Code Babes: Programming site that 'leverages sexual desire' sparks outrage online

Coding site derided as an embodiment of tech's sexism problem

A new website that promises to teach people to code by ‘leveraging sexual desire’ has been branded “the worst thing on the internet this week” and the embodiment of “everything wrong with tech culture” – although no-one's sure if it’s a spoof.

Launched last week, CodeBabes features a string of short videosintroducing users to coding disciplines including HTML, CSS and PHP. Each is presented by a “babe” who, the site promises, will remove articles of clothing as the user progresses through various tests.

From the site: “Watch the lesson, absorb the info, pass the quiz, and your instructor removes one piece of clothing.” Additional instructions hidden away under the ‘Our Philosophy’ section charmingly encourages users to take a break and masturbate “when it gets too fast”.

We emailed the site's creators to confirm whether Code Babes was created with serious intent or as an elaborate spoof lampooning the sexist culture of Silicon Valley, but – like many other media outlets – we've yet to receive a reply.

Unfortunately, the amount of effort that went into creating CodeBabes (as well as the defensive pleas of “can’t you take a joke?” strewn around the site) suggest that this might actually be the real deal, with an associated Twitter account supporting this interpretation by carping that “the media has blown “Code Babes” out of perspective […] but we can't complain too much about all the attention ;)”

Silicon Valley’s persistent sexism covers a range of ills from executives who happily tweet thoughts like “Who has more dedication, ambition, and drive? Kobe only raped one girl, Lebron raped an entire city. +1 for Lebron” to the straightforward under-representation of women in the industry (a study by Tray Chou, a software engineer at Pinterest, found that on average women make up 12 per cent of tech company’s engineers).

"If we’ve offended anyone, that's really not our goal, we hope there are bigger problems in the world for people to worry about,” reads CodeBabe's 'philosophy'. To which we say sure, there are bigger problems in the world, but that doesn't magically make sexism okay, nor does it excuse the creation of a site where the women are only 'useful' as objects of sexual titillation for men.

As the blogger Amanda Levendowski put it: "In a way, it doesn’t matter whether Codebabes is fake or real. Not knowing whether a site like this is fake is a problem unto itself: We live in a world where it is conceivable that someone could have an idea for this website, build it, and publish it to the public."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Network Support Engineer is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Director - Tech Startup - Direct Your Own Career Path

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there