The Rise of the Brogrammer: Can Silicon Valley Solve Its Sexism Problem?
As Mother Jones' Tasneem Raja reports, the last few months have witnessed a series of flareups over sexism in the tech startup world. From SXSW presentations to online comment threads, brogrammer culture is everywhere and it's pissing a lot of people off:
- Ok, so a brogrammer is an aggro coder determined to shed the geek image and act more like a frat dude. This cheeky Quora thread will give you plenty of tips on how to be one:
- Yuks aside, sexism in tech is as old as, well, tech. But people are starting to get fed up. Last March, the co-founders of Geeklist got into a Twitter spat with a female coder who objected to a marketing video featuring an underwear-clad woman dancing around in a Geeklist t-shirt.
- Geeklist eventually took down the video and apologized.
- We never meant to offend any person and are very sorry as we clearly have. Geeklist is all about inclusion of every geek. Male and Female alike. We hope you’ll forgive the company and founders and use this as an opportunity to hire more women, support women in tech and their great achievements and promote a healthy work environment for all.
- In February, Google project manager Dan Shapiro called for startup dudes to "cut the sexist crap" after the moderator of a panel he was on introduced a female speaker as a "sexy married lady."
- Rebecca’s one of the smartest ladies I know, and I thought that she was a perfect pick for the role of moderator. When we selected Rebecca and she said yes, she was a sexy single woman. And since that time, she’s become a sexy married woman, and so I wanted her lucky new spouse to stand up. So we’ve got not only a very talented, but a happy moderator.
- Also in March, the daily deals aggregator Sqoot advertised for a hackathon in Boston with a flyer that listed "friendly (female) event staff" as one of the many perks.
- After Sqoot started losing sponsors for the event, it issued an apology.
- Matt Van Horn's presentation at this year's SXSW conference was similar to one he gave last year at the Grow Conference called "Grow Some Balls." He apologized in advance for being sexist before showing photos from a "nudie calendar" he'd sent to executives at Digg in order to land a job.
- Perhaps this all-male team took a cue from Van Horn. Their app pitch at the MEGA Startup Weekend earlier this month included gratuitous photos of leaping bikini-clad women.
- At least one of the judges wasn't laughing.