The rise of brogramming is the latest in a long line of reasons why more women aren't going into high-tech. One problem: brogrammers don't really exist.
This morning, I started to write a blog post about brogamming. Specifically, it was going to be a lighthearted romp through some of the bro-iest programming jobs on the market. You know, the sort of positions that speak of keggers and crushing code and Vegas retreats and rockstars.
This is not that post.
It is not that post because, to put it simply, there was a dearth of resources. What I figured would be a half hour of keyword-based search on StackOverflow Careers turned out to require quite a bit more digging, most of it unfruitful. Sure, there were a few eye-rollers. Hipster’s perks package includes mustache trimming, a fixie, and $10,000 worth of PBR. Launchrock is seeking a code-slinging, bad-ass Front-End Developer/ Professional Partier (side note: how often do you see those titles side-by-side?). Dropbox has whiskey Friday’s. Twitch.tv employees get to play in Super Streetfighter 4 tournaments.
These descriptions are zany, sometimes silly, and yes, rife with language and objects that we (or at least I) tend to associate with the world of men: cursing, spirits, mustaches, video games.
But the association is, to cop an epithet from one job description, “bullshit.” I know this from firsthand experience. Half of my coworkers are women. Many of them like video games. One has been known to toss out the odd body part on our company blog. Everyone likes whiskey. No one has a mustache, but then again, none of our male developers do either.
That I a) set out sure I would find things that b) I couldn’t find, says something about me, and maybe, something about many women working in tech, which is: we let a few bad apples tell us the whole barrel’s against us. My apples were the booth babes at the SharePoint show. Tasneem Raja’s apple was Matt Von Horn’s “bikini shots and gangbang interviews” talk at SXSW. Shanley Kane’s was Geeklist’s dancing-girl-in-a-tee-shirt video—and the vitriolic twitter exchange she had with Geeklist’s co-founders, Reuben Katz and Christian Sanz
Are there bad apples in the tech industry? Yep. There are bad apples in every industry. Taking one idiot’s misogynistic pureview to be the voice of a profession does us no favors. A few events caused reporter after reporter to rue the rise of a culture that, from what I can see, doesn’t really exist. Pull quotes like “With the phrase 'brogramming' on the rise (less male-geeks and more cool male testosterone-fuelled coders) women may be finding themselves even more alienated then they previously did” are a problem not only because they’re not true, but because they can become self-fulfilling.
It's our job, we women who work in or are thinking of working in high-tech, to do our research, to not let ourselves be convinced that tone skein of oppression does a sweater make. It's also our job, should we encounter it, to take that skein and stomp all over it. Boots make a bigger impression that yarn.
But honestly, our chances of encountering it: not that high. You know what did crop up often in the job descriptions? Nerf guns. Nerf guns, free food, transportation reimbursements, dogs, Cadillac healthcare plans, and generous vacation policies.
So ladies, if you want to work at an offbeat, nurturing, friendly, and accommodating environment, consider working at a tech startup.