About two months ago, IBM initiated a campaign called Hack-A-Hairdryer, asking female scientists to take a hairdryer and reinvent it. The reason behind the project? To dissolve the stigma that “girls don’t like science”.
The description of the project initially read: “Girls don’t like science? Women can’t code? Only men wear lab coats? It’s hair-raising misperceptions like these that keep bright minds out of research labs, scrum teams and engineering tracks—leaving untold innovations on the shelf. It’s time to blast away the barriers that women confront on a daily basis. Help us make a statement that it’s not what people think of you that matters, it’s how you think!”
It didn't really garner any attention at first and flew under the radar until IBM tweeted "Calling all #womenintech! Join the #HackAHairDryer experiment to reengineer what matters in #science." Within a few hours the #HackAHairdryer racked up to 5,000 mentions with a wave of hilarious and quite frankly spot on responses. Here are just a few of the best:
Even the London Fire Brigade added their thoughts:
Later on Monday, IBM apologized, saying, “This was part of a larger campaign to promote STEM careers. It missed the mark and we apologize. It is being discontinued." They also swiftly removed the original video.