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Kumar Appaiah/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
The panel, organized by Dylan Figlo, was originally called “Don’t Sweat the Tech: Mom Can Use Blockchain Too.” People on Twitter called out Figlo and other organizers of the annual culture, entertainment, and technology conference for the panel’s name, saying it implied that moms (and women in general) have difficulty understanding technology concepts like the blockchain.
As a #momintech who runs a blockchain company, I offer to speak instead and promise to include a VERY simple, slow explanation of feminism for the person who was challenged enough to come up with the title below. #SXSW2018 #sexism #womenintech #genderparity #Timesup @sxsw pic.twitter.com/Ye7x2QV83I— Point 93 (@point_93_) February 12, 2018
Figlo then changed the name of the panel to “Passing the Mom Test: The Key to Blockchain Experiences.” But again he faced backlash for the implied sexism of the “mom test,” which disregards the number of women—especially moms—whose development roles include blockchain technology.
Here I was thinking "mom test" meant something about inclusivity & being future forward. Ha. Ha ha ha. https://t.co/p6dval9ogc @sxsw @DylanTMicah Of course it's about thinking of your mom in the most sexist, pejorative terms possible. 🤷— 🤷 (@heartsleeve) February 13, 2018
In response to the criticism, Figlo tweeted that the idea behind the “mom test” title was to “create better products for busy, functional users.” He also defended the title by saying his mom is a beta tester.
Apologies, that wasn't the intent at all. It's actually the opposite. Through the Mom Test (+ in my case literally having my mom as a beta tester) we can create better products for busy, functional users. We've changed the title and description to be more specific.— Dylan Figlo (@DylanTMicah) February 13, 2018
By Tuesday, the name of the panel had been quietly changed to “Don’t Sweat the Tech: Trade Explanation for UX.”
On its website, SXSW says, “Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.”
The conference begins in Austin, Texas, on March 9.
Kris Seavers is the Evening Editor for the Daily Dot, where she covers breaking news, politics, and LGBTQ issues. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.