Coding and Technologies…the “brogrammers” attempt for a heterosexual males only club

Posted: August 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Raja Tasneem looks at the development of the “brogrammer”. Brogrammer: “recasting geek identity with a frat house swagger”. One problem with the concept of a “bro”-grammer is that the term in itself is gender oriented and exclusive towards a males only club. Yet, in this club of brogrammers there is a brotherhood bond around “male technologies” and the sexual exploitation of women.

“If a girl walks past in a see-through teddy, and you don’t even look up because you’re neck-deep in code, expect to spend a lot of time celibate no matter how bro you go.”

Tasneem mentions the event that took place with Matt Van Horner, an executive for the company Path. In describing his methods of how he was able to become successful in the company he admits it was by sending bikini photos from a calendar he made of fellow female students to the companies cofounders. Coupled with his sexist jokes and frat house comments, men and women began to leave his seminar. The outrage that this event sparked led to discussions over “advertising women as ‘perks’”.

Adda Birnir comments that, “Brogrammers might lack tact, but they’re definitely marketing development in a way that appeals to a new subset of men”. By taking the term “geek” and replacing it with the “bro”, it gives coding that frat house flare that will encourage men who were “headed to Wall Street to consider Silicon Valley”.

Where is there room for women in this brogrammer ideology? It is not only women who are noticing the stupidity of the exploitation and the business idiocy of eliminating the chances for women to seek employments within these companies, but men are flagging these companies as sexist as well! Tasneem quotes Christy Nicol, a veteran Seattle developer, “none of the company leaders involved appeared to realize initially that they’d done something wrong. They had simply crafted messages aimed at young men, apparently assuming: Who else would be drawn to programming jobs?” But how are women suppose to be able to apply for these jobs, let alone feel comfortable applying for these jobs, when part of the job entails the sexual exploitation of women?

Birnir cofounded Skillcrush “an online recourse for women looking to learn code and feel comfortable doing it”. She states, “This stuff is scary enough if you didn’t grow up doing it, and you constantly feel so far behind and worried that you’ll sound dumb if you ask some really basic question…And then you go to a conference panel and some guy is up there making misogynistic jokes? It just feels like at every point you’re getting the message that you’re not welcome.” Seeing men flag some of the sites and brogrammers’ comments as sexist is a step in the right direction in my opinion; with men stepping forward to show that they all do not share this gendered binary ideology. I am not exactly sure how we can end these objectifications of women in the brogramming industry, especially since women are posing for these photos and allowing themselves to be used for these campaigns. I think the main issue is how to make women feel comfortable enough to step forward into this “boys only club” and show that women are just as capable of coding and understanding technologies too. Skillcrush is a great opportunity for that, but the movement should not just end there, it needs to be extended into these group meetings, such as the one with Van Horner. Instead of reaching out to Wall Street frat boys, there should be more campaigns to attract women into the coding industry. Not only women but this frat house brogramming is completely exclusive to the heterosexual male. How is a gay male suppose to feel comfortable in the environment when the “perk” of the job is, “need another beer? Let one of our friendly (female) event staff get that for you”. Just by pointing to the sex of the staff is showing that this is a heterosexual, mens only club.

Check out this youtube video to see the a comedic take on the concept of brogramming…not far off AT ALL :


Bonny M.


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