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Poor Execution of the Day: Codebabes Motivates Beginning Coders With Naked Women

BAD IDEAS FROM SMART PEOPLE

Look, Codebabes.com, you could have the best intentions in the world, and you would still be a perfect example of everything that is wrong with the perception of women in the coding industry.

To quote our buddy Rollin Bishop, whose tweets brought the site to our attention, “It is definitely A Thing Someone Thought Was a Good Idea.” Codebabes.com is a website where visitors can take any of twenty-two lessons in basic coding, prompted and motivated by the knowledge that with each quiz they pass, their codebabe instructor will remove another article of clothing. Even when naked, resident Codebabes never actually let a nip slip, though, because as their intro video says “we’re an education site.”

And in case you were holding on to the idea that perhaps the site is just a parody, a prank, just a front page with a video:

Or, as Codebabes’ intro video puts it:

We’ve developed a revolutionary learning program that leverages sexual desire and turns it into the most powerful learning mechanism known ever known to mankind!

What’s left unsaid, because it is communicated quite eloquently and firmly by everything else on the site, is that their program leverages sexual desire for women, exclusively. This mechanism supposedly functions as a way of aiding people who have tried to learn to code before but have found it too difficult to concentrate on the work, because we all know how much easier it is to concentrate things when one is sexually aroused.

Alright, lets go down the list of widely accepted and yet very poor messages Codebabes perpetuates:

  • With “cheeky” branding of each of its courses as “CSS Virgin,” “HTML Virgin,” etc., over smiling pictures of resident Codebabes, the site reminds us that even though sex with a lady is 100% desirable and awesome, ladies who have sex are less desirable than ones who have not. Or that nerds are pathetic virgins, pick your side to be outraged on the behalf of.
  • The internet is for checking out babes, at all times, in any context. Babes, in this case, includes any person you encounter on the internet who turns out to be a woman.
  • Access to a woman’s body can be considered a transactional negotiation wherein if you put in enough of your own effort, the woman is required to answer your sexual desires for her.
  • Coding is for straight men. (You could argue that Codebabes is implying that coding is for anyone who is attracted to women, but A) I would immediately stop listening to you, and B) Codebabes helpfully color codes the two parts of its name in its official logo, with “code” in masculine blue and “babes” in a lovely feminine hot pink.)
  • The role of women in the technology fields is to attract people to the job or its results with their bodies, never to actually work the job or create the results. Women who do not meet arbitrary standards of physical attractiveness need not apply.

We see the results of the assumptions that Codebabes is supporting weekly, if not daily, here at The Mary Sue. We see it in the gender gap in hiring for technology jobs. We see it in the sexual harassment and poor response to accusations of sexual harassment of women in the tech industry. We see it when a woman, no matter how popular and well known her contributions to the gaming community, can be dismissed as a “glorified booth babe.”

In a perfect world, where the tech industry didn’t have a massive gender gap and pervasive problems with the treatment of women in the workforce, Codebabes would be a cute distraction. As it is, the very fact that it is A Thing Someone Thought Was a Good Idea is disturbing.

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