How to boost sexism in hacker communities? Here's an example!

Yahoo hired lap-dancers to entertain the participants in the Hack Day Taiwan open event. No matter how inclusive to women is the hacker community, events like this kill any good intention. Why is this is bad?


First of all, speaking on behalf of women participants (the real hack-girls), being compared to sex workers - this is really not appropriate association to make. They give bad example and a bad idea on what a "Hack girl" should look like. A number of male participants have probably felt similarly, especially if some of them make efforts in their everyday life to be inclusive and treat their women colleagues equally.

Here is a part of Cory Doctorow's post on Boing-boing from yesterday:

What a blot on technology culture this is. As a father of a young daughter whom I hope will be excited about technology, hacking, and making stuff, Yahoo's vile behaviour makes me want to puke purple exclamation points. For shame.

Second of all, the most ridiculous into all this is Yahoo's apologize message :

All, I wanted to acknowledge the public reaction generated by the images of female dancers at our Taiwan Open Hack Day this past weekend. Our hack events are designed to give developers an opportunity to learn about our APIs and technologies. As many folks have rightly pointed out, the “Hack Girls” aspect of our Taiwan Hack Day is not reflective of that spirit or purpose. And it’s certainly not the message we want to send about our values here at Yahoo!. Hack Days are about making everyone feel welcome, including women coders and technologists. This incident is regrettable and we apologize to anyone that we have offended. Rest assured, it won’t happen again.

This hypocrite two-line message aims at closing the eyes and pretend nothing happened! Or, what happened is really unimportant. It is written in a passive tense, as if no one is responsible to that. They fail in their apology in a couple of ways :
1) they call the sex-workers "Hack Girls";
2) they call the event regrettable : as if this is someone else that did it. They could not have thought it would be regrettable before inviting the dancers?;
3) "It won't happen again" is a bit unbelievable. It is unbelievable, because it already happened again... this year and last year. So, hard to think it will be different next year. It is hard to believe they feel bad about it, if they repeat the mistake.

Yahoo has apologized for paying lap-dancers ("Hack Girls") to grind against attendees at its Hack Day Taiwan open event. For the second year running. Because, you know, it's the kind of thing that you can just accidentally do, hiring sex workers to come to your everyone's invited, inclusive Hack Day event. Two years in a row.

Photo by CocaChou