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Today, a young app-maker and budding programmer, Alexandra Jordan, presented her idea at Techcrunch's Disrupt Hackathon. Her app serves to solve a problem her age-group often have: arranging playdates. Super Fun kidtime is down at the moment likely overwhelmed by traffic. In the audience were other younger ladies, from black girls code, probably adding finishing touches to apps of their own. And then....
— mothra (@marthakelly) September 9, 2013
That tweet really says it all. Now, some may defend Hackathon with "it's an adult event". First, an adult event doesn't mean adult XXX rated, and both "Titstare" and "Circle shake" are sexualized "jokes" that could warrant a harassment complaint if presented in a work setting. Seriously. Second, since when were hackmeets expected to be adult? There has always been a brilliant eleven-year old high as a kite on jolt-cola bouncing around somewhere at any given hack gathering for as long as I can remember.
Aron Solomon wrote "Titstare - seriously ", Valleywag weighed in : Techcrunch disrupt kicks off with Titstare app, Businessinsider : Titstare and masturbation apps at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013, so it is getting enough attention. Oh, and Mom saw it too, and she's not pleased with the menfolk in the audience who laughed at Titstare.
Titstare guys got a very loud applause from audience. Thank god sexism isn't alive and well in the tech sector. SO PROUD TO HAVE MY KID HERE
— Kim (@kkjordan) September 8, 2013
This is the Titstare presentation, where two "brogrammers" crack a series of puntastic titjokes to present an app they made where you can upload images of you staring at a girls tits and rate other people who have done the same. Think selfie-instagram meets hot-or-not.
This is the "masturbation app" presentation (if you listen, that's just what they built to show something else off, but nobody will recall what now).
This will be written up and down for days because people are rightly upset that a 9-year old girl was presenting her app next to two entrepreneurs who were "making a joke" called Titstare the app. Techcrunch has since written an apology to all of their readers and developers attending hackathon stating that the event was "marred by two misogynistic presentations". I'm not sure I would use the word misogynistic to describe a masturbation joke, because that's not so much woman-hating as self-loving. But I digress...
Sexism is a major problem in the tech industry, and we’ve worked hard to counteract it in our coverage and in our own hiring.
Today’s issues resulted from a failure to properly screen our hackathons for inappropriate content ahead of time and establish clear guidelines for these submissions.
The last line I've quoted, there, in bold, that's what Techcrunch should have been doing from the very beginning. This is an admission that they've never screened in advance, and don't have clear guidelines yet.
So, remind me again why we're flocking to Techcrunch's hackathons? It's not a seal of approval if the rules are so non-existent that anyone doing anything at all can get in. Join me next week when I present my hack that turns iPhones into paperweights. I leave them in my jeans when I wash'em.
— Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa) September 8, 2013