Take look at the lady in the above picture. What do you think her job is? Just take a guess—whatever first comes to mind. Okay, what if I told you she was a web engineer? Perhaps you’d be surprised, perhaps not, but would you not believe me?
I ask because LinkedIn removed ads featuring that picture, because the woman was deemed too sexy and fashionable (and female) to be a web engineer. This would be damning enough by itself, but to add insult to LinkedIn’s injury, the sexy woman in the ad is in fact a web developer Florencia Antara (she’s Argentinian—maybe if LinkedIn knew that, they wouldn’t have made a fuss because supposedly everyone from Argentina is beautiful).
The company that ran the ad, Toptal, responded furiously to the request to remove the ads featuring Antara. CEO Taso Du Val explained the entire saga in a blog post titled “In Defense of Female Engineers”:
"As many companies, we run LinkedIn advertisements to acquire new companies, clients, developers and internal employees. We run a mixture of male and female advertisements. We’ve taken extremely professional photos of both men and women who are part of the Toptal network and made sure they looked sharp, well dressed and happy; however, LinkedIn’s internal advertising’s staff completely disagrees that they both look sharp, well dressed and happy. Actually, they believe, with 100% certainty, that the women in our advertisements are offensive and harmful to their user base. To me, this is unbelievable."
Du Val goes on to explain how it all went down, including reprinted emails from LinkedIn to Toptal.
LinkedIn has since reinstated the ads after they got the hint that it is extremely offensive to say that a sexy female couldn’t possibly be a web engineer. One wonders what they were thinking in the first place.