CodeBabes: the latest thing to make women in tech cringe


(Codebabes.com)

Women in tech have yet another Web site to roll their eyes at: "CodeBabes" -- one that's dedicated to using women's bodies to teach basic coding skills.

The site, which appears to have launched earlier this month, features videos of how to do some basic coding. The first course -- termed the "virgin" class -- features women who are mostly clothed, but the site says they will become more scantily clad as lessons become more difficult. "Watch the lesson, absorb the info, pass the quiz, and your instructor removes one piece of clothing." Just enough to "motivate" users, it promises.

CodeBabes has not responded to a Washington Post inquiry asking whether it's a joke or a high production value parody that is uneasily close to real life (similar ventures that have leveraged women's bodies to attract interest in the tech world, like "Hot Tech Today," have turned out to be serious).

There seem to be an awful lot of resources at use here. The accompanying YouTube page features courses that appear to teach basic coding skills, albeit with a heavy dose of adolescent innuendo.

Chances are attention like this is exactly what the site is aiming for, whether it's serious or trolling.

"If we’ve offended anyone, well, let’s just say there are bigger problems in the world to worry about," the philosophy page of the site reads, in an apparent challenge to sticks in the mud like me who might point out that this kind of stuff is one reason why the tech scene can feel unwelcoming to women.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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