Code Babes, The Worst Thing On The Internet This Week

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 02:24 PM

(Code Babes)

Blech. is one of those things that's so stupid and offensive on its face that you hope it's not real. Who knows, it's so over the top it could in fact be a clumsy parody of sexism in tech, rather than just a highly distilled example of it. Here's what it purports to be: a website that teaches you how to do basic coding via instructional videos led by half-naked, double-entendre spewing women. 

Here's an excerpt from the core principles: 

We go fast, each lesson is a quicky, we’re pretty sure you won’t mind re-watching them :), pause it when it gets too fast, or.... ya know, FAP.

(FAP is internet slang for masturbate. Super charming.) 

To put this in a larger context - sexism in tech is a pervasive, endemic problem. Most recently, Julie Ann Horvath, a software developer at Github, resigned in protest against what she called a culture of intimidation towards women at the company. Last September, Pax Dickinson, CTO of Business Insider, resigned after bad press from tweets like this one:

"Who has more dedication, ambition, and drive? Kobe only raped one girl, Lebron raped an entire city. +1 for Lebron." — Pax Dickinson (@paxdickinson) July 13, 2010"

In a culture that repeatedly finds ways to tell women that they're not wanted or welcome, something like Code Babes starts to feel much worse than just juvenile and skeevy. 

Anyway. There's nothing terribly insightful you can say about a repugnant thing being repugnant. Maybe Code Babes will be the tech world's version of Cliven Bundy -- an example of someone stating views in such a baldly abhorrent way that they set the outside limit on what kind of speech people will defend.

I don't know. If you want something more productive to do with your attention, maybe send it over to Girls Who Code, a computer immersion science program for young girls that tries to undo the damage that sites like Code Babes propagate. 

PS. Alex put an interview request out to the person who appears to have registered Code Babes. We'll let you know if we hear anything from him. 

PSS. Here's Amanda Levendowski with more context (and numbers!) on how bad the tech industry's problem with women is. Plus an argument for why we ought to pay attention to this problem, even if Code Babes turns out to be a tone-deaf hoax. 


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Comments [15]



Jul. 27 2014 06:21 AM

Can you think of a better way to learn coding quickly. I, a straight female, have now somehow gone through a great deal of it recently with perfect scores. It's hard to argue with using the ready man teacher that is biology.

Jun. 02 2014 12:38 AM
ridovem from Vashon, WA

omg... I remember when "FAP!" was an expletive in a cartoon bubble above the head of Major Hoople. (I guess I had better prepare myself for imminent death and incineration, at this point. There's just no telling... nor keeping up.)

May. 04 2014 04:38 PM

From the splash page on

" was a Rage Marketing Case Study, times 100. We're happy to provide link bait for as many people as possible"

Apr. 29 2014 03:18 PM

What a weird enterprise.

Can we say that CodeBabes was not created by women? It's a safe assumption. But, sex sells and female businesswomen know that too. So, CodeBabes is basically an alternative to Khan Academy and drier MOOCs.

If the instructionals are any good, CodeBabes should appeal to women *if* they can ignore or avoid the sexualization of the babes. I assume women are capable enough to avoid those triggers when they find the content valuable. Alternatively, CodeBabes may appeal to women who are lesbians or bisexuals.

If their next project is CodeDudes, then it's fair all around. That seems unlikely but not impossible.

Apr. 28 2014 09:11 AM
PJ from NY

Get your panties out of a bunch and realize that guys like good looking women, its biology simple as that. And if watching these pages help some people learn how to code better, who are you to fault that?

Apr. 26 2014 10:20 AM
babelsoftco from egypt-sharqya

welcome every body

you can enter my website now

Accounting program

Apr. 26 2014 03:53 AM
CHOPPERGIRL from Augusta, GA

I don't find anything particularly offensive about the CodeBabes site. And I code all the time. Maybe its because I code FPS shooters and I've got a pretty thick skin by now in a purile male retard dominated world. Its just part of the back ground scenery I ignore, that has nothing to do with what I'm actually doing.

If you don't like Code Babes, move along. I did, after checking it out, because its just stupid, its only about was PHP, and PHP IMHO is pure fucking garbage for a language. I won't touch PHP with a ten foot pole. Its about as low on my stink list for computer languges as Cobol, MySQL, Pascal, Bash, and C. Languages that are so brain dead stupid and internally ugly, they need to eat hot death and die.

Apr. 26 2014 02:12 AM

Try be a little bit less obvious about cupping your feminist overlord's balls, PJ.

Apr. 25 2014 08:59 PM

The truth is most of the sexism in the tech industry comes from H1Bs from patriarchal Asian societies but no one wants to "go there".

Apr. 25 2014 07:40 PM
David from TX

Worse thing on the Internet? I'll take nudity over acts of violence any day.

Apr. 25 2014 07:33 PM
monux1 from gt

actually is entretaining, i have never taken on doing css, and html5 and what have you, i do *nix, so really for me a pc is just a bigger terminal hahahha.
actually the site kicks ass... and makes young lads want to learn to...

Apr. 25 2014 06:01 PM
Kristin from San Diego

So... is this objectification oriented programming?

Apr. 25 2014 05:59 PM

It's convenient to think of these problems as if society is an actual independent entity, but it isn't, it's just a aggregation of individuals. This website could have been one of innumerable sites languishing on the web, but stories like this promote it because it fits the narrative we want to sell. But it isn't the norm until we make it the norm. It's something a few people did, and then many more people decried as typical of the industry. We could have called aberrant, but then there's wouldn't be a story.

Apr. 25 2014 04:25 PM
William Wolfe-Wylie from Toronto

Hey PJ - I spoke with the guy listed in the business directories and he's as mystified about Codebabes as anyone. He asked me if it was a pornography or a programming site. He had no idea.

Apr. 25 2014 04:22 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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