Since people are generally excited about “teach people to code” campaigns, it’s pretty funny to see people riled up about CodeBabes, the website that uses busty women wearing cat T-shirts to lure newbie programmers to learn coding basics.
It all really sounds like a joke because CodeBabes believes that it has successfully developed a revolutionary program that will motivate students to learn how to code. After “teaching” viewers basic HTML and CSS and quizzing them on what they’ve learned, CodeBabes’ idea of a proper reward is a slow strip from their female instructor.
This is only one of the many aspects of CodeBabes that makes the site overtly sexist, but for several reasons, I just don’t care. I’m not offended, mainly because CodeBabes is just not worth the Internet rage it has been getting. The “babes” spend most of their time removing superfluous accessories and articles of clothing, like their glasses and suspenders. And even if you pass each one of their quizzes, you won’t see anything more from the instructor than what you can see at Victoria’s Secret or the beach.
The biggest controversy is really just over the incentive system the website prides itself on and the ridiculous statements CodeBabes has made, such as “girls are hot, but coding is hotter.” And while I in no way support how the organization glorifies treating the female body as a reward, people who have flamed the organization seem to be expecting CodeBabes to be something more than what it is.
The standards people have held the website to are unnecessary because no one is really trying to learn how to code through watching CodeBabes’ videos. Comparing CodeBabes to Code.org or Khan Academy — legitimate organizations supported by big names like the Gates Foundation and private investors — is like comparing cats and dogs. They’re entirely different and one is obviously far superior to the other.
Ironically, CodeBabes is getting precisely the attention and publicity it wanted; it’s made headlines and it’s getting the web traffic CodeBabes probably aimed for. It just seems laughable that people think this website alone will make the Silicon Valley more sexist or more male dominant because I really don’t see how it could. Those are a different set of problems caused by the lack of women in the field and a lack of respect for the women who are present.
If you hate everything that CodeBabes stands for, just leave it alone, because it’s already doomed to fail. CodeBabes has a pathetic YouTube following and an unimpressive number of views on its videos. People serious about programming won’t learn everything they need from a series of three-minute videos and four-question quizzes, and people who are serious about getting their internet thrill will be unimpressed and bored after a few videos.
CodeBabes is far from becoming a viral phenomenon, but the easiest way to let a ridiculous Internet post die is to let it run its course. After all, the internet community, fortunately, let go of the LOLcats trend in favor of the far superior, much funny Doge memes.