Stepford app
n. A software program with a conformist, stereotypical, or thoughtless design.
Why are applications like Siri designed to be women? Is that how artificial voices and to some extent intelligence stand out in majorly male dominated environments? Why are these voices cold? Being on a railway station will never be the same. Why are there stepford apps?
—dagannalena, “I liked…,” Instagram, December 24, 2015
No one seems to market tech products in the image of the most famous virtual assistant in film history. Hal from "2001: A Space Odyssey" was so brilliant and manly that it attempted to kill off the crew of the spacecraft it was built to manage. Instead, people build what I call "Stepford apps." These are the Internet’s answer to those old sci-fi robots in dresses mopping floors with manufactured enthusiasm.
—Joanne McNeil, “Why Do I Have to Call This App 'Julie'?,” The New York Times, December 19, 2015
One more Facebook friend INVITES me to play Candy Crush, they are getting unfollowed. It's obviously some sort of evil Stepford app.
—Laura The Explorer, “One more…,” Twitter, June 19, 2013
2010 (earliest)
If I wanted apps with an iPhone that didn't pass their…family rated, watered down, Stepford app suburbia rating, I'd have to jailbreak the…thing.
—MaxPower, “MaxPower & anyone else: I'm researching a new phone purchase. HTC/AT&T questions…” (reply),, September 24, 2010
The use of Stepford as an adjective is based on Ira Levin’s 1972 book The Stepford Wives. (It was later made into a movie of the same title with a screenplay by William Goldman. A remake starring Nicole Kidman is scheduled for release next year.). The women of Stepford (a New York suburb) are creepily content with their lives as wives, mothers, and housekeepers. And no wonder: it turns out they’re all automatons, programmed by their husbands to embrace “traditional” wifely duties and conform to their husbands’ norms. Ever since, Stepford has been used to describe someone who goes through life robotically or compliantly.