This week, Apple unveiled updated iPhones, a bigger iPad, an upgraded Apple TV and some fun accessories. As part of the iPad Pro demonstration, Adobe’s mobile design director Eric Snowden showed off his new Adobe Fix. The app enables mobile photo retouching and its face detection features are impressive, to say the least.
You can see how it works here:
And, well, feminists are … outraged.
See, the person operating the software is a member of the male sex and the person whose face is being photoshopped is a woman. I’m sure you see the problem. Oh you don’t? Here, let these outraged people explain it to you:
Stop telling women to smile Apple
Femsplain (@femsplain) September 9, 2015
Watching a man photoshop a woman to make her smile more is kind of a cruel joke.
Lauren Hockenson (@lhockenson) September 9, 2015
The Verge’s Chris Plante (who was one of the leaders of the mob that went after scientist Matt Taylor — of landing a spaceship on a comet fame — for wearing a kitschy bowling shirt with cartoon depictions of buxom women with bare shoulders) headlined his piece “Tone-deaf iPad Pro demo photo-edits a smile onto a woman, gets applause.” Here are a few others:
The Guardian: Apple’s iPhone event had record number of women on stage, but why did it Photoshop one?
CNN: Apple Catches Heat for Photoshopping Smile on Woman’s Face
Are you freaking kidding me? Should they have made her frown?
I mean, you have to be trying to get outraged to respond to amazing technology this way. And I say this as someone who has gone on record loathing that thing where men with no game tell women to smile.
If you’re a dude trying to pick up a lady, this is just straight-up free advice: ix-nay the “smile” commands. The vast majority of women find it annoying.
OK, back to the silliness of this Photoshop outrage. It was so over-the-top and unnecessary that I was suggesting that Adobe and Apple had deliberately trolled feminists into doing it in order to gin up attention for the app. At which point Ed Driscoll mentioned something very interesting:
What’s this now?
He linked to a 2010 tutorial put out by the evil Adobe about its Puppet Warp tool. It begins with host Colin Smith saying:
One job that retouchers get asked to do all the time is make someone smile — whether it’s a family portrait shot or a product shot and someone’s just not happy enough.
And then he begins working on a photo to show how to make people smile more and even open their eyes.
That’s not a woman! That’s a hot black dude!
Oh dear, what should we take away from this? Is it that the bad white man is telling the black man to smile? Or is it that Adobe is a product marketed using pictures of both attractive men and attractive women, and that retouching is not a patriarchal plot.