No week is really a great week to be a woman in tech, but this week has been especially terrible–and ladies, it’s only Tuesday.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh set out to program a computer that could find connections between unlikely word pairs and generate witty one-liners. Instead, they ended up with an “un-PC PC” that spews sexist jokes like an amateur manchild comedian trying to emulate something he once saw on Comedy Central. Read More
News of the first annual Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day swept across the web this morning following an article penned by one of the event’s founders, gaming and social media reporter Leigh Alexander. “From booth babes to harassment, snide comments to double standards, women have often had a hard time feeling comfortable around the tech industry,” she wrote. In order to demonstrate “the absurdity of objectifying people you claim to agree with or support intellectually,” she’s encouraging female tech writers to give gendered compliments or make sexist proclamations to men about their work.
Though the actual Objectify a Male Tech Writer Day isn’t until February 1st, Betabeat–comprised primarily of female writers–could hardly contain ourselves. Here are 25 gendered comments for 25 of our favorite male tech writers. Read More
There’s an entire meme, Good Guy Greg, devoted to defining and modeling what makes someone a decent dude. It’s consistently charming. He now has a counterpart, Good Girl Gina. Unfortunately, instead of being a living example of graciousness and thoughtfulness, she mostly cooks for her boyfriend and prioritizes your sexual pleasure above her own.
Ain’t the Internet grand? Read More
The official Twitter account for the country of Sweden has tweeted relatively uneventfully following its Henry Blodget moment back in June, when a Swedish citizen named Sonja dispatched some questionable tweets about Jewish people. But this week’s Swedish tweeter is Naseer Alkhouri, a “homeopathic Swede” who develops games for a living. In addition to tweeting adorable fruit sculptures and a treatise on citizenship, the issue of sexism in gaming appears close to Mr. Alkhouri’s heart. For the past couple of hours, he’s used the platform–which boasts close to 68,000 followers–to broach the sensitive topic. Read More
As a pretty avid Xbox aficianado and also a person with two X chromosomes, this Betabeat reporter was unsurprised to read in the New York Times today about the seriousness of sexism in gaming culture. We gave up using a mic on Xbox Live long ago, the slew of vicious insults hurled at us just for having a girly voice not worth it when we could happily kick friends’ asses on local co-op mode, no slurs necessary.
But the Times‘s piece hammers home just how rampant the degradation is, and it’s pretty jarring. In one video clip embedded in the article, a female gamer’s coach threatens to “smell her” as punishment for losing a round in Cross Assault. It’s not the creepiest thing we’ve ever seen, but it comes damn close.
Oh Go Daddy, what are we going to do with you? The domain registration company is embarking on a campaign to rehabilitate its frat-tastic public image, and today, the New York Times provides a preview of the commercial that’s meant as an opening salvo. And how, pray tell, are they hoping to convince us?
The spot includes a barely dressed woman, but she is treated in a tongue-in-cheek manner. “Behold Charlene,” intones an announcer. “Charlene is how GoDaddy attracts domain name customers.”
The nymph is joined by an awkward-looking GoDaddy technical employee. “But there is also Carl,” the announcer declares. “Carl is how GoDaddy keeps customers.”
In the unlikely event that that message was too subtle for you, the commercial concludes by saying outright that Go Daddy is, “Charlene on the outside, Carl on the inside.”
Because we are nothing if not generous here at Betabeat, let us offer Go Daddy a spot of free advice: Maybe don’t attempt to solve your lady problems with a commercial that is, basically, the very definition of the double standard? Here’s what that voiceover says to us: “Ladies are for breast-gawking, dudes are for computer-fixing.”
Just a thought.
When VC firm Kleiner Perkins filed its response to partner Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination suit (nearly a month ago now), included in the flurry of legal documents were requests to require Ms. Pao to submit to binding arbitration.
Now the Mercury News reports that the presiding judge has spoken–tentatively, at least–and she’ll be required to do no such thing. Kleiner argued that partners signed arbitration agreements with each of the firm’s new funds; Ms. Pao’s lawyer rejoined that only an umbrella agreement would do, and his logic apparently carried the day.
Of course, we should also note that lawyers for both sides are still due at a hearing today, where Kleiner has a chance to try talking the judge into reversing his ruling. Maybe somebody’s got an ace up his sleeve? Read More
There we were, idly checking our Twitter feed over brunch, when out lept the lede for the Times‘ piece on Kleiner Perkins, Ellen Pao, and Silicon Valley sexism. The opening line: “MEN invented the Internet.” [New York Times]
Ladybeat considered a takedown, but there’s no way we could top what Xeni Jardin has already written. [Boing Boing]
At least they didn’t drag “brogramming” into this. [news.com.au]
Elsewhere on the Internet, Facebook is working on ways for kids younger than 13 to use the social networking site with parental supervision. That’s going to end well. [Wall Street Journal]
Basically admitting the U.S. government was behind Stuxnet is going to have foreign policy fallout. [Ars Technica]
Here’s how Groupon wound up turning down that enormous acquisition offer from Google. It all seems so long ago and far away. [Wall Street Journal]