Doja Cat has partnered with nonprofit organization Girls Who Code to create what they claim to be the first-ever codable music video, allowing users to control the story to the popstars latest single ‘Woman’.

As reported by The Verge, the experience plays out like a ‘choose your own adventure’ story, where the usual music video to ‘Woman’ will play and pause at various stages, guiding you through how to make adjustments using three different programming languages. These are distinguished using colored stars – pink for Python (duh), yellow for CSS and blue for Javascript.

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You can try the experience out for yourself and code the video to make fun adjustments, such as painting a character’s nails or adjusting the night sky to a time zone of your choice. It’s incredibly simple, but as far as interactive experiences go it’s a real pleasure to try out, especially if you’ve never experienced using a programming language.

Tarika Barrett, CEO of Girls Who Code says “We know firsthand that girls and young women are some of today’s most powerful creators and change-makers. However, too few know that they can have a career in computer science and that it can open up an entire future of possibility to nurturing their passions. Learning to code enables you to change the world around you.”

“Most girls haven’t heard of coding, but they are passionate about activism or dance or music,” adds Barrett. “Our job is to show them the connection between learning to code and pursuing those interests. We had been working with Mojo Supermarket on this idea of a codable music video, and when they came to us and suggested Doja, we knew instantly she was a perfect fit.”


Analysis: It’s a drop in the pool, but a fun one

An example of HTML being used to create a personal Tumblr theme

(Image credit: Theme Junkie)

Getting girls and women into technology-based careers is an important step towards gender equality, especially when you consider that many of the first computer scientists were women. In fact, back in the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration began hiring its own human calculators to support engineers, which essentially resulted in women with pretty advanced math skills acting as computers themselves before technology developed.

This is only a single example, but there are many similar stories in the history of computing, but it’s a great example as to why industries like STEM and programming are not inherently gendered despite the current disbalance, and that instead, the lack of women we see working in tech is more likely a social issue.

Girls Who Code states that “In 1995, 37% of computer scientists were women. Today, it’s only 24%. The percent will continue to decline if we do nothing. We know that the biggest drop off of girls in computer science is between the ages of 13 and 17.”

Emily Berger is the creative lead at creative agency Mojo Supermarket, which developed the interactive video with digital studio Active Theory. As reported by Muse by Clio, she said “We want to get more girls to try coding. But there’s a thousand other things that girls care about more than coding. And Doja Cat is like 999 of them. So, we were like, can Doja make learning to code cool?”

Jump back a few years and plenty of young girls were introduced to HTML and other programming languages through sheer self-taught determination thanks to social media themes on sites such as MySpace, Bebo and Tumblr, in order to create a personalized, sometimes interactive, environment on their blogs.

This aspect of social media has since vanished for the most part, so while I doubt this Doja Cat music video is going to make any huge waves, it’s at least one opportunity that the current generation of girls and women have to dip their toes into the world of coding in a female-centric environment. 

There will, of course, be people who are opposed to the idea of ‘gendering’ coding education to interest girls, but ensuring the women entering a career in programming are comfortable is important, especially with the current gender gap leaving many to feel isolated. You can support Girls Who Code by making a donation to the cause, or if the interactive music video has caught your eye, try out some of the courses offered by the organization.