In Silicon Valley, “it’s getting harder and harder to separate the men from the bros,” said Ann Friedman in NYMag.com. “Bros” are the puerile, self-absorbed, privileged white guys who are turning the tech world into a giant frat house where women aren’t welcome. Take Business Insider’s chief technology officer, Pax Dickinson, who was ousted last week after someone finally noticed his sexist, racist Twitter account. “Can’t use ‘slutbag’ anymore?” he complained in one tweet. “Where the hell am I supposed to keep them then?” Days before, two juvenile “brogrammers” thought it would be really funny to unveil an app called “Titstare,” which enables men to share photos of themselves staring at women’s chests. It’s the “breast, most titillating fun you can have,” they chortled during their TechCrunch.com presentation, to the applause and laughter of fellow bros. One depressed audience member tweeted, “There goes my attempt to teach my 9yo girl how welcoming [the] tech industry is to women.”
“That’s it—I’m finished defending sexism in tech,” said Elissa Shevinsky in BusinessInsider.com. For years, I’ve found ways to overlook the penis jokes, porn references, and general misogyny among my male co-workers in Silicon Valley. But when they can’t even slip out of “brogrammer mode” on the stage of a public conference, we need not wonder “why more women don’t choose to be part of this world.” The juvenile excesses of some bros clearly need to be reined in, said Emma Woolley in TheGlobeAndMail.com. But tech culture is inherently disruptive, and its freewheeling ethos encourages young developers to push boundaries. Instead of focusing on a few morons with dumb ideas—“ahem, Titstare”—we should keep the spotlight on the great tech ideas and let the terrible ones “fall to the bottom.”
I wish it were that simple, said Mic Wright in Telegraph.co.uk. Obnoxious bros utterly dominate the startup culture, and they’re “getting access to vast amounts of cash” from venture capitalists desperate to seem hip and “edgy.” Meanwhile, women are quitting the field or avoiding it, said Jordan Weissmann in TheAtlantic.com. In 1990, a third of computer workers were female. Now, just 27 percent are. The “nerd-frat hybrid culture” is clearly driving women away. When women are shut out from tech, they’re shut out from the country’s main growth industry—and some of the highest salaries around. That hurts way more than dumb boob jokes.
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