PAX and PAX East are the major video game conference arm of Penny Arcade, a webcomic that started out fun, then made a joke about rape and when given the chance to apologize and be graceful turned into the dickwolves they like to write about.

People really love PAX though. If you’re a video gamer and you can’t get into E3 you want to be at PAX (held in Seattle in the summer) or PAX East (held in Boston in the spring). Video game developers show off their latest games and make fairly major announcements at PAX and gamers feel like they’re a part of something special and they’re also surrounded by tons of other fans.

One such fan is Jessica Nigri. She has the fortune of being built just like a video game character and because of this and some fantastic sewing skills she was hired to act as the human avatar of the upcoming game Lollipop Chainsaw.

The creative team behind this game, including the savvy James Gunn, actually have me excited about it and hoping it's more than the exploitative raunchfest it appears to be.

This naturally involved dressing like the character and because it’s a video game in this day in age that means she had to walk around Boston in April dressed like this:

Woman is rocking this outfit and is braver than I. I'd fear for my nipples and potential exposure.

Only PAX East officials were not okay with her outfit. See PAX East is a family friendly affair. Anyone who buys a ticket can get in and they want to make sure that little kids aren’t horrified by what their older gaming brethren are actually into.

That’s why PAX East actually goes out of its way to discourage video game companies from employing “booth babes,” hot chicks who hang around booths hoping to lure in neck beards and mouth breathers who get a rise talking to a woman in a bikini whose knowledge of video games is usually limited to whatever info was on the index card they gave her along with her thong bikini. And honestly, I’m okay with discouraging the use of booth babes. It’s REALLY awkward when I’m in a building that’s like sixty degrees Farenheit and I’m trying to learn about a game for an article and all I can really think about is how damn cold the woman in butt floss next to me must feel.

Also, you know, booth babes are maybe worse than porn when it comes to encouraging the objectification of women.

But here’s where I have to do a double take. Nigiri’s outfit was allegedly too revealing for PAX and she was asked to change. The second outfit was also apparently too revealing and they suggested she throw on a sweatshirt or get the fuck out.

Because of the children.

Who could still go into the booth for the game she was hired to promote and see plenty of pictures of the character dressed in the exact same clothes.

So how exactly are they protecting the children?

I mean, if you were really worried about the children maybe refuse to allow certain games to have booths at PAX? Wouldn’t that be more useful than telling a woman to put a sweatshirt on?

I don’t know, I’m just a lame ass blogger who’s giving some major side eye to what looks like a whole mess of hypocrisy.

Source [Destructoid via Kotaku]

  • Jason VandenBerghe

    This policy is only obliquely about “protecting the children”. It’s not like PAX is Disneyland, or is even trying to be – far from it. The other guy they kicked out was a guy who stripped down to his whitey-tighties and danced on a table during his panel. The games biz is full of outright inanity in its trade shows, and finding a way out of that morass is something the whole industry needs to do.

    Rail against it if you like, but this policy is a first, tenuous step *away* from the rampant exploitation of female models on video game trade floors, and is a step in the right goddamn direction. Whether or not this incident is perfect (it’s not), at least PAX had the courage to declare that it’s not okay to decorate your booth with scantily-clad strippers to promote your game.

    You make an excellent point about the posters – they, also, are a problem. But if you had attended as many trade shows as I have and seen hundreds of uncomfortable ladies being pawed by gamers while making a solid effort to do the job they had been hired to do, you too might applaud PAX for at least saying *something*.

    • Bel

       What makes you assume the author doesn’t know what it looks like from the inside?  As if nobody on the inside could share this opinion?  It is hypocrisy.  That they’re trying to do something doesn’t exempt them from discussion on whether or not they’re doing enough.

  • LLUErker

    Maybe they were just concerned she was too cold in that outfit. I can’t imagine she was very warm wearing either of those outfits. They probably just wanted her to put on a sweater so she wouldn’t contract the PAX Pox. Yeah, that’s it. 

  • Maureen O’Brien

    So what you’re saying is that all classical art museums have nudism-friendly dress codes?
    Bzzt. No.

    Conventions always have to keep cosplay down to something sensibly non-nude, just like they have to preserve public safety and order by not letting people do other stuff that will get the cops called. Generally, you want a standard that’s above what’s legal, so that the hotel or convention center will have you back. And it may not have been visible, but convention security was probably doing a personal hygiene sniff test on male fans, and anyone with obvious stink was probably asked to go shower or not enter the show area.

    Never run a convention if you don’t understand why crowd controls like these are important.

  • http://penny-arcade.com/2012/04/09/my-big-pax-post this has been addressed already.

    • Yeah he just posted that response today. I think what I wrote above is still pretty even handed. I love that PAX tries to discourage the use of Booth babes, but I do wonder at why virtual tatas are totally okay but this woman isn’t?

      •  Because the virtual tatas come with an ESRB rating that parents are supposed to use to control what their kids see.  I agree that it seems ridiculous, but in a way it kind of makes sense.  Also I have always fucking hated Penny Arcade with a passion, I just don’t think they are in the wrong on this one.

        •  Also, I’m too lazy to check right now, but wasn’t another cosplayer kicked out of e3 or something last year for the same kind of thing?

          • Dude was kicked out for ripping off his pants and he came back and did the same thing this year.

            And yeah, ESRB ratings are fine, but the game, and other games with “risque” content were there PAX and available to play. That’s where the silly is. 

            And like I said above, trying to end the practice of booth babes?Awesome! But if you’re still carrying the games that objectify and denigrate women then what exactly is being accomplished ultimately?

  • Maybe because some people recognize there’s a difference between fake T&A or fake violence in video games and the real thing in real life?

  • Aiddon

    It is kind of dickish on PAX’s part, mostly because Nigri was only doing what she was hired to do. They should have contacted WB Games and discussed the situation instead of coming down on Nigri; it makes them come off as jerks. I’ve been going to conventions for over six years now and Nigri’s Juliet is EXTREMELY tame compared to a lot of the cheesecake I’ve seen.

    Also, biggest hypocrisy: they complain about Nigri but they allow the Witcher 2 a game with tons of violence and nudity to be openly advertised and played.

  • Nicholas Gibbs

    Really? It’s just skin…. oh my god a pair of tits. We better ask her to cover up! Meanwhile the guy with the beefy pecs, he’s okay. 

  • I don’t think she gets it.

    but one such as her has a beauty body, look at her flat stomach, many women don’t get that.
    She should keep up the healthy and fitness!