Fertility Phones

We expect our mobile phones to do everything these days–make calls, take photos, and play music. But, a new phone from Japan’s NTT DoCoMo does even more than the most feature-laden phone. It comes with a unique new function–fertility aid.

Would-be mothers enter data about their menstruation dates into the phone which then rings to remind them the dates they are most likely to conceive. Based on the average monthly reproductive cycle, the phone alerts the woman three days before ovulation and on the most likely day of ovulation.

The pastel paisley phone was designed by Momoko Ikuta and features other functions, such as a recipe database, geared towards women. Plus, there is a feature that could be useful for the woman who wants an excuse to duck out of a meeting so she can take advantage of her peak fertility window–a button that allows the user to pretend to receive a call.

While I suspect the fertility alert is a useful tool for many women, I find the packaging of so called female-friendly features a little disconcerting. As a woman, I sometimes feel alienated by packaging that “girls up” an essentially gender neutral object.

One year my friend’s mom sent her a tool kit which contained a hammer and screwdrivers with pastel pink handles. They came in a pink plastic case labeled “Ladies Tools.” While my friend did find the gift useful, she was scandalized to receive such a gift from her typically feminist mother.

Women-what do you think about products designed to appeal to your gender? Do the marketers usually offer something that is designed for your true needs or do you find “girly” products designed for perceived female needs in a way that feels vaguely chauvinistic?