Brogramming. It’s one of those Internet memes, like Dudegineering or Fratcoding, an over-the-top mashup of machismo and geek chic. The very tongue-in-cheek Brogramming page on Facebook has garnered over 22,000 “likes”. At last fall’s Twilio Developer Conference, Twilio’s self-proclaimed “punk rocker”, Rob Spectre, did an entire 15-minute standup routine presentation as “Chad, world-bashing brogrammer and bro extraordinaire”.
Last week the Brogramming meme hit the main stream media in a Businessweek article by Douglas MacMillan called “Rise of the Brogrammer“:
At some startups the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that it’s given rise to a new “title”: brogrammer. A portmanteau of the frathouse moniker “bro” and “programmer”
MacMillan also notes in the same article:
There’s also an audience that feels left out of the joke. Women made up 21 percent of all programmers in 2010, down from 24 percent in 2000. Anything that encourages the perception of tech as being male-dominated is likely to contribute to this decline, says Sara Chipps, founder of Girl Develop It, a series of software development workshops. “This brogramming thing would definitely turn off a lot of women from working” at startups, says Chipps.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting: Two days ago Gregory Gomer at BostInno.com wrote about a hackathon called the Boston API Jam, sponsored by some big names in the tech community that promised women serving beer as a “Great Perk”:
Later THE SAME DAY, a surprisingly similar public tweet flamewar erupted between Shanley Kane and Geekli.st founders Christian Sanz and Reuben Katz. Kane tweeted that she was offended by a video (which has since been removed). Kane tweeted:
@csanz @rekatz why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep?
Again, Storify to the rescue (ironically Reuben Katz used to be their CTO), as collected by Charles Arthur in a post he called “Oh Hai Sexism“. If you read through the post, you’ll see my name in there because I happen to follow Shanley, Christian and Reuben on Twitter and I was fairly shocked as I watched the two Geekli.st founders deflect and attack as deftly as Rush Limbaugh, implying that Shanley was somehow only offended because she didn’t get a hired by Geekli.st. When they brought her employer into the mix I just felt sad for them. They just kept digging a deeper and deeper hole, and went as far as to create a fake twitter handle to propose the question of “double standards” (that was extra specially tight work, guys).
The Geekli.st guys have since published an apology. And I see they’ve started frantically giving High-Fives to all of their female members. I guess that’s one way to combat sexism in tech.