My latest piece for Quartz is a light-hearted commentary on HBO’s Silicon Valley series that debuted a couple of weeks back. I argue that the show, which features just one speaking role for a woman in the series premiere, has actually made Silicon Valley (the non-italicized one) look even more sexist than it is in real life… which is rather impressive, given the valley’s terrible track record on gender diversity. So I’ve outlined some female tech-industry characters the producers could throw in for a bit more realism.
The pilot for HBO’s Silicon Valley gets a lot of things right about the tech scene – or close to right, anyway. Fast-paced and funny, it plays its stereotypes with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
But I couldn’t help but notice that the Silicon Valley of fiction is even more male-dominated than the real one – which is saying something. Only one female character speaks a line in the first episode: She’s an assistant to a venture capitalist. And while it’s entirely possible that this was a conscious choice on the part of the show’s creators – a satire of Silicon Valley as a land without women – I’m not convinced it’s a successful one. The near-total invisibility of women in the show doesn’t problematize the valley’s lack of gender diversity so much as it simply replicates it and dials it up to ten. A more successful strategy for highlighting the dearth of women in tech would be to actually show us some interesting female characters, and have them play a part in critiquing the current reality.
You can read the full article here.