Recently, I was reading a Buzzfeed article about engraving iPads. I’m not an iPhone/iPad/iPod person, myself, and realistically I was just using the article as a procrastination technique. But, as I read further, I started to wonder… why is this a thing?
Of course, I can’t exactly wrap my head around why you’d want to engrave your devices with dirty words in the first place. Sure, I might have thought about it when I was younger, but these days I’d rather get a customized case – that I can change out at will – than to permanently mark any of my devices in a way that couldn’t be reversed. A quick look through the comments section gave me the answer I needed.
One commenter chimed in:
So that whilst they are still new and expensive if someone steals it and it has your name engraved in the back they can’t argue that they didn’t steal it from you.
Okay, so that covers “normal” engraving, but I know there’s a big chunk of the population that likes really customized stuff. And, the fact that most of us wouldn’t want to engrave a dirty word on the back of our devices, it’s pretty easy to see that this level of customization would make it impossible not to identify your iPad amongst a heap of all your friends’ iPads. (I’m just assuming all iPad owners team up and stack their iPads with their friends’ iPads – feel free to let me know if this isn’t actually the norm).
Blogger and self-described sex-positive-feminist tried to engrave the word “vagina” on hers – probably because she’s a “sex-positive-feminist”. I can see how it might be empowering to have this type of self-love on your iPad on a daily basis (one of the engravings Buzzfeed tried was “If you have a vagina, you’re awesome” – not accepted, sadly). But for me, it’s more about the curiosity – what would Apple let us get away with?
Sexism – Accepted
To be fair, I typed in “Sexism is rampant at Apple” for my first test. It took. At least Apple is willing to acknowledge their sexism – or maybe “sexism” is just not one of their flagged words. I’m inclined to think it’s the latter.
Bearded Clam – Accepted
My “bearded clam” experiment was largely based on my love of Family Guy, and while I’ve always understood what the term meant, I never really heard it outside of the occasional dirty joke on television. For those who were wondering, “bearded clam” was definitely accepted.
Beef Curtains – Accepted
I’m not a big fan of the term “beef curtains”, since it quite specifically references the labia – a part of the female anatomy that so many of us are insecure about. But rest assured – Apple accepts the term “beef curtains”, and anyone who doesn’t accept your beef curtains doesn’t deserve to see them.
Cum Dumpster – Accepted
Here’s another one of those that I’m not too keen on, due to the implications it holds. But I know there are a badge of women who pride themselves on reclaiming what could be a “filthy” label, and – guess what – Apple will let you add it to your iPad.
Twats – Accepted
I’m still pretty new to this word, too, if I’m being completely honest. I think my first experience with it was during the film “Easy A” (does anyone else have a giant crush on Emma Stone, or is that just me?), and since then I’ve been looking to find a way to incorporate it more into my daily life. Well, it’s nice to know that I can have it added to my iPad, should I ever buy one.
Cock Holster – Accepted
Okay, this one is a bit disheartening. I intentionally avoided using the word “Dick”, which they used in the Buzzfeed article, due to its multi-purposedness. But I find it incredibly hard to believe that people would use “cock” on their Apple devices with any mature reason. And, of course, I reject the notion of “cock holster” as a synonym for “vagina”, but it is one of the versions you can use, if you so choose.
Poonanny – Accepted
Maybe it’s because it’s not a “real” word, and in fact I’ve only ever known a small handful of people who use the word, but there’s no mistaking what it means, and Apple will let you engrave it on your iPad – no questions asked.
Vagina – Nope!
Okay, so I knew this one already, from reading the Buzzfeed article, but still… I had to try, to see if maybe there was something missing. But you definitely cannot engrave the word vagina onto your iPad – at least not directly through Apple.
Vag – Nope, not that either!
Just for the sake of argument, I removed the “-ina” off the end and tried submitting again – but that, too, was flagged. I love that they clearly highlight that the “bury my face” part was definitely not inappropriate.
Cunt – Guess again!
Here in the US, where I was born and bred, the word “cunt” is considered a much dirtier word than it is in other parts of the world. I really wasn’t expecting Apple to honor my request to add it… But I found something even more shocking! Not only did they not accept the word cunt, but apparently my little heart was also rejected. Bummer.
Pussy – Not happening
In the spirit of sex-positive-feminism (can I start calling myself that too?), I just had to try engraving “Pussy Power”. And, not that I’m surprised, but it wasn’t accepted. It’s such a shame, too, because as a cat lover and a vagina lover, I do think it’s my favorite euphemism of them all.
The Moral of the Story
The original Buzzfeed article asserted that Apple’s refusal to accept the word “vagina” was purely sexist in motivation, I’m fairly confident that’s not exactly what it is. I think all that’s in play here is a faulty algorithm that assumes the machines that are going to do the engraving have a delicate sensibility. For all we know, the machines could be sensitive about dirty words – but apparently not all dirty words.
Interested in doing your own check? Go to the Apple website and choose the product you want, then check the option to add free engraving. Don’t worry, you won’t have to buy a hundred iPads to run this little test – you don’t pay for anything until after all your customizations and everything have been confirmed.
If you check dirty words and find something absolutely filthy, that makes it through the algorithms, drop it in the comments! I want to know! (For purely scientific purposes, of course.)