Booth Babes Axed From Another Conference But Does It Hurt Women?
By Alex Cranz
Yesterday Eurogamer Expo joined PAX in losing the booth babes.
In the past they’ve actively discouraged the practice but after incidents this year involving three different companies coming in with women they felt dressed inappropriately EG Expo has decided to ban the practice entirely.
It’s weird to write about this because some of what EG Expo Director Rupert Lohman says raises my hackles. They insisted the women put on more clothes and dictated how they dressed.
There’s this urge to find his phrasing repellant. Telling women how to dress? HOW DARE.
A booth babe is hired on looks alone and plotzed out in the middle of the room and is ALREADY having their uniform dictated by the gaming company they’ve been hired by. Though EG Expo may have told these women to “cover up” it was only after their employer demanded they “take it off.”
This isn’t a case of a woman’s right to dress as she pleases or take the employment she desires. No matter how often those arguments are used as shapely strawmen they’re not the issue at the heart of the booth babes controversy.
In fact the booth babes themselves? Not the issue! Yes it can be uncomfortable talking to a woman about a game and being able to tell she recently waxed and is cold while I’m fully dressed.
What’s more uncomfortable is what her presence suggests about the company that hires her. It suggests that they use women as props…because they’re using women as props.
That’s the one reason I usually don’t get impossibly outraged at the sight of a booth babe. It makes it incredibly easy to see which companies’ marketing departments have little respect for women.
But losing booth babes all together and moving toward professionalism where the draw is the game and informed hosts on the floor? That’s something I will always applaud.
Now let’s see what E3 does. In the past they’ve attempted to do away with “booth babes” but always half heartedly. If they were to ban them outright it would be a move towards the gaming industry treating women as humans and acknowledging that men can and should be defined by more than their desire for boobs and butts.