Code Babes, The Worst Thing On The Internet This Week

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Blech. is one of those things that's so stupid and offensive on its face that you hope it's not real. Who knows, it's so over the top it could in fact be a clumsy parody of sexism in tech, rather than just a highly distilled example of it. Here's what it purports to be: a website that teaches you how to do basic coding via instructional videos led by half-naked, double-entendre spewing women. 

Here's an excerpt from the core principles: 

We go fast, each lesson is a quicky, we’re pretty sure you won’t mind re-watching them :), pause it when it gets too fast, or.... ya know, FAP.

(FAP is internet slang for masturbate. Super charming.) 

To put this in a larger context - sexism in tech is a pervasive, endemic problem. Most recently, Julie Ann Horvath, a software developer at Github, resigned in protest against what she called a culture of intimidation towards women at the company. Last September, Pax Dickinson, CTO of Business Insider, resigned after bad press from tweets like this one:

"Who has more dedication, ambition, and drive? Kobe only raped one girl, Lebron raped an entire city. +1 for Lebron." — Pax Dickinson (@paxdickinson) July 13, 2010"

In a culture that repeatedly finds ways to tell women that they're not wanted or welcome, something like Code Babes starts to feel much worse than just juvenile and skeevy. 

Anyway. There's nothing terribly insightful you can say about a repugnant thing being repugnant. Maybe Code Babes will be the tech world's version of Cliven Bundy -- an example of someone stating views in such a baldly abhorrent way that they set the outside limit on what kind of speech people will defend.

I don't know. If you want something more productive to do with your attention, maybe send it over to Girls Who Code, a computer immersion science program for young girls that tries to undo the damage that sites like Code Babes propagate. 

PS. Alex put an interview request out to the person who appears to have registered Code Babes. We'll let you know if we hear anything from him. 

PSS. Here's Amanda Levendowski with more context (and numbers!) on how bad the tech industry's problem with women is. Plus an argument for why we ought to pay attention to this problem, even if Code Babes turns out to be a tone-deaf hoax.