With the rapid demise of the #HackAHairDryer campaign, IBM’s ill-fated attempt to… wait, actually we have no idea. Were they convincing women that IT is relevant to their interests? As twitter commentators quickly pointed out, it’s really not that the ladies aren’t interested in STEM, it’s more that STEM doesn’t seem super interested in us.
Well, except for in the sense that it would be awesome if all the ladies would stop talking about how the STEM fields lack diversity and are plagued with systematic discrimination.
Maybe the theory went: if we teach ’em how to destroy a hair dryer they’ll be too busy worrying about what hat to wear to bitch about the rampant misogyny in our field this week?
Within hours of the ensuing twitter storm, IBM was apologizing for their totally unforced error. Although, we’re still at a bit of a loss to understand what exactly happened here. It’s not like the CS Education Initiative snuck up on them and they had to throw something together. It’s been an annual event since 2009.
How was this beauty-gadget themed campaign not objectively reviewed during its roll out? Does IBM not have enough women in the company to ask a couple of them to take a quick look-see? And really, I’m not sure it takes one of us lady-types to suggest that perhaps this imagery might not be the right tone for an industry mired in the tar baby of gender politics.
Or is the culture at IBM not actually conducive to feedback from their hoi polloi? Color us shocked – we hear that comes in a klassy mauve color at the moment.
Listen, you guys, it’s just IBM trying to get back to their roots. While Admiral Hopper was over at Univac doing this:
IBM was busy with this:
IBM, congratulations on your steadfast commitment to ensuring that the computer science field remains in the dark ages as regards gender parity. We are sure you will be the very best at that for years to come.