At San Francisco's TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 event this past weekend, the most repulsive app was presented: "Titstare." Yes, you read that correctly...Titstare. Created by two young men (surprise!) from Australia, the app is exactly what it sounds like—a utopian dream-come-true for dumb, douchey jerks who have nothing better to do than look up photos of topless women. And, while dumb, douchey jerks may love this app, it is an absolutely abominable creation to everyone else.
Explicitly marketed towards men (this is made clear by the presentation’s “statistic” that male life expectancy is on a decline due to the creation of Cleava, a snap-to-bra camisole), the app allows for its users to both view endless pictures of tits and share endless pictures of themselves looking at said tits. And, because the app’s creators Jethro Batts and David Boulton wanted to make their presentation even classier, they made sure to include a nice little end slogan: “It’s the breast, most titillating fun you cans have.”
Titstare wasn’t the only grossly inappropriate app showcased at the hackathon. Several presentations later, software developer Kangmo Kim introduced "CircleShake, a game app designed to measure how fast one can shake a phone in 10 seconds. To demonstrate, Kim did exactly what you were hoping he wouldn’t— he simulated masturbation paired with a gross grin and the statement, “We merged technology and humanity.”
Although these two stunts may have been designed as jokes, it’s hard to see the humor. Besides being totally immature, the two presentations are ridiculously offensive. While the tech world may exhibit itself as existing on egalitarian principles, the underlying truth is that sexism and misogyny have been and continue to be major problems in the community.
At one point in his and Batts' presentation, Titstare co-creator Boulton stated that, while men should ideally be looking at tits to increase their heart health (....I know..), “women just aren’t that warm to it.” Not only do the two demonstrate incredible disrespect for women, but they went even further suggesting that women are in fact to blame for the male population’s apparent inability to look at tits in peace. (Titless days = fate worse than death, obviously).
While TechCrunch has since issued a rather halfhearted apology for the two juvenile presentations, the damage inflicted by both is difficult to forget. A clear message was sent to audiences this past weekend—audiences that consisted not only of men and women, but also children (children!!): Women, no matter how much they have to offer the tech world, are either targeted or alienated. Sexism and gender stereotypes continue to be perpetuated and not much is done to stop the spread.
On a lighter note, one of the children who presented along with (but was unfortunately subject to) the idiotic creators of Titstare and CircleShake was 9-year-old programmer Alexandra Jordan. Jordan created her own app (which is 100 gazillion times more useful and intelligent and mature), called "Super Fun Kid Time,” which allows parents to schedule play dates for their children in a more efficient and effective way. Hopefully Jordan and other young programmers like her can forget about the two lame presentations at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 and continue to pursue what they love. Check out Alexandra Jordan's awesome app here.