NOTE: This article was written when only the first season had been released. Some issues were fixed during the second season.
The concept of Silicon Valley is quite simple. It tells the story of a group of friends who are trying to make it big in the city where everything is possible by launching Pied Piper, an innovative looseless compression system. I like to think of it as what would happen if the four men of The Big Bang Theory were interested in computers and technology, instead of physics. There’s one difference, though: The Big Bang Theory includes women, Silicon Valley does not.
As it usually happens in scientific and geeky contexts on TV, men are the majority. Even in real life, women in these fields always have to be proving themselves to be respected and considered equal to men. And even if they get men’s validation, they will still be treated as special unicorns. I understand that many works of fiction are only trying to imitate what (sadly) happens in real life, but television also has a role of constructing society, sometimes through inspiring women to pursue those inhabited fields of work.
Yes, there are some women in Silicon Valley, but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. These are the only women we have seen so far:
Monica. This is the only recurring female in the show. She’s the assistant helper of Peter Gregory. She is also both an emotional and professional support for the main character, Richard. She knows about business, but she doesn’t really know much about technology.
Java cupcake girl. A girl in a booth during TechCrunch who’s supposed to be in charge of some kind of cupcake app. Dinesh falls in love with her Java coding, only to later realize that it was Gilfoyle who made that code. Her role is to look hot wearing pink clothes and acting like she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She later reveals that she’s in charge of social media. Because apparently, women can only be PR and community managers in a company.
A lot of viewers noticed this and actually tweeted the crew asking for more female representation, and it does look like some things might improve. Season 2 is set to be released in April 2015 and creator Mike Judge hinted at some future changes:
— Mike Judge (@MikeJudge) August 13, 2014
It’s interesting that Judges decided to type “main female characters” since the main cast, as you can see in the picture accompanying this article, is 100% male and already consists of 5 people. Of course the presence of women doesn’t guarantee anything as long as they keep being portrayed as non-competent sex objects.