"That's not an acceptable choice in the 21st century."
Feminists were outraged by Apple's new line of iPhones, which they complained were too big for women's hands.
Apple on Wednesday rolled out three new iPhone X models that are as big or bigger than the its current models. At the same time, the company announced it would axe its smallest smartphone, the iPhone SE.
The biggest phone that Apple sells will now be the 6.5-inch-wide iPhone Xs Max and the smallest phone will be the 4.7-inch-wide iPhone 7. That means women, who have smaller hands than men on average, will have to stretch their tiny fingers an extra 0.7 inches.
British feminist activist Caroline Criado Perez worried that the new iPhones would cause her to injure herself. Prior to the advent of the iPhone SE, she said, she had developed repetitive strain injury from operating her Apple device.
“I genuinely have RSI from having an iPhone 6, and it went as soon as I switched to an iPhone SE," she told The Independent Thursday. "It genuinely does affect women's hand health, women do buy more iPhones than men, it just baffles me that Apple doesn't design with our bodies in mind."
"I have to make a choice between making an upgrade to the only phone that fits my hand before they discontinue it -- soon there will be no iPhone that fits the average woman’s hand size -- even though the technology is two years out of date. Or get a new one and deal with the fact that it'll give me RSI. That's not an acceptable choice in the 21st century, you need to have a smartphone," Perez added.
"We should be furious about this, we are paying just as much money for it as men for a product that doesn't work as well for us."
In a Twitter thread Thursday, technology scholar and writer Zeynep Tufekci, who is a regular contributor to The New York Times and the Atlantic, anticipated a return to the dark pre-iPhone SE days when she struggled to keep hold of her phone.
"Welcome to the big screens" says Apple and women like me with small hands who need the most secure phone for safety reasons are stuck with something they can't hold and constantly risk dropping. Company that designs $5 billion headquarters without a childcare center for the win. pic.twitter.com/Owzy51RsrH— zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) September 13, 2018
Echoing a criticism that feminism has gone too far in trying to police social relations and the free market, many Twitter users commented that Tufekci should stop complaining and simply buy another brand of smartphone.
However, she protested that Apple alone offers a product that meets her security needs.
I've lost count of the encounters I've had with dissidents, investigative journalists and others around the world at great risk of being hacked and subjected to terrible consequences who *know* they should get an iPhone for security but cannot afford it. https://t.co/iXI383Rr6a— zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) September 13, 2018
In an interview with The Telegraph Thursday, Sophie Walker, the leader of the United Kingdom,’s Women’s Equality Party, similarly attributed Apple's big phones to its lack of female leadership.
"Apple's UK Head Quarters has a gender pay gap of 24 percent, and men's bonuses are 57 percent higher than women's. So do I think the boys at the top consider women when making design decisions? No I don't," she said.
"Until companies like Apple have women represented equally at senior levels -- as in all areas of business, politics and the public sector, women's needs are an afterthought," Walker continued.