The events of the last few days have not painted a very welcoming picture for women in tech. At Techcrunch’s Disrupt conference over the weekend, two giggling idiots demoed an app called Titstare. An embarrassing slab of searing dumbness, what was most troubling about the app was the audience’s approving reaction to it, and the fact that the name “Titstare” sent up no red flags for the organizers at Techcrunch. Then on Monday, it became apparent that the (now ex-) CTO of Business Insider, Pax Dickinson, was a racist, misogynist prick, after tweets like this came to light. Pax is hardly the first racist, misogynist prick on Twitter but one does wonder how such a cesspool of human atoms lasted as the CTO of a large venture funded media company for so long.
It doesn’t take a genius to know there’s sexism in the tech world. You can measure it by listening to the many stories told by women at technology companies or conferences, or you can measure it more empirically: Only 13 percent of venture-backed companies last year were founded by women.
The symbol of this misogynistic movement is the “tech bro.” With hair gelled as firm and unmovable as his concept of gender roles, the tech bro doesn’t mind working alongside women, as long as they don’t mind if he makes sexist jokes, ogles at their bodies, and erupts in hysterics if anyone dares to suggest this behavior might be even a little misogynistic.
But like all symbols, the tech bro is an imperfect explanation for gender politics in the tech world. Not all tech misogynists are bros, not all tech bros are misogynists, and not all bro misogynists are in tech. To simplify things, we used the greatest explanatory tool on Earth, the Venn Diagram:
[Graphic by David Holmes]