Sonia Saraiya’s fingers furiously pounded the keyboard of her Macbook Pro. This piece of art, entitled HBO’s “Silicon Valley” leans in: The bro-tastic startup culture confronts its Woman problem in season 2, would be her magnum opus. Silicon Valley, a show loved by millions of people, was her target. She couldn’t believe that the unenlightened plebs had lapped up such utter garbage. They had been brainwashed by the misogynist culture that contaminates everything it has ever touched, from the pyramids to the building of modern civilization. She would free the masses from the chains of mental oppression. Brogramming culture, bro coders, and bros in general, all of them were to be smashed by this feminist warrior. The ratio of men to female characters on this show was way too low. Only two of the six main characters were female. By female we assume she meant gendered, as well as sex wise. It’s kind of crazy she didn’t clarify as we all know that gender is a purely social construct. We will assume she was not being transphobic, as she clearly has her heart in the right place.
As all educated people know, a 1F:3M ratio is way too low for SV. The show also has the sexist nerve to portray the woman as a normal level headed person:
She’s incredibly normal, almost to the point of being devoid of personality. Monica is Richard’s sometime romantic interest, though they’ve never gone further than light flirtation followed by stress-puking. She is frequently the only German in a scene. And especially during season one, she is not positioned as being remotely talented. She’s competent, at times, and encouraging. But she does not even code (bro), nor does she make crucial decisions for the firm.”
You just can’t write a female character correctly if you’re a man bro. Saraiya would have been very appreciative if the character had been vapid and crass, as the “brogrammers” on the show are portrayed. The fact that multiple women have written for the show didn’t undermine the main ethos of her latest scathing journalistic piece. Those ladies had simply internalized the bro-ness of the white director and producer. The way she so elegantly attaches “bro” to random words expresses the level headed issues, and not at all evidence of a chip on her shoulder, of this truly problematic show.
“Mike Judge’s brogrammersphere”, “clubby brogrammers”, “faux-bromantic”, “But she does not even code (bro)”
All the social concern that Sonia has shown regarding the very serious culture piece that is a comedy show about a Silicon Valley startup about data compression on HBO is extremely poignant. It’s a shame she had to distract from this nuanced and fair review by making one little mistake. The writer, who gets paid to sit her fine college educated self in front of a TV and then spill her wise thoughts onto a blog serious news organization’s site, somehow thought these two people were the same:
Look, it’s obvious that the rampant and often brutal sexism in the tech industry is a big issue. Men get tons of male-only scholarships to encourage them to go in computer related fields. Women are forced to watch while men get to have special “inclusive” conferences that allow only men to attend. Women are constantly faced with potential false harassment lawsuits by men. Women wake up every day to the media portraying them as rape-crazed kiddie-diddlers. That said, it’s a bit hard to be taken seriously when as a “professional TV critic”, you can’t even take the 45 seconds to open up IMDB and fact check. To be fair, when you’re writing such an important piece that exposes horrible insensitivity towards an underrepresented minority group in television, it can be understandable to jump the gun a little bit.
Stepping back, it seems a bit ironic that a woman who is complaining about women being stereotyped would make this sort of mistake. Then again, it’s not fair to throw out the complaint of a woman just because she’s proven to be sloppy and make up things to fit an agenda. After all, you wouldn’t call into question the legitimacy of a political commentator who confused Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky*, would you? Of course not! A critic shouldn’t be judged based on their prior body of work. She apologized, it’s all good!
— sonia saraiya (@soniasaraiya) April 11, 2015
Just like we shouldn’t be concerned about Lena Dunham working at a daycare, we shouldn’t call into question the qualifications of TV critics who can’t tell two actors apart. No, that would be sexist. The Big Bang theory is a new and very niche show with a small audience. After all, those brownish actors all kind of look alike. I can’t wait to read the next piece of researched social commentary by my new favorite writer.
*It’s understandable, Monica and Hillary did serve similar roles in the White House.