We’ve all been there. Sitting at the back of a maths class, either bored out of your brains, or struggling to understand the latest theory your teacher is desperately trying to teach. It doesn’t take a lot, really, to take out your calculator and see what rude words you can create simply using numbers and other functions that give the required letters.
It’s immature, yes. No arguments there. But sexist? Really?
Apparently so, if you’re Microsoft.
The technology giant was left red-faced this week after it was revealed that a small snippet of their coding read 0xB16B00B5 (‘Big Boobs’, for the mature adults out there).
Code developer Dr Matthew Garrett, who was clearly neither bored nor confused during his maths lesson, called it “male childish humour”, and claimed that “puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys club where girls aren’t welcome.
“So full marks, Microsoft”, he continued. “You’ve managed to make the kernel more offensive to half the population and you’ve made it awkward for us to rectify it.”
No, Dr Garrett, full marks to you for making an innocent joke chauvinistic.
It’s not as if there aren’t real instances of sexism to really get concerned about, either. Other news out this week has revealed that whilst Japanese and Australian male Olympic athletes flew business class for the upcoming Games, their female counterparts flew economy. Unarguably sexist.
The BBC has also been at the forefront of yet another sexism row, amid claims that nine out of ten experts interviewed on the 10’o’clock news are male. And it’s hardly the first time they’ve been accused of chauvinism, let’s face it.
Believe it or not, the 0xB16B00B5 news made me chuckle amid these other stories.
By taking an immature yet innocent joke, and making it the emblem of sexism in this day and age, it not only suggests that us girls are over-sensitive, but also draws attention to the wrong issue. As if this is where chauvinism begins and ends.
Start treating us equally in the workplace and on aeroplanes, and then complain about some computer coding.