Just when you thought the world of music production was getting more diverse, audio tech company MIDIPLUS is here to ruin your day. The China-based tech company unveiled an audio interface just a few days ago called the “Mirror.” The Mirror’s design clearly mimics an eyeshadow palette, even including a lit mirror behind the interface. The whole thing was packaged as an interface “for females” – that is, until they had to backpedal due to the social media backlash.
It’s slowly becoming more mainstream for women to rise up in the ranks of highly-accomplished producers, DJs and performers. Though women often face challenges including discrimination, harassment, and not being taken seriously by managers, women in music have been making huge strides in gender equality.
But when companies put out products like the Mirror interface, it shows women interested in music that they still have roadblocks to face when it comes to being seen as equal to male producers. What about today’s DJ equipment makes it “male?” Is it assumed that a piece of equipment has to be dumbed down and colorful for women to like it? Why the hell would an audio tech company that’s a best-seller for midi interfaces on Amazon decide to put a mirror on a launchpad?
After several US news sites picked up on the release of the Mirror, MIDIPLUS edited the language on the product page and issued the following statement:
While it’s good MIDIPLUS addressed the controversy and acted accordingly, the mere existence of the product is mind-bogglingly sexist in its original intention. Removing descriptors from the product page and explaining the cultural significance of karaoke live streaming isn’t going to change the fact that the product was originally marketed as an interface “for females.”
If the Mirror product was really made solely for kids and young adults live streaming karaoke, MIDIPLUS could have designed a simpler, more playful interface without specifically marketing it as an interface “for females.” There are plenty of ways to go about designing a gender-neutral, easy-to-use launchpad – without making it blatantly sexist in its design and marketing by implying that a typical interface is “for males.”
Just like BIC thinks that pens for women have to be pink, and lip balm has to be matte black and called “Dude Stick” for it to be for men, audio equipment is just the latest product to fall victim to unnecessary gender-based marketing.
What do you think? Is the release of the Mirror a lost-in-translation mishap? Or is this an ignorant move from MIDIPLUS?