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Sexist Presentations At Startup Competition Prompt TechCrunch Apology 762

beaverdownunder writes "Silicon Valley technology conference organizers TechCrunch have been forced to apologize after two Australian men pitched a smartphone app called "Titstare" in front of a nine-year-old girl. The Sydney duo's presentation had the mainly male audience laughing, but angered Twitter users and reignited a debate about sexism in the technology sector. The two entrepreneurs — Jethro Batts, 28, and David Boulton, 24 — pitched their 'tongue in cheek' idea at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on Sunday after winning expenses for the trip to the US in a similar competition, AngelHack Sydney. In their pitch, Boulton explained to an audience of hundreds (plus thousands online) that it would allow users to 'take photos of yourself, looking at tits'. 'It's science my good friend, science,' Boulton said. TechCrunch also apologized for another pitch for a product called Circle Shake, in which a man simulated masturbation."
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Sexist Presentations At Startup Competition Prompt TechCrunch Apology

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  • Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:44AM (#44796717)

    I would have thought that their talk was satirical with an ironic twist, thereby not being sexist at all in the given context.

    How wrong the political correctness freaks have proved me once more!

  • eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:44AM (#44796719)

    That is not sexism, poor taste at best.

  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:45AM (#44796727)

    So it's wrong for a guy to talk about "taking a picture of yourself staring at tits" and to simulate masturbation in public, but it's perfectly all right for Miley Cyrus to do the same (and more!) on national television in front of millions of people? I guess they should have done it on MTV; then it would have been ok.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Interesting equating you have going on there.

      Miley Cyrus is well known for gyrating in from of millions of viewers at conferences.

      You also have the nice piece of logic "well someone else did something bad so this bad thing is ok too".

      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        I was going to agree with your point on the difference between Miley Cyrus at an awards show, and a tech conference, but then I started typing "Awards Show" and realized that the titstare app at a tech conference is far more relevant than Miley Cyrus gyrating half naked with furries at an awards show.

        You also have the nice piece of logic "well someone else did something bad so this bad thing is ok too".

        I'm not going to side with the parent poster, but the logic he is trying to employ is the same logic that gets used to show discrimination when it isn't white men. If drivers who are black and speeding get tic

    • All about context (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While I don't approve of either act, there's a difference for what an entertainer does onstage and what happens in a supposedly "professional" environment.

      Entertainers do crazy stuff onstage for attention all the time. This is the industry that gave us Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue, and introduced the term "wardrobe malfunction." It's a show. It's designed to provoke, and entertain. If you're not into it, don't watch MTV (I don't understand why anyone would have in the last 10 years, but there I go being

    • by djlemma ( 1053860 ) on Monday September 09, 2013 @10:03AM (#44796907)
      What, exactly, makes you think that people consider Miley Cyrus' behavior to be "perfectly all right"? Seems like the overwhelming reaction to her performance was one of disgust.
      • From the reaction shots in the audience, particularly that of Will Smith and his family, I did not get the impression that the majority were in the "You go girl!" camp. Most seemed shocked, a few started to fully comprehend what they were seeing and they were not pleased. Cyrus may have gained some "cred" with her intended audience, but somehow I think there are a few Hollywood parties that she won't be invited to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dr_dank ( 472072 )

      Mod this up for the worlds first twerking strawman!

  • by catfood ( 40112 ) on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:48AM (#44796751) Homepage
    It would have been just as sexist without her there.
  • I'm not sure this is sexist. I see it as just plain stupid to present something like this to a conference. It's two young programmers who didn't really think things through.
  • About two weeks ago we had this story Silicon Valleys Loony Cheerleading Culture is Out Of Control [slashdot.org].

    Titstare just seems like a satire on the completely pointless app genre that seems to be the new popular thing to do if you are a young hip coder looking to score big in the new social/app bubble we are in.

    Didn't Facebook start as a way to rank girl's appearance at Harvard? Who's to fault these guys, they could be the next Zuckerberg. Titstare is (however tongue-in-cheek) indicative of the trend of creat
  • Irony? (Score:5, Funny)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:56AM (#44796833)
    Submitted by beaverdownunder Perhaps!
  • by Pikoro ( 844299 ) <initNO@SPAMinit.sh> on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:57AM (#44796847) Homepage Journal

    Women have boobs. People jerk off. Stop trying to hide obvious human sexuality issues from everyone. EVERYONE does this stuff. Why hide it? This puritan crap needs to go away.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )

      I'm with you on this .... but at the same time, since "EVERYONE does this stuff", why keep trying to make it into a bigger deal than it really is with such things as lame smartphone apps featuring or simulating the behaviors?

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Monday September 09, 2013 @10:00AM (#44796869)
    Breaking news: men are fascinated with breasts. It is pretty much universal and isn't sexist.

    Obviosuly their display in front of children was uncalled for.

    But something to do with gender doesn't mean it is sexist. It is killing what true sexism is, real discrimination.
    • I submit that a nude statue of a woman is not sexist, but a wet T-shirt contest is. They both involve boobs, but the context matters.
      • by stdarg ( 456557 )

        Why is a wet T-shirt contest sexist? I mean, perhaps since (generally) only women are allowed to enter it's sexist against men, but I doubt that's what you meant.

        Are phenomena like boy-bands sexist against men? It's awfully degrading to men that millions of women are ogling and rubbing themselves off thinking of One Direction or New Kids on the Block right?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Why is a wet T-shirt contest sexist?

          It's not sexist per-se, it's just degrading to women. Let's stop arguing about semantics and get back to the issue.

          Are phenomena like boy-bands sexist against men?

          They are certainly degrading to some extent. Most men can never look like those made-up and airbrushed guys, selected purely based on looks. Since many of them can't even sing or write songs they are purely there for the way they look it definitely is objectification of men based on an unrealistic and unobtainable fantasy image of the male body.

          That's the mainstream feminist view, BTW.

  • by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Monday September 09, 2013 @10:00AM (#44796871)

    Here is her story and app [techcrunch.com].

  • by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Monday September 09, 2013 @10:20AM (#44797087) Homepage Journal

    The real problem is that we have reached the point where the puritanical values have caused men's reactions to breasts to become national news, and to where breastfeeding mothers are made to feel they are doing something shameful.

    Stupid, stupid Americans. I doubt the Aussies even considered America's hypersensitivity in the process.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.