Microsoft Thinks Women Use Computers for Weddings and Babies

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 4 2014 6:43 PM

Microsoft Thinks Women Use Computers for Weddings and Babies

Women using a Microsoft OneNote. Proof that they use computers sometimes!

Photo from Microsoft.

Women build computers, program computers, and use computers every day, but with its new "Honestly" ad campaign Microsoft is trying to bring us back to what really matters to women: marriage and babies. The campaign shows off products like the OneNote and Windows and touts features like touchscreens and affordability. But the crucial thing here is wedding bands, bridesmaids dresses, and moms providing laptops for their kids. Don't lose sight of that.

The OneNote ad below depicts a bride-to-be meeting with her (sometimes difficult, but always well-meaning!) bridesmaids to prepare for her wedding. The woman says that the OneNote is convenient for things like comparing wedding bands and using Pinterest, the only woman-friendly website out there. In an older ad, a woman waits for her kids to finish a karate class and talks about how nice it was to find an affordable laptop running Windows that her kids could all share. She says that her kids use their Windows laptop for homework, chatting, and playing games. So kids of both genders seem to know how to do stuff on computers, just not adult women.


They're funny, sure, but ads that misrepresent the relationship between technology and women aren't harmless. They perpetuate the idea that women are less equipped to interact with technology and imply that specific devices must be marketed to women to be appealing. Microsoft may think it's a good idea to work with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce on their ads, but the partnership is producing some problematic results.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.