On the bro- watch

I am saddened to pass on this development in the world of bromanteaus (via Tim Pierce on Google+), in “Brogrammers Bring Frat-House Ethos to Geek World of Coding” by Douglas MacMillan on Bloomberg at the beginning of March: brogrammer (and the bronus brotein).

The beginning of the piece:

Danilo Stern-Sapad writes code for a living, but don’t call him a geek.

He wears sunglasses and blasts 2Pac while programming. He enjoys playing Battle Shots — like the board game Battleship with liquor — at the office. He and his fellow coders at Los Angeles startup BetterWorks Inc. are lavished with attention by technology-industry recruiters desperate for engineering talent.

“We got invited to a party in Malibu where there were naked women in the hot tub,” said Stern-Sapad, 25. “We’re the cool programmers.”

Tech’s latest boom has generated a new, more testosterone- fueled breed of coder, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its March 5 edition. Sure, the job still requires enormous brainpower, yet today’s engineers are drawn from diverse backgrounds, and many eschew the laboratory intellectualism that prevailed when semiconductors ruled Silicon Valley.

“I don’t need to wear a pocket protector to be a programmer,” says John Manoogian III, a software engineer and entrepreneur.

At some startups the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that it’s given rise to a new title: brogrammer. A portmanteau of the frat-house moniker “bro” and “programmer,” the term has become the subject of a Facebook Inc. group joined by more than 21,000 people; the name of a series of hacker get-togethers in Austin, Texas; the punch line for online ads; and the topic of a humorous discussion on question-and-answer site Quora titled “How does a programmer become a brogrammer?” (One pointer: Drink Red Bull, beer and “brotein” shakes.)

So you have guys, on the one hand, asserting their masculinity against attributions of unmasculine geekiness, and on the other hand, making an already heavily masculine field even more unwelcoming to women. Not a nice picture.

3 Responses to “On the bro- watch”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    My first thought when I saw the word was that it was derived from “bromide” in the sense of a trite saying – a forgotten word because its referent is forgotten – the use of bromides as sedatives, which had just about disappeared when I was a medical student 50 years ago.

    “Bromide” is of course derived from the element bromine, whose name is supposed to be derived from a Greek word for stench (look it up in your Liddell and Scott, I guess).

  2. more bro « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] chapter in the great book of protecting men from the taint of femininity (see here on […]

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    And now (April 2012), a story in Mother Jones,

    “Gangbang Interviews” and “Bikini Shots”: Silicon Valley’s Brogrammer Problem


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