Jimquisition: Booth Babes

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I don't know, I can't say I've ever been to one of these conventions but the whole thing feels like a big whack of insecurity from the gaming community. 'Booth babes' and their like are used for many other types of events or shows with little concern over what other people think of it, whether that be F1/Nascar racing, MMA/Boxing, or even just car shows. Women are less blatant but also aren't guilt free here either, with things like firemen calendars.

It would seem to me that if it's the problem of inclusiveness, that more women are becoming involved or interested in gaming, then it seems the obvious solution like many others have mentioned is to add booth studs.

Um, I'm not sure about E3, but if you got rid of booth babes, that wouldn't do anything. Sexy female cosplayers still exist.

Why is someone being uncomfortable relevant, anyway? It seems to suggest there is something inherently wrong with the booth babes. Why isn't the issue with the person that's uncomfortable? What if it's their failing in this case?

Zachary Amaranth:

Susan Arendt:
Also, the way some people behave towards booth babes is just plain disgusting. I've seen men (not journalists, I do want to point out), treating these women like they're at the show to provide sexual favors. I personally don't give a damn if a show has spokesmodels or not, but I shouldn't have to deal with a guy trying to stick his hand down someone's booty shorts while I'm trying to do an interview nearby. That stuff happens because some people simply cannot be trusted to behave professionally.

Hm. Might I offer my services? My body can kill libido at 100 paces. Plenty of room to conduct interviews without inappropriate, distracting behaviour going on.

but jokes aside, I do have a serious question: how is security and safety handled at these cons? I have read a bit about groping and the like, and I keep thinking "don't they have security?"

I mean, shouldn't a dude groping a spokesmodel (or really, anyone) be dealt with?

Judging by the number of stories recently I've heard of sexual harassment at comic cons, I'm guessing they're not handled very well (if at all), but I've been to a total of one convention in my life.

Depends on the event, but for something like, say E3, the convention center has security, but their primary concern is people trying to sneak in. (I've seen flying tackles, no joke.) If celebrities are at a booth, they bring their own personal security. If a company is having girls at their booth, they may also have handlers at the ready to step in should someone get too friendly, but a guy could (and has) grope a booth babe and be gone before anyone could do much about it.

Just to reply to your "this is putting people out of work" comment...

It strikes me that people working in coal mines probably feel the same way. If you're saying that what they do for a job makes the world worse, not better, then losing their job as a consequence to your criticism seems fair, doesn't it?

I'm not saying that booth babes are an issue or that they're doing something wrong - I'm just saying arguing that we shouldn't criticize them because they might lose their jobs, when the merit of said job itself is being drawn into question, seems silly to me.

This may be somewhat off topic but I can't view this or any other video on this site. Whenever I try to this stupid escapist promo video that's 8 goddamned minutes long and after I skip to the end that's it.

mrjoe94:
This may be somewhat off topic but I can't view this or any other video on this site. Whenever I try to this stupid escapist promo video that's 8 goddamned minutes long and after I skip to the end that's it.

Check out the video help page to find the solution to your problem. If your problem isn't on the page, you'll be invited to submit a ticket about your issue at the bottom.

I'm glad Jim took both sides on this one, as there is no good answer. The closest we can get to a fair deal is conventions not being allowed to dictate their use, and the developers/publishers being the one to decide to tone down the oversexualization. Some games still make perfect sense for their use, like the example of Lollipop Chainsaw. I actually got to talk to Jessica at PAX, and I'm pretty sure she falls into the category of loving her job, and not feeling exploited at all. I realize that some women feel put upon when surrounded by all the booth models (fyi: I hate the term booth babes, can we at least stop using that?), but that falls a bit onto the person themself to feel comfortable with thier appearance. I realize I may be in the minority, but I'm comfortable with my appearance, so the booth models being around doesn't bother me outside of pondering why they are there for games like Call of Duty.

Hey now people.

Hot, sexy, well developed women like an easy paycheck where they get to play with props and get drooled over.

Does that sound sexist? Too bad, its true. If it wasn't true, there wouldn't be any women to fill these positions, there wouldn't be models...for ANYTHING.

Models exist because some people WANT to be models. All you're doing is trying to put honest people out of work.

They have a nice rack and look good in nearly nothing, thats not a crime, stop hatin'

Well that was probably due to my misinterpretation of your post I suppose, I guess I just didn't see what you were aiming at overall.

Zachary Amaranth:
I'm just going to point out that a lot of slaves were happy.

Oh come on now, you can't compare slaves to the modern booth babe and expect it to be taken seriously.
Some slaves were probably happy because they believed that that was their lot in life and their owners didn't crack the whip too hard, booth babes get assigned to venues from agencies and probably get to accept or decline the job.
Huge difference, no comparison.

I'm not sure I'd consider expos to be a child friendly zone, the thought doesn't sit well with me so when you mention people addressing the dress code of the place I have to bring into question why people are taking children to a place filled with varying age limits of content?

Zachary Amaranth:
I honestly don't care if they can handle it. I don't think it's proper to be doing this within the context that people have been doing it. The only legit concern I can see is that of employment and even then, you hardly see people complaining that there's no market for lamplighters and telegraph operators. Does anyone really lament when other jobs are reduced solely because they are not necessary, appropriate, or useful? Does anyone really care that email has virtually eliminated the need for copy boys?

What do you define as proper then? Besides the terrible analogy your opinion up until this part has been a resounding "No" and then nothing else to actually suggest what you would believe to be a proper use for the booth babe.

The job loss would be pretty bad in terms of the video gaming industry at least, those ladies aren't useless and they provide basic marketing for companies whilst they're there. The lamplighters analogy and telegraph operators was way off.
If you want to compare it to anything, try Blockbuster and Redbox as people are looking for the next logical progression.

As for the Nude Butlers.

They're hired by an agency who then list them and the party planner will ultimately hire one for a set fee.
I'll look for an AMA link somewhere on Reddit but it is not like it is just the men that like to get all gropey with the eye candy.
The problem with the expos is that it only caters to one demographic - the one that likes huge tits in small clothes and people can't behave around that as Susan Ardnt pointed out in her post.

Also no I was't entirely serious with the basement dwelling nerd stereotype.

Or upon further thought on even better idea, just ditch the babe aspect and hire regular old promotional people. Same pretty faces, but they dress in company shirts instead of bikini's. You can add a few guys into the mix as well, and if you're promoting a specific game can go as far as dressing some people up in cosplay. This may involve some skimpy clothing but if that's what you're selling then there's nothing wrong with that.

An example of a great promotion, leading up to season 2 of Game of Thrones they want on a tour with the real deal Iron Throne. You could wait in line and get your picture taken on it, and they had a number of local people dressed up as look-a-likes from the show such as Jon or Dany, plus a few extra generic wildlings thrown into the mix. They had it all set up at a theater where they'd be playing season one in it's entirety, promoting the launch of season 2. That was a great promo.

...And now pardon me while I go cry in a corner, as in my city this was set up only two blocks away from where I live yet I didn't find out about it until an hour after it ended.

Booth babes aren't sexist in and of themselves. There's nothing wrong with having a natural attraction to the opposite sex, nor is there anything wrong with somebody marketing to my attraction in order to lure me to their display. I fail to see how having a normal sexual appetite of a human is supposed to be sexist. And I fail to see how having a normal sexual appetite is supposedly a "bad image" to portray of the gaming community. Oh no! People see us as human! We're so dirty for having natural impulses given to us by evolution!

If anything, the only thing sexist about it is that we don't have booth hunks as well. So what I'm proposing is, let's keep the half-naked ladies and bring in some half-naked dudes too.

And yes, "they could lose their jobs" IS a valid argument for why we can't just kick them out. Somebody said "they could probably find another place that will hire them for their figures", but can they really? They're best suited for an event that is public and popular. So once we reject them, that just leaves other cons (which are also going to reject them), and after that, only car shows. And I know car shows are known for being a man's event, but eventually they're going to get rid of the babes too, because they're also going to eventually hear bullshit complaints about the practice being "sexist". And then booth babes will be out of work. Can you think of any popular public event that WON'T eventually get rid of booth babes in the face of complaints? Because I can't. So no. By saying "they can go be sexy somewhere else", you're just passing the problem over to somebody else and delaying their eventual demise. The problem isn't with the booth babes, the problem is with the people complaining about them.

The bottom line is, there's nothing wrong with having a healthy sexual appetite. There's nothing wrong with being attracted to people. The body is nothing to be ashamed of, and I think it's stupid that we have these arbitrary rules about how much skin is or isn't acceptable to show. Who has the right to make that judgment? Nobody, because it's a stupid judgment to make. And let's remember that "arousal" is just another emotion. Why is it acceptable for companies to market to every other emotion I have, but not arousal? That doesn't make any sense.

So the bottom line is, booth babes are fine, let's add booth hunks, and those who complain need to just shut up and quit being puritanical pansies. You're not comfortable with it? Too bad. You're only uncomfortable around people who show off their skin because you've been taught to be uncomfortable around stuff like that. Because you've been led to believe that it's a bad thing. So just let go of your outdated ideas about what's "proper", and get with the times.

Hello Jim,

Interesting video, thank you for it (and thank God for you at the same time).
There is however one argument I don't particularly agree with (and maybe I just didn't understand it, so in this case, you can just scream at me something very unpleasant, I won't be upset).

The fact that they are people working, and that we should pay them respect is obvious. And this is good to recall this fact. We are not just speaking about concept, we are speaking about people.

But this doesn't, in my point of view, justify they presence. If they are useless (I mean... they are in the context of video game... expect for Lollipop Chainsaw... I would prefer a Rambo guy for selling a FPS war game, but I am gay... so well... hypocrite in a way), well... too bad. For me this is the same argument that some people that said that, because of Metacritic, developers are loosing money, so one should write only good reviews.
They are people, so all my respect. But if something is not good, or useless, or...
Well...
Too bad...

Now, the "useless" statement can be argued. I find myself a little rude by using it.
But this is also because in general, I hate the "communication clichés". You sell car or videogame, let's put babes ! You sell a cellphone, let's use a big screen and a funny guy that will make jokes about himself (jokes that would not be even fun in another non-hypocrite context) ! You are making a new documentary about people, let's put a Sigur Ros kind of positive music with a guy speaking inspiringly with interesting camera movement and a sun set at some point...

And every time it makes me think "I don't want to be part of this world anymore".

Maybe I am, the useless person.

Am I the only one who noticed that he forgot to say "thank God for me"? I just... I don't know what to believe anymore.

matrix3509:
Now, since I am a man, and nobody gives a flying fuck what men think on these issues (unless your business card says "feminist" on it, that is), I just wanted to say that, were I physically able, I would get a job as "booth eye candy" faster than you could blink.

Same.

Banana hammock it up and do the elevator dance.

Belated:
Booth babes aren't sexist in and of themselves. There's nothing wrong with having a natural attraction to the opposite sex, nor is there anything wrong with somebody marketing to my attraction in order to lure me to their display. I fail to see how having a normal sexual appetite of a human is supposed to be sexist. And I fail to see how having a normal sexual appetite is supposedly a "bad image" to portray of the gaming community. Oh no! People see us as human! We're so dirty for having natural impulses given to us by evolution!

The short answer is western religions. I'd extrapolate but that's the answer.

I never gets booth babes since they come into existence, if I wanted to watch hot women I'd go to a strip club, if I wanted sex I'd do my gf or a prostitute. Booth babes are just hired women who thinks you living in your momma's basement and hates you that's being paid to smile at you.

My biggest problem is where to draw the line between booth babes and promoters?
I saw lots of footage from some con where a dude was walking around promoting Firefall (I think), dressed as a character from the game. So naturally this could be done with female characters too right? Lollipop Chainsaw for example? But that gets you classified as a booth babe and thrown out. So only modest characters are allowed to promote themselves? It's a fuzzy line, and I don't have a good answer

Booth babes or pit girls or paddock girls or whatever they're called can just sod off.

At a racing event I want to see the cars, the mechanics and the drivers. At a car show I want to see the cars and maybe sit in them. At a games expo I want to see the games. At any other entertainment expo I want to see the actually products and prototypes.

If I wanted to see scantily clad women I'd go to the beach or something.

Schadrach:

rbstewart7263:

Jimothy Sterling:
Booth Babes

The punditry of the videogame community have been chatting an awful lot about booth babes this past year or so.

Watch Video

Thank god someone who's not treating these ladies like some kind of plague. There people too and I intend to treat them as such. also the fact that you can still have cosplayers where the booth babes are banned is hypocritical to me.

My solution: Find a middleground. since no one is objectively right instead of causing these poor women to lose jobs. Why not just dress em up a bit and hell teach em something about the games, make them knowledgable about the product.

You mean something like teach them the basic pitch for the product, let them play it for a short bit to get the most basic grasp of what they're talking abiout, suit them up as characters from the game in question, and call it a day?

Or something more like the SodaPop Girls (though several of them have characters based on them in that tentacle rape card game, so now they could pretty easily be the first group)?

CAPTCHA: crash and burn. Yes, captcha this thread most probably will.

not familiar w the soda pop girls but the first parts the gist of it. Points of your already knowledgable

theultimateend:
The short answer is western religions. I'd extrapolate but that's the answer.

No, the answer is what Susan said above; people treat them like shit. The idea that there is, in the end, nothing wrong is incorrect. It perpetuates the idea that a womans body is something that only has blanket material value, but the idea of stopping them from doing it because you feel "uncomfortable" seems ridiculous in my book. As much as I hate using this cop-out, let capitalism take care of it. If the booth babes make enough people uncomfortable that they stop going and stop paying, then time to get rid of them. If not, well, obviously that many people aren't uncomfortable, are they?

If you're uncomfortable around booth babes.. you need to get some help. Do you get uncomfortable when you have an unusually attractive waitress? Do you start dry humping the window display when you pass a Victoria's Secret? Should we start banning attractive women from other professions just to make sure no one's panties get bunched? How about the beach? I go to the shore every year and more often than not the beach-going females look better in their bikinis than I do and are 8-12 years younger. Should we start sectioning off parts of the world into relative attractiveness areas so no one gets upset when someone with a tighter ass or better abs walks by?

I dunno, maybe if we're getting uncomfortable around booth babes, we are the sexually repressed, perma-virgin stereotypes we've been getting labeled as for years.

And let's stop pretending that gaming is the only industry that has the "sex sell" gimmick. Booth babes and sex-based advertising are not new and nearly every other industry uses them. Acting offended by it when it's been around for decades is just silly.

Nasrin:
Just to reply to your "this is putting people out of work" comment...

It strikes me that people working in coal mines probably feel the same way. If you're saying that what they do for a job makes the world worse, not better, then losing their job as a consequence to your criticism seems fair, doesn't it?

I'm not saying that booth babes are an issue or that they're doing something wrong - I'm just saying arguing that we shouldn't criticize them because they might lose their jobs, when the merit of said job itself is being drawn into question, seems silly to me.

They're models. Period. Their purpose there is to be pretty and draw attention, as with any other model. Now we've started drawing a line between "good" modeling and "bad" modeling.

I do have a hard time deciding on how I feel about the matter as well. In earnest, I'd rather they not be there, but in reality, I wouldn't want to impose that view on these conventions.

My main beef with it is how patently lazy they've been with it. I actually have some respect for the controversial Jessica Nigri because she actually cosplays, not just dresses in some random frilly skirt and tube top. She actually delves deep into what she does and she should be commended for it.

Most of these companies, however, just hire a bunch of attractive women to shove on the showroom floor. It's lazy pandering, and I simply feel insulted by it. Dress them up, have them actually cosplay and promote the product that you're promoting, maybe actually inform them about the product, etc. And for crying out loud, hire some men; I'm sure there's some male characters from your game that you can make costumes for as well. That's a lot more interesting to me than just a random pair of boobs that I can find anywhere in the wild.

Sylveria:

Nasrin:
Just to reply to your "this is putting people out of work" comment...

It strikes me that people working in coal mines probably feel the same way. If you're saying that what they do for a job makes the world worse, not better, then losing their job as a consequence to your criticism seems fair, doesn't it?

I'm not saying that booth babes are an issue or that they're doing something wrong - I'm just saying arguing that we shouldn't criticize them because they might lose their jobs, when the merit of said job itself is being drawn into question, seems silly to me.

They're models. Period. Their purpose there is to be pretty and draw attention, as with any other model. Now we've started drawing a line between "good" modeling and "bad" modeling.

I thought the question was whether or not these kinds of models have a place in our culture or not. Maybe I'm totally off base here.

I'm sure someone's already said this, but I'm too lazy to check so I'll just throw it out there.

A good alternative to booth babes, would instead be cosplayers. You could have a cosplay of Bayonetta standing by her booth, and that would attract plenty of attention (some booths already do this). However this also works for guys, since a cosplay of Nathan Drake or Master Chief would get just about as much attention, so it isn't really sexist. You could obviously make the argument that Bayonetta is a hell of a lot more objectified, but that's more sexism in games and the character itself, rather than the booth babes, so it's a different issue entirely.

I know some booths already do this, just do more of it, and replace the booth babes with that, I'd much prefer cosplayers over booth babes.

I couldn't have been more against his stance on the DoA topic, but am right on the same page with him here...

...so conflicted.

~I guess he just makes more sense when the topic lacks bias.

video game conventions are few and far between i doubt most booth babes get most of their income from them

and it's not like there is a lack of jobs for attractive people that are ok with showing themselves off

also i think there is a difference between sexy commercial cos-play and generic boot babes

Couldn't coordinating plans for "appropriate" attire for booth babes be done between via an intermediary between the publishers and the expo hosts?

The expo isn't going to freak out because there are under dressed women, the publishers still get their booth babes, and the women still get jobs. I believe this is the least terrible solution.

Andy Shandy:
I must say I did expect the Booth Baby to end up like this.

image

But anyway, I didn't particularly care if they are there or not, but if it gives these girls jobs and they enjoy it, why not let them continue. Make them put on more clothes, and participate more in showing off the game besides perhaps just standing there (I assume that's what they do) but I don't see a huge need to get rid of them. And get Booth Bros as well if there's a potential gender issue as well.

Oh my god, Sammy is on fire!

A pretty well thought out video, especially since it gives both sides to the argument. Rather depressingly all the best arguments seem to be ones that don't actualy provide a clear answer.

To all the people mentioning the idea of booth boys to balance out the booth babes, that's an opinion that I generally share. However, I don't think it really solves the particular problem Jim was talking about in this video since he was focusing on the argument over whether booth babes are a positive influence in general, rather than discussing it as an equality issue. So while I think the idea of booth hunks potentially solves the equality problem, I don't feel it confronts the issues mentioned in this video.

Sylveria:
If you're uncomfortable around booth babes.. you need to get some help. Do you get uncomfortable when you have an unusually attractive waitress? Do you start dry humping the window display when you pass a Victoria's Secret? Should we start banning attractive women from other professions just to make sure no one's panties get bunched? How about the beach? I go to the shore every year and more often than not the beach-going females look better in their bikinis than I do and are 8-12 years younger. Should we start sectioning off parts of the world into relative attractiveness areas so no one gets upset when someone with a tighter ass or better abs walks by?

I dunno, maybe if we're getting uncomfortable around booth babes, we are the sexually repressed, perma-virgin stereotypes we've been getting labeled as for years.

And let's stop pretending that gaming is the only industry that has the "sex sell" gimmick. Booth babes and sex-based advertising are not new and nearly every other industry uses them. Acting offended by it when it's been around for decades is just silly.

Well apparently someone didn't listen to the bit about "Try to have more empathy for the other side" bit. I guess your feelings are just more important than other peoples.

But... he didn't say "Thank god for me!"

I... I am lost and confused... I don't know what to do now... WHAT DO I THANK GOD FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!??????????

I love that the mere sight of a half naked lady is now considered objectification, remember these ladies was hired to do the job. If your having trouble with this practice then blame it on the booth babes themself since taking it up with anyone else is acknowledging that those women are are stupid to understand your arguments and thus you are the person objectifying.

theres a simple solution to all of this.

Booth Bros.

even women gawk at some eye candy.

Why not hire women who actually know about the product they're meant to be selling me

misterprickly:
So to sum up (without the use of a shovel) Jimmy don't like the ladies 'cause they make his bits tingle.

Did you watch the video?

I don't mind booth babes at all. I don't know if that makes me a bad person or not but I like to look at attractive women and if there are some hanging around then, well I don't care.

The job loss part may be a non issue entirely if you look at the hire as part of X marketing budget. The booth WILL spend X on its marketing, one way or another. If not on booth babes, then on something else.

Even IF the marketing budget share for booth babes is just cut entirely, that's $X that the publisher/developer will have in pocket. $X that will be spent, oh, developing the game or some other marketing expenditure. Hell, it could be absorbed as pure profit. Then $X would be spent on, as I think Shamus Young once put it, "Ice cream and hookers." It's all still jobs in the end.

Picture what will be done with the $ instead and resist the emotional, kneejerk reaction that X temp hire will not occur next year.

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