What about booth babes?

What about booth babes?
What about booth babes?

Edit: I also realized that the Sticky Image is focused on her upper body. Can’t find a way to move it around though.

“Booth babes” – a term far too often tagged to women scantily clad in less than a metre of fabric, posing for the crowd whilst cradling whatever sales product her company hired her for. Advertising targetted at the male-dominated(?) consumer base? Absolutely. Effective? Not exactly so.

The male consumer may occasionally be tempted by the provocative  come-ons of the “exhibitions”, but this temptation is almost always accompanied by a sense of shame. What if our mothers and girlfriends knew we were fiddling around with such obscenity?

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“What does the concept of the ‘Booth Babe’ say about women? It says that women’s place at any tech-related event can only be as an attractive decoration to sweeten the event for the men,” as former Eurogamer.net writer Florence noted. “It says that women aren’t truly welcome in that world, because the moment you objectify something it isn’t part of anything. It’s just there. It’s just something else to be consumed. Fundamentally, it depicts a woman as a product.

 It cheapens us. It cheapens all of us. It cheapens the event, and everyone at it, male or female.

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When I’m on the grounds of any expo, show or exhibition, at the booth I’d expect someone who actually knows their stuff. I don’t need someone who coyly dodges my question when asked whether the game features “offline split-screen”, or whether it uses Nvidia’s PhysX. I’m not there to sneak a peak. People have thrown labels upon me. These labels included Nerd, Gamer, Geek and other obscure titles, but I assure you “Voyeur” is not one of them.

E3 2011. Not that it matters, though.
E3 2011. Not that it matters, though.

But would anyone have liked it better if these girls covered themselves up and wrapped layers upon layers of fabric around her?
Would having more clothes lead to an end of objectification? And should women be allowed to dress provocatively? Absolutely. You can wear whatever the hell you want without being victimized. Rape and molestation aside,  People are always finding each other sexually attractive and objectifying each other merely by being in range of sight. Clothing is no real barrier to this occurring. The provocative clothing can no doubt focus attention on someone as a sexual object, but avoiding it does not magically make sexual objectification disappear.

The problem here is not the clothing.

There are boys(and girls) who turn their heads away from such provocative material and keep their heads clear of any indecency. Their parents did not go about shielding their eyes from every girl wearing a swimsuit too small or a man wearing a speedo too tight. Instead, they sat down with their kids and taught them. Although at the beginning they might have problems and struggle to keep temptations at bay, and their efforts to do so is praiseworthy.

Critical Miss on dongles.
Full strip over at The Escapist Magazine. Kinda NSFW.

Our industry hires women to stand for hours in painful high heels and skimpy clothes, operating under the dated notion that tech products can’t be sold without appealing to sexual fantasies of their perceived consumer base. So what should we do then, when our industry believes that putting a pretty girl beside their game would make us loosen our wallet? That we should actually feel honored, complimented at the features of game and her features as well?

“Hey, our game has great gameplay and a storyline that outshines the rest. But here’s her cleavage.

I would pay for good gameplay without anyone flaunting their body mass at me. Or perhaps gate-keeping your consumer demographics to a horde of horny teenages is just so profitable.

Sigh.

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—-Food for thought—-
Eurogamer has now joined PAX in banning booth babes from their expo and shows. But is this a valid move? Arguably. A lot of these booth babes are actually pretty interested in the gaming scene, albeit to varying degrees. Some of them choose the job as a cheaper way to join the event, and some do it because it is the best job available. Bring on the saying that these booth babes and their employers are entitled to same freedom of expression everyone has. In such circumstances, don’t they all have the right to dress as so, to advertise as they please?

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This is an article written by PP1MT.
He blogs at PP1MT.COM and all of his articles are free for sharing, reblog and commercial use unless stated otherwise.
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