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IBM kills Hack A Hair Dryer women-in-tech vid after backlash

If only STEM was pitched at men like this

Updated IBM is killing a controversial web video that employed hairdryers to supposedly promote women in STEM following an online roasting.

The video was part of a campaign to: “Reengineer misperceptions about women in tech”, in which hair dryers – performing functions not normally associated with the handheld hot air device – feature very heavily.

The web stirred Monday after the existence of a two-month-old IBM campaign called #HackAHairDryer with a video on YouTube came to light.

The video features the standard marketing annoying squeaky voice-over and lasts just under two minutes.

Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree with people slamming IBM for its crassness, tactlessness and patronising approach on the subject.

Trepanning For Gold Tweeted similar, with respect to frequency-hopping spread-spectrum Hedy Lamar (arguably better known for her silver screen acting work), electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, Apollo lead software engineer Margret Hamilton and chemist and X-ray crystallographer Rosa Franklin.

He missed out Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and Jean Bartik.

Paul Fenwick Tweeted:

The Tweet-o-launch was unleashed, it seems, following a series of Tweets on and around 3 December from IBMers and others supporting a campaign that had seemed to have gone dormant, having first been posted online in October.

Of course, in the world of the social network campaign there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But not in this case.

An IBM spokesperson told The Reg late Monday UK to say: "The videos were part of a larger campaign to promote STEM careers. It missed the mark for some and we apologise. It is being discontinued." ®

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