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China Businesses

Chinese Tech Companies Hire 'Cheerleaders' To Motivate Programmers 371

HughPickens.com writes: Lauren O'Neil writes at CBC News that internet companies "across China" are hiring "pretty, talented girls that help create a fun work environment." Dubbed "programming cheerleaders," these young women serve to chit-chat, play Ping-Pong with employees as part of their role, and sometimes smile and clap for male employees who play guitar in the office, as indicated by photos posted to the news service's verified "Trending in China" Facebook page. "According to the HR manager of an Internet company that hired three such cheerleaders, its programmers are mostly male and terrible at socializing," reads China.org.cn's Facebook post. "The presence of these girls have greatly improved their job efficiency and motivation."

However people from all over the world have weighed in to decry the reported role. "This is degrading — both to the 'cheerleaders' and the programmers," wrote one commenter on the original post. "Look at the face of the poor woman programmer in the second picture. Stereotypical 'bro' culture only now with Chinese subtitles." Others suggest that the company pictured should simply hire more female programmers. "What a ridiculous job, why reduce women to only be valued by their looks and to assist males. Let them have a job at the desk using their minds!" wrote one woman.
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Chinese Tech Companies Hire 'Cheerleaders' To Motivate Programmers

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  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:20AM (#50502305) Journal

    In all seriousness though, how does such a massive distraction *not* interfere with a job where you have to, you know, focus?

    (...not that I'd complain or anything, but seriously...)

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:47AM (#50502547) Homepage

      I think it's a cultural thing, but I'm largely talking out of my ass.

      In Asian cultures (from my limited exposure from TV and the like) there seems to be a much higher prevalence of this "curated enthusiasm" as well as the accompanying "hostess" type things where the perky young girls are there to keep the enthusiasm up.

      From the Japanese tendency to have that morning "let's all go" thing, to the hostesses in Karaoke bars it's there but I've never grokked it.

      This would seriously annoy the hell out of me, but my threshold for perky and enthusiastic is pretty much nil.

      • by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:52AM (#50503227)
        I lived a while in Japan so I get it It's not easy to explain. Japanese, Indonesian, and Philippine culture (I'm sure there are others but I only know this about those three) emphasize... group orientation I guess? The group is more important than its members. To sacrifice for the group is good. Therefore one must be encouraging to others, even at the cost of self-expression. Therefore, in turn, keeping up apparent enthusiasm is vital.

        In Japan the above coupled with the importance of one's company (the loyalty owed) means a non-workplace is needed to hash out personal problems. You can't ever show you're unhappy at work, but you need a place to bring up real problems so you have to go. After all someone else may have a bone to pick with you. So you all go to the karaoke bar, drink a little, and whatever comes out there doesn't have to interfere with work. Steam gets released and you can return to work with a better mutual understanding and hopefully less stress.

        In the Philippines and Indonesia (and Italy?) laughing is often used to show displeasure. The root of humor is a disconnect between what one is supposed to perceive and what one does perceive. They laugh to say "I'm supposed to be feeling good about you but that's different from what I feel". But you always smile and laugh together because it means you're still socially connected. To stop laughing is to declare you're refusing future discourse: diplomacy has failed.

        So in a lot of places a lot of laughing means something completely different from, "ha ha that was funny" and a smile means something different from "I'm happy". To bring in a cheerleader is to support employees by helping them pretend and break up the tension behind the smiles.
        • I lived a while in Japan so I get it It's not easy to explain. Japanese, Indonesian, and Philippine culture (I'm sure there are others but I only know this about those three) emphasize... group orientation I guess? The group is more important than its members. To sacrifice for the group is good. Therefore one must be encouraging to others, even at the cost of self-expression. Therefore, in turn, keeping up apparent enthusiasm is vital.

          That's Confucianism in a nutshell. The welfare of your group (be it fa

    • by thedonger ( 1317951 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:01AM (#50502705)
      I prefer Krusty the Clown's Chinese factory motivational sayings via loudspeaker: "Laziness is counter-revolutionary. Questions are decadent! Fast hands mean less whipping."
    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:04AM (#50502739) Homepage Journal
      Given the innate natural tendency for men to want to try to show off in front of attractive women, this seems like it could actually work. They can harness the instinct to motivate programmers to pound out code. It is devious, but a little dangerous since it can lead to competition instead of cooperation between the programmers. The women have to walk a fine line between appearing interested but not too interested in any one guy to avoid anger and jealousy. They're playing with fire here.
      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:10AM (#50502797) Homepage

        Given the innate natural tendency for men to want to try to show off in front of attractive women, this seems like it could actually work.

        Given the historical amounts of epic stupidity committed in the name of men showing off for women ... you really don't want this as part of your corporate culture.

        The women have to walk a fine line between appearing interested but not too interested in any one guy to avoid anger and jealousy.

        No, pretty much the point at which this can happen is why this was a failure from the get to.

        If the guys are showing off, and honestly believe they're going to have some sexual contact as part of this ... you're really only going to get the worst forms of stupidity and harassment.

        This just screams "huge problems waiting to happen".

        • This just screams "huge problems waiting to happen".

          Yeah, but the Chinese policy of "Pay for your own bullet" kinda keeps things in check.

          :P

        • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @02:00PM (#50504303)

          > Given the historical amounts of epic stupidity committed in the name of men showing off for women

          Did you misspell "society"? Or are you just trashing macho guys because it's safe? Men's motivation to impress women has been responsible for far many great things than derp moments. In fact, you'd be cherry picking to find cases where men trying to impress women has ended badly. You'd be cherry picking so hard you didn't include a single example, that's how hard them cherries are to find.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      In all seriousness though, how does such a massive distraction *not* interfere with a job where you have to, you know, focus?

      I'm guessing that the amount of attention and cozy attitude you get is highly related to your job performance. I think roughly 99% of all clothes store selling clothes to men employ attractive women, if they tell you it looks great on you we're affected even though they probably say that about everything to everybody some part of your brain wants to think "a hot girl thinks I'm sexy in this". If they can make that a (sub-?)conscious competition you know that males will go to great lengths to impress a girl.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It does interfere. Otherwise they wouldn't hire the girls.

      It's quite well founded in science that work performance increases in these kind of situations. And goes way down with porn filters etc.

      Workplaces without distractions does not perform well. This has been known for thousands of years. I don't understand how the misconception that bored people someway works harder still prevails.

    • by MassEnergySpaceTime ( 957330 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:46AM (#50503149)

      It might work if the girls are there to provide "stress relief". It's kind of like some companies where they bring in some massage therapists to give free massages to employees who want one. That's about the only way I can see this "programmer cheerleader" concept working.

  • Camaraderie and a relaxed atmosphere are a perfect fit for tech, which can be especially stressful around crunch-time, what with long hours and whatnot. This, however, strikes me as contrived.

    • Move to Colorado. T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops are pretty much standard wear for programmers from Colorado Springs to Denver to Boulder to Fort Collins.

      • Colorado has been added to my list of places to look for jobs. I was terrified I'd have to start dressing like an adult after graduation.
        • You know what? Learn to dress like an adult anyway.

          Sooner or later the ability to wear grown up clothes, possibly including a tie, and not fidget like some damned 4 year old is an important life skill.

          • I'm almost 30. I know how to dress like an adult. I own several ties, even a couple bow ties. And you know what? Dressing like an adult sucks. Not having to dress like I'm attending a fucking funeral every day is a pretty great perk.

            • You know, do it a little more often and it's not so bad as long as you're buying shirts that actually fit.

              On occasion, I've had to wear a shirt and tie for a whole day or even most days.

              It's not my first choice, but it comes in handy to have the ability to do it comfortably. That way if you ever have to be in a wedding (or attend a funeral) you won't look like the idiot who is always yanking at his tie.

              Besides, there are times when even a geek needs to scrub up all purty like to impress. Women like men wh

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:22AM (#50502317)
    The female programmer mentioned in the summary doesn't seem upset at all, just focusing on her work. But the cheerleader playing ping-pong in those high heels is asking for a broken ankle.
    • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:40AM (#50502443)

      the cheerleader playing ping-pong in those high heels is asking for a broken ankle.

      Dude, the idea is that in heels she will miss every shot... thus having to walk slowly over to the ball, then bend over to carefully pick up said ball.

      Clearly you did not think this all the way through. Bro card suspension: One Week.

    • The female programmer mentioned in the summary doesn't seem upset at all, just focusing on her work. But the cheerleader playing ping-pong in those high heels is asking for a broken ankle.

      Shouldn't the female programmer get male cheerleaders, or someone who arouses her so that she's more inspired to go to work every day?

    • Why not just find out what the female programmers want and hire some male cheerleaders for them as well?

      On average, sex is probably a bigger motivator for males than it is for females, but that doesn't mean it can't also work for women or that there isn't some analog that is equally effective.
    • But the cheerleader playing ping-pong in those high heels is asking for a broken ankle.

      Forget synchronized swimming in the next Olympics . . . I'll be watching the women's Strip Ping-Pong!

    • Possibly not. The Chinese know their table tennis.

    • I thought I was pretty good at table tennis, being somewhat competitive at local Shanghai bar games. But I got my ass handed to me time and again by a 1.5 meter tall, 40 kg sales lady who always wore 8cm tall heels. She simply OWNED the table, against anyone who would play her. You'd step up, thinking "she's small, and has heels, no problem!" and a few minutes later you're on the losing end of a 10-2 game, sweating out your last point - and she's barely warmed up.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:27AM (#50502353) Homepage Journal

    ... just not the execution of it.

    Having a dedicated staff to driving the culture of your company can have a huge impact and pay massive dividends in retention, employee satisfaction, and willingness to go the extra mile.

    One of my previous employers had an employee that started out as a receptionist. She always decorated for the holidays, and she was super social, so she organized extra circular activities. Bowling leagues, wine tastings, etc... She was also tasked with organizing our holiday party, summer picnic, office Olympics, city scour scavenger hunt, and tons of other ideas she helped build in the company.

    Eventually, it became clear that these tasks took too much time for her to also be the receptionist, so the CEO created a new position for her to focus on the corporate culture, events, and social media.

    Best decision he made. She wasn't a cheer leader running around in a short skirt, but her efforts to make the company a fun place to work were way more impactful than any executive direction.

    -Rick

    • by sosume ( 680416 )

      I think it's brilliant. And if "both sides are degraded", what is the problem? Both sides may enjoy it very much. I'd switch jobs if such perks were given.

    • Meh, your anecdote smacks of US executives observing Japanese team bonding exercises and assuming those were why Japanese corproations were so successful, instead of their permanent jobs with good salaries and conditions, leading to an endless circus of cargo cult morale building which mostly annoyed people.and generated zero company loyalty.

      This story doesn't really denigrate the women despite the rainbow dyed legbeard brigade's shrieks of outrage, they're getting paid and I would assume fairly well for wa

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        Meh, your anecdote smacks of US executives observing Japanese team bonding exercises and assuming those were why Japanese corproations were so successful, instead of their permanent jobs with good salaries and conditions, leading to an endless circus of cargo cult morale building which mostly annoyed people.and generated zero company loyalty.

        Speaking of "cargo cult", how does the act of paying people for this particular wage/job profile lead to successful corporations? Isn't there usually something asked in return which the worker happens to be capable of delivering on? Isn't the fact that the company can pay someone on a permanent basis an indication that the company started out successful? And couldn't we just go to some place cheap, like Somalia, and buy lots of people for those permanent jobs?

      • Meh, your anecdote smacks of US executives observing Japanese team bonding exercises and assuming those were why Japanese corproations were so successful, instead of their permanent jobs with good salaries and conditions.

        Japanese culture is why the Japanese method works. You can't get large numbers of Western workers to put up with large patches of unpaid overtime every week (not to mention the fact there is no reciprocal loyalty between the employer and employee).
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_work_environment#Working_conditions [wikipedia.org]

      • by RingDev ( 879105 )

        Hah, yeah, there was some of that too.

        Like moving from offices to an open floor plan. But the CEO didn't like the part about parting with /his/ office for a cubical in the middle of the floor.

        But the corporate culture and fun loving atmosphere were a huge boon to working there. Nerf gun wars, Segway races, RC vehicle battles, M:tG lunches, board game nights, LAN parties, etc... were regular occurrences. Things like the City Scour (a company wide off-site team based scavenger hunt) which took months of plann

    • In the military they would call her the "morale officer". It is a vital position.

    • Done right, this sounds like the person in HR who organizes events and looks for group-discount packages on tickets and stuff. Problem is (and this applies to the military Morale Officer position too), while your anecdote sounds like a successful fitness-for-purpose between the person and the position, recognized because the person grew into the position, all too often this is an assigned or created position dumped on someone as an extra task that they don't want to do and aren't suited for. OTOOH what do
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      ... just not the execution of it.

      Having a dedicated staff to driving the culture of your company can have a huge impact and pay massive dividends in retention, employee satisfaction, and willingness to go the extra mile.

      One of my previous employers had an employee that started out as a receptionist. She always decorated for the holidays, and she was super social, so she organized extra circular activities. Bowling leagues, wine tastings, etc... She was also tasked with organizing our holiday party, summer p

  • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:27AM (#50502359)
    TFA quotes a critic who said: "it's like bringing Hooters to [the] workplace."

    The reporter omitted the rest of the quote, which might have provided some balance by explaining how there's also some kind of downside.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:49AM (#50502565)

      Don't diss Hooters: A few years back, I had Hooters as a client, and I can assure you that their senior management is a) mostly former Hooters girls, and b) not at all afraid to show a LOT of cleavage (or even crack off-color jokes). It was actually a bit distracting at times, but you get used to it. (And I'm definitely not complaining.)

      I visited the offices of the largest Hooters franchise several times, and the women (almost all former Hooters girls) there outnumbered the men by 2 or 3 to 1. That said, they have fun, but it is an impressively professionally-run organization - of the restaurant chains I worked with only two were more professional, and they were tops in the industry.

      • by ksheff ( 2406 )
        free wi-fi, pretty girls, free Mountain Dew refills. I've done quite a bit of design & coding work at Hooters over the years. Even just writing stuff out on paper towels. Sometimes the waitress will ask what I'm doing. I tell her, and she replies with an "ooookayyy..." and leaves.
      • Don't diss Hooters: A few years back, I had Hooters as a client, and ... they were tops in the industry.

        I see what you did there.

  • Yeah employment! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:34AM (#50502401)

    Let them have a job at the desk using their minds!" wrote one woman.

    Perhaps because those people aren't qualified for a desk job using their minds? Not all people are cut out for that kind of work.

    If an employer hires somebody and discovers that they'll contribute more to the company by transitioning to a desk, the employer will make the transfer.

  • A brilliant but strong male who can't find work in any other industry may take a job at a construction site to make money (and many other strong but not so brilliant ones may do the same). People can jobs based on their talents. Its all about improving efficiency.

    If hiring attractive females to basically make the workplace more exciting serves to increase productivity, then so be it. It's a lot less degrading to everyone than just saying "Work harder or you're fired.".

    People are just too quick to be offe

    • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:51AM (#50502601) Journal

      We're supposed to be the most "tolerant" society ever in modern times yet you can't turn a corner without offending someone

      Tolerant means we strive to not offend anyone. Offense is intolerance and therefore must be removed. The problem is, once your remove all offenses, you're left with boring flat meaningless monotony; the drudgery of life. The reason is, when you add something more exciting, it will necessarily offend someone somewhere.

      Hell, I bet this post offends someone, who doesn't like when people point out the ultimate silliness of Political Correctness.

      • If I had mod points, I'd mod you down for offending me! But I don't, so sorry.
      • Rewriting Karl Popper 44 year later does not make you insightful, just poorly read.

      • Tolerant does not mean "strive to not offend". Tolerant means "don't tell people how to behave or think", with the axiomatic underpinning being "as long as those people don't try to actively harm you".

        The fact that you don't understand the meaning of a simple word like "tolerant" makes your entire post rather superfluous.

  • Picture from the article: https://www.facebook.com/trend... [facebook.com]

    Wonder what she thinks of this.

    • You obviously have never been to an office building in Shanghai in the summer. That's pretty standard business attire, and the clothing shops all around the core are loaded with short skirts, sheet blouses and tall heels.
  • by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:40AM (#50502453) Homepage

    Treat them like humans and give them interesting work to do.

  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:40AM (#50502455)
    I wonder if part of this is due to China starting to feel the impact of their sex ratio starting to shift due to many families aborting female fetuses so that they can have a male child. Unavailability of potential mates makes younger males depressive and some have theorized that the reason we see a lot of suicide bombers and the like form the Middle East is due to a culture that permits men to have up to four wives which makes it impossible for many people to find a mate and a lot more willing to end their own life to attain some form of purpose.

    Long hours and the average computer type skewing towards being introverted or social awkward probably don't help either, but if the sex balance of the local population is disproportionately male, it likely exacerbates the problem even more.
    • There are "two Chinas"; rural and urban. The sex ratio is mainly, if not exclusively, an issue in rural areas of the country. Almost a 50/50 ratio in the major urban cities however, which is where these people work and live.

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@@@keirstead...org> on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:45AM (#50502523) Homepage

    Putting all gender equality issues aside for a moment, I can't see how this would be anything but a distraction and counter-productive.

    The last thing I would want in my office to aid productivity would be a ton of attractive females who have no job but to fawn over the males who are supposed to be working.... its total nonsense.

    Sure, it might help them attract employees, but they will have to hire 2x to 3x the number of them to counteract the productivity hit.

    • When programs merge, you inevitably spawn dependant child objects.

    • How are you arriving at that conclusion..

      You must be a manager that believes every second a person is not at their desk hacking a away a problem is "lost productivity"... rather than accepting the notion that sometimes, stepping away from a problem SOLVES the problem..

      #1: These women are not just randomly walking around interrupting everyone's day.. they are in the breakrooms and company sponsored events.. (no different than most other companies, other than the fact that, THAT is their job)

      #2: It offers t

    • Re:Distraction? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AnotherBlackHat ( 265897 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:56AM (#50503251) Homepage

      you said

      I can't see how this would be anything but a distraction and counter-productive.

      TFA said

      "The presence of these girls have greatly improved their job efficiency and motivation."

      Personally, I find that when I'm happy I'm far more productive than when I'm unhappy.
      "Wasting" time improving my mood could easily result in more useful work being done overall.

  • by Cyrille M├ędard de Chardon ( 4257179 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:47AM (#50502541)
    We can't criticize this. Having cheerleaders at NBA, NFL etc... is very similar. Women cheering on men. Although now it's more just entertaining fans. Although I'm sure some cheerleaders here are giving athletes many free 'breakfasts'.
    • FWIW not all football cheerleaders are women [wikipedia.org]. (Link to somewhat famous example)

      Personally I think there are better, less distracting, less sexist, ways to motivate programmers, but I seem to be in a minority here.

  • Admittedly, I'm neither 1.) a programmer, nor 2.) well-versed in Chinese culture, so those factors may raise issues with my thinking in this regard.

    Having said that, I'm wondering if the abstract concept has merit. Programming (and, in my case, IT/Sysadmin work) is generally thankless, generally involves odd hours, and can very easily become a high-stress situation. While hiring beautiful women to galavant around the office seems contrived and a bit degrading, I'd argue that perhaps what could be a positive thing is the concept of "having humans on staff to give the programming folk another human with whom to interact from time to time".
    I remember reading around here somewhere that a number of programmers have some inanimate object to which they describe the situation that they're in, and that the process of explaining the problem frequently yields a solution. I've got friends to whom I do my best to explain technical things in less-technical terms, and who have a propensity toward asking for further explanation. I find this helpful, and it's entirely possible that such an environment at work could assist in the same manner. An approachable person could help distill technical things so that a situation could be more quickly and effectively explained to management/marketing. Someone who genuinely feels listened to is more effective as a worker. It is in this capacity that I think having a "Counselor Troi" on staff could be advantageous to both prouctivity and morale.

    Hiring hotties to play ping-pong with programmers sounds like an HR nightmare waiting to happen. Even if we put aside the "socially unskilled" stereotype, allowing "person X" to speak in confidence to "paid listener Y" is going to, at some point, yield a situation where a misunderstanding is going to escalate quickly. The general solutions to this would heavily favor one side or the other - "programmer says something wrong, assume it's a misunderstanding" becomes "programmer intentionally says something unacceptable, cries 'misunderstanding' when they get to HR". Alternatively, "Cheerleader hears something she doesn't like, we want her to keep her job, so there's no such thing as a misunderstanding that will be hand-waved away" becomes "programmer says something genuinely intended to be innocent, is misunderstood, ends up getting reprimanded", leaving us with "your call may be recorded for quality purposes", thus making it an environment where everything is being recorded, removing the possibility of truly free expression of thought...And this is why we can't have nice things.

    Thus, I stand by my logic - there is merit in the abstract concept, and although I don't know if "programmer cheerleaders" is the correct implementation, I do think that "treating programmers like people, rather than caffeine-to-code conversion organisms" is something positive for the industry.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Having said that, I'm wondering if the abstract concept has merit. Programming (and, in my case, IT/Sysadmin work) is generally thankless, generally involves odd hours, and can very easily become a high-stress situation.

      I think you've hit on the problem.

      Taking people for granted, or worse, treating them badly, is the real problem.

      Making a point of personally thanking employees and acknowledging their hard work and sacrifices goes a long way. You don't have to overdo it or encourage narcissism, either -- a

    • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @12:39PM (#50503643)

      In your culture the girls would be just waiting for an opportunity to lodge a sexual harassment suit against the company and walk away with $bigbucks - $lawyerfees

      Not all cultures are like that.

  • I like how people are outraged by this idea, but somehow it's perfectly okay for cheerleaders on other places like football teams. When put into the "nerdy guys place" suddenly there is a whole sexual air to it, I see comments like: "they are like hookers", "poor girls how they suffer surrounded by nerds", "this is sexual abuse".

    I think is valid to question western society (specially in the US) why it's acceptable to have "cheerleaders" showing their asses on public television before a football/basketball m

  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @10:55AM (#50502639)

    coding with a boner is always more fun.

  • Two Bits!
    Four Bits!
    Six Bits!
    A byte!

    All for the coders, stand up and unite!

    with great apologies to Mr Two Bits - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:18AM (#50502873) Homepage Journal

    Recognizing that is not necessarily degrading. What's degrading is treating someone as less than a total human being, which includes both the animal behavior and the advanced cognitive stuff.

    Most people recognize of course that reducing someone to nothing more than an object of animal behaviors is degrading. But there is something degrading in a lot of high pressure employment too, which is reducing someone to their intellectual capacity to transform information inputs to into product outputs. But we're also animals who evolved to live in medium-sized social groups, and need family and social interactions centered around feeding, grooming and (yes) reproduction to be healthy. We need family, friends, and social novelty. We need to have a personal story that extends beyond our economic outputs.

    Now as to whether this particular corporate arrangement is degrading, it could well be. However I doubt that in the current Chinese context that it is. There's a lot to this situation that doesn't necessarily fit into Western assumptions, and one of the biggest factors is the unexpected ways China's one-child policy has altered the status of women. As you'd obviously expect given the Chinese cultural value of extending the male bloodline this has skewed Chinese population male -- 1.18 :: 1 at birth. And paradoxically this has actually raised the status of Chinese girls [telegraph.co.uk] as individuals, upending thousands of years of cultural tradition.

    Young, attractive, talented women have immense opportunities in modern China; they don't have to accept any treatment they find degrading. This is a good thing, but the fact that it is ultimately rooted in the messy biological imperative to propagate the species is something that many people will be deeply ambivalent about. I think we'd be a lot better off if we just accepted our animal nature and use it to make everyone's lives better; or at least developed the ability to have a good laugh at ourselves. The kind of earnest, priggish, knee-jerk reaction something like this immediately evokes is rooted in deep discomfort with human nature, as well as cultural parochialism.

  • by Sassinak ( 150422 ) <sassinakNO@SPAMsdf.lonestar.org> on Friday September 11, 2015 @11:29AM (#50502993) Homepage

    The issue here is not tolerant meaning not trying to offend anyone, because that is an impossible task. (ex: I wear a red tie today, and the women in the elevator says the red tie OFFENDS her.. (its a freaking colour).. but rather trying to be more understanding of the other side that is expressing their individuality (ex: rather than taking offense at again, my colour tie, especially where no offense was given, or even implied, instead choosing to recognize it is in fact, just a TIE, part of any normal apparel by any human, and not look for offense where none in given. If I personally knew the person, or red was culturally insensitive (again, known) then perhaps a slight offense could be claimed.

    The issue with this situation is people are getting offended by a cultural difference that does not subject these people to any degradation or offense. (other than what we, the outsiders) want to attach. I think many people said it here already, in most work places (even those outside of china), the mindset is "I don't care about your life, I wand productivity.. work harder or you are fired".. but what some people fail to recognize is programming is an art, and you can write junk code (functional but non elegant which requires more work down the line (QA, bug fixes, etc..) or elegant code.. and yes.. mood and life does enter into it by being inspired).

    Simply (as some have suggested).. hire more females to program doesn't turn anyone instantly from shy to outgoing, especially if there is no assistance on HOW to interact. (and the same is true for females as well).. I've worked in programming shops in Japan (some where the ratios have been 60/40 (yes, still higher men than women).. but in ALL cases, both groups were afraid to talk with each other for fear of one, making an faux pas, or worse, an embarrassing mistake which might cost them their job.

    The purpose of these "cheerleaders" is to one, break the cycle of monotony.. (yes, it can get dull hacking out code, especially if you are a grunt), two, allow these people (some of who spend 80 - 90% of their lives at work) a chance at a break, and allow them to incorporate some social norms back into their lives without fear of retribution and education. Or to put it another way.. the socially awkward geek(s) gets connected with the socially adept socialite in order to learn how to be cool (ie: almost every teen flick in the past 30 years). Virtually EVERY study indicates a happy employee is a productive employee. (why do you think Google, or Microsoft, etc... all spend so much on employee perks (food, social gatherings, etc..) these are all to bring some normality back into their lives, to forge better team bonding, and for those that are shy a chance to interact in a socially prescribed way that does not require them to use skills they may not have or suck at.

    And for those that are arguing these women are being hired SOLELY on their looks, that is not always the case.. yes, their looks are part of the equation.. but their ability to help these folks out of their shells, and in effect become a "Cheerleader" is also a factor.. (not every "hot girl" off the street is going to qualify because they lack the temperament and skills to help others.

  • Of course, I'm married to her. But, yeah, helps keep morale up at the cost of a little distraction here and there.

  • "What a ridiculous job, why reduce women to only be valued by their looks and to assist males"

    Are they only hiring female cheerleaders, and only to help straight male programmers, and by "cheering" they mean flaunting their body? I guess China doesn't have any laws that deal with sexuality or discrimination in the workplace...
  • Would a female programmer clap for your shitty guitar solo? OK then.
  • We have women in short skirts working in an office to motivate programmers - how degrading! I mean we have to make sure it's trumpeted everywhere as a massive set-back for women. Never mind the ISIS rape squads, or the selling or female children throughout ISIS-controlled lands. No, let's only focus on evil technology and programmers and people making money...
  • Maybe they'd be more productive if they lived under a government that didn't oppress them at every turn, squashing their creativity and their joy of life in general?
  • The best part of this story is a room full of socially awkward nerds being described as "stereotypical 'bro' culture."

  • This may have a short term benefit, but by and large happy workers aren't productive, productive workers are happy. At the end of the day, we all like to feel like we succeeded somehow. SOME distraction and downtime that is work sponsored is beneficial, but there is a definite limit, more effective is finding ways to make the needed tasks satisfying to perform has a better long term result.
  • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Friday September 11, 2015 @12:47PM (#50503733)
    This would irk me so much. First i'd be pissed that the company was paying people to decorate the office. taking that money and just boosting the salaries of the engineers tends to make us happier. Second, i'd be insulted that they think i'm so shallow.

    Finally, I'd be pissed at myself. Id suffer from cognitive dissonance knowing it was a cheap trick, but feeling giddy excitement with some pretty girl hanging around at my desk.
  • Anyone have an idea of why submitting the same story yesterday morning (http://slashdot.org/submission/4917489/chinese-tech-startups-hiring-cheerleaders-for-programmers [slashdot.org]) doesn't seem to show even in the firehose and shows as still pending to me, but "HughPickens.com" (nothing promotional there...) with the same primary link and who seems to submit stories daily has already been included and posted?

    Granted, you can certainly make an argument that he quoted more from the article in his post and say that's superior... I'm mostly trying to figure out why the story submission I made never even seemed to appear on the firehose and is still pending, while this duplicate of it seems to have passed it by. Is there a submission process glitch?

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