress Your Princess and Roiworld: Fashion Fix. Aspiring scientists can get a head start with Math Flash Cards, while future designers can create their very own magazine cover with Disney Channel Cover Styler.”

  3. NoJoy
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure it was G.I. Joe who said, “I love shopping!”

  4. electrictoaster
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I think it depends what age bracket these “girls” are supposed to be in. Do third-graders have iPhones? ‘Cause otherwise, making an app to teach “girls” how to add, subtract, and multiply and divide single digit numbers is pretty obnoxious, and not exactly a challenge to the stereotype that girls aren’t interested in math. If little kids really are getting iPhones, then nevermind.

  5. electrictoaster
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, my Barbie never would’ve said that. She seemed awful aggressive, though, always on about killing snakes or some shit.

  6. daveNYC
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    These apps can also run on an iPod touch. Though that’s still a pricy chunk of hardware to be giving a grade schooler.

  7. Pantheon
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Even if the apps themselves aren’t offensive to girls, I don’t see why they need a separate category for girls instead of kids in general.
    ( I do know several little kids who use apps on their parents iphones or ipod touches on a regular basis, so its not like they have to have their own device. )

  8. aleks
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I used math flashcards. I didn’t realize that implied I was bad at math or a girl.

  9. prettyinpink
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Aw man, MASH! I loved that game as a girl. Good times!

  10. daytrippinariel
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    All of these games look like they’re for younger elementary aged girls.

  11. aleks
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Did the exhaustive research that went into this post uncover whether only the easiest math facts are covered by the app?

  12. Ariel
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    You didn’t play SHAMPOO? Shack house apartment mansion palace outhouse outhouse?

  13. Ariel
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    The game is marketed toward 2-6 year-olds, and features a voice-over by a 4-year-old girl. They are counting and addition games. The point wasn’t so much that girls should not learn math, or even that we should assume no girls need the help of math flashcards (which I used as well!), but rather that this list appears to be an effort to reinforce the anti-science, anti-adventure marketing of technology toward girls, with one learning application thrown in for good measure. And it’s not a trivia application, or even something with more breadth, but a math app for 4-year-olds.

  14. aleks
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    So there’s a math app for four year old girls, featuring basic math facts, because “girls are bad at math”? Should I be teaching my niece long division at that age? Is there an equivalent calculus app for 4yo boys?

  15. electrictoaster
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I Googled the app to find out what it covers before writing my comment. It is really, really basic stuff, like I mentioned. None of the screenshots show anything more than a 1-digit number as an operand, and only +-/* as operators. But the page didn’t mention what the target audience was, and I’m not exactly an insider to iPhone culture, who’s using it and how, etc., since I’m still using the flip-phone I got for my 16th birthday. If it’s for 2-6 year olds, though, I have to say I’m more impressed than anything. I certainly couldn’t do my times tables at that age.

  16. electrictoaster
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Sounds kind of shitty to me.

  17. aleks
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Extremely classist.

  18. prettyinpink
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Haha I didn’t, but I assume the rules were the same?

  19. ebetty
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    For a comparison, is there an apps for boys?

  20. teacherwoman
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t see a problem with the math flashcards.

  21. Ariel
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    I don’t know of childhood games about predicting a young girl’s heterosexual future that are not classist.

  22. Gopher
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    If so I’m sure they revolve around science and adventure/explorer things.

  23. JLu
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    No. When you type in “Apps for Boys” into the iTunes search function, you get six hits, four of them about sex/attractiveness, one about robots, and one about a playground: http://tinyurl.com/yexs5k8.

  24. Eileen
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The post wasn’t about flashcards, it was about ghettoizing girls and providing them with inferior apps.
    You guys all continue though. Sexism doesn’t exist, which is why so many people hang out at this site to tear down the women who work her.

  25. Eileen
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    her should be here

  26. aleks
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    If a math app for 4yo girls isn’t sexist, then nothing is?

  27. MisukoB
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Agreed!
    For me it is depressing when I see so many feminists who takes the “Why are you nitpicking on this!” route. Just look at the all I like votes in the thread. Because it reminds med of the usual stuff I hear when I criticize misogyny, gender norms and sexism in society.

  28. aleks
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Environmentally unconscionable as well. Don’t little girls know how much environment is obliterated in the making of a palace or mansion, and how much energy goes into heating or cooling those things?

  29. aleks
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Are there non-gender specific kids apps?

  30. Ariel
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Check out this screenshot. http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/ccbchunks/Picture2-2.png The point is that Apple decides to shower girls with these stereotypical fashion/girly/non-educational apps, and then throws them the bone of one low-level math app. Yeah, if the math app wasn’t there I’d still be complaining.

  31. aleks
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Are the gender neutral games (not Disney or animal related cause teh boyz hates them) and other educational apps marked boys-only?

  32. NapoleonInRags
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    For my part, it isn’t that the OP was nitpicking that was the problem. I legitimately think this post wildly misrepresented Apple’s intent. Including math flashcards and the phrase “Aspiring scientists can get a head start with Math Flash Cards, while future designers can create their very own magazine cover with Disney Channel Cover Styler.” Suggests that those marketing this are trying to be part of the solution rather than the problem. I personally think we should reward rather than penalize that.
    Yes, there are still problems related to the gendering of certain apps for girls, but at least in this case, Apple’s marketers recognize the need to open up fields like Science and Design, rather than only Princess and Mommy, to girls.

  33. electrictoaster
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I was just making a poop joke, not actually criticizing the game. :(

  34. daytrippinariel
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I think the math flash cards are great. I had math flash cards as a kid and it gave me a head start in math. It never sent the message that girls are bad at math and need extra help. I didn’t realize the “girls suck at math” stereotype existed until I was much older.

  35. Terrils
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    And where are the boys’ math flash cards? I think that’s the point here.

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