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The Booth Babe Debate!

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ZJ
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The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 18:57:05 Reply

So, I don't know if you guys know this or not, but there's apparently been a raging debate about booth babes (the girls who wear skimpy outfits to help promote upcoming games) at gaming conventions. Eurogamer Expo has just banned booth babes from their convention and the debate has been launched with people arguing for and against them.

So, I want to hear from you guys: Should booth babes be allowed at gaming conventions? Why or why not? Do you believe this ties into sexist issues within the gaming industry or is this a lot of fuss about nothing?

The Booth Babe Debate!


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 19:26:24 Reply

The fuck? What's the reason behind this? They'll lose a lot of people to an already small crowd of gamers going to these conventions. Booth babes all the way!


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 19:29:54 Reply

They banned booth babes over there (and PAX has as well, apparently)?! Give me a minute to wrap my head around this.
. . .

Right then. I can understand the reason of banning booth babes for the sake of focusing more on the games being presented, but still, it's seems over the top. If it's because they wear skimpy clothing, why not just enforce a rule where they have to wear more decent outfits? I'm not saying throw a windbreaker and sweat pants on the model, just lay down a ground rule for something slightly more favorable, like a t-shirt and shorts. There's no need to ban booth babes because of their outifts. For that matter, what about cosplayers at conventions that wear revealing costumes? Would they be affected by this at some point too?

Unless they already are. In which case, that puts a severe dent in my planned Sailor Moon team cosplay...
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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 19:50:23 Reply

Booth babes are real?

Slutty dressed chicks at gaming conventions?

...the fuck?

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 20:07:30 Reply

Like it or not, booth babes are a part of video game culture that do nothing but attract even bigger crowds.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 21:14:20 Reply

At 10/23/12 06:57 PM, ZJ wrote: So, I want to hear from you guys: Should booth babes be allowed at gaming conventions? Why or why not? Do you believe this ties into sexist issues within the gaming industry or is this a lot of fuss about nothing?

Of course it ties into sexist issues within the gaming industry. How could anyone possibly argue that it doesn't?

According to the most recent data, the age of the average gamer is 37 and roughly 42% of gamers are women. The fact that the industry is still pitched almost entirely towards the fantasies of adolescent males, then, is absolutely ridiculous and disgraceful. Juvenile shit like booth babes shamelessly indulges the worst aspects of gaming culture, and only serves to reinforce the mainstream perception of video games as loud, crass, thoughtless entertainment for children.

Of course, booth babes are only a symptom of this larger problem, and getting rid of them alone won't solve it for good. But removing that kind of blatant sexism from how gaming presents itself could go a long way towards making the industry a less hostile place for women. And that would help lead to the real solution to the problem: more female game designers. Really, more diversity in general within the industry would cure a lot of its ills, taking the focus away from (let's face it, white) adolescent male power fantasy and into a greater and more nuanced plurality of perspectives from all kinds of different groups.

At 10/23/12 08:07 PM, TB1ZZL3 wrote: Like it or not, booth babes are a part of video game culture that do nothing but attract even bigger crowds.

Okay, but the whole point of the argument is that video game culture needs to change. As for bigger crowds, I think the loss of slobbering knuckle-dragging douchebags who show up for the tits would be counterbalanced by the influx of female gamers who no longer find the environment so threatening. Everybody wins.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 21:29:44 Reply

Banning booth babes can't be good for bussiness.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 21:45:24 Reply

This argument is sexist and oppresses attractive women and their ability to create more jobs.

Nazi feminist prudes must be behind this.

The Booth Babe Debate!

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 22:39:18 Reply

At 10/23/12 06:57 PM, ZJ wrote: So, I want to hear from you guys: Should booth babes be allowed at gaming conventions? Why or why not? Do you believe this ties into sexist issues within the gaming industry or is this a lot of fuss about nothing?

While I can understand why booth babes could be considered distracting, and possibly overshadowing the games themselves, there is still no reason why they shouldn't be allowed. Now it's up to the convention that determines what the models dress like, and if they want them to dress a little more modestly, then that's their call, but I probably bet that's not usually the case. Once you think about it, it's really not that much different than beer ads who have half-naked women on there, primarily to attract a male audience, which is the target majority.

I've noticed that Dr. Worm says that booth babes are bad for the growing female demographic, and that might be true for a small segment of that demographic, but the reality is that most of them really don't seem to mind booth babes that much, and to outright remove them because of this is simply short-sighted. Let's be honest here, the majority of gamers are still male, and the majority of those who go to VG conventions are male, and I would assume that most of them wouldn't mind to see some eye candy within the convention that goes in conjunction with the video games.

Whether it's sexist or even fair or not, the hard fact remains that sex sells, and naturally video games companies and convention owners would be amiss to use that axiom to their advantage if they so choose. Personally, I have no problem with sexy booth babes at all, and while I can respect those who do have a problem, instead of trying to ban them, they can either simply ignore them altogether or at a subconscious level of my mind, tell them to grow a set of balls.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 23:31:00 Reply

I don't mind, the booth babes should be dressed as characters from the game not just wearing as little as possible just to lure the pathetic to games.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-23 23:41:52 Reply

It's a gaming convention, not a come here and ogle at pretty girls with big tits convention. I doubt any of the booth babes have ever played a video game in their lives. I'm pretty sure they're just using the conventions as a means of advertising themselves. If I want to find out about games and whatnot, I'll so to a gaming con. If I want to see sexy women, I'll go to PornHub.

Also, I don't really care if it hurts business. The kind of people who show up to these convention only to look at hot girls and not the video games are the kind of people I don't want to associate with in that setting.

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-24 00:46:41 Reply

At 10/23/12 10:39 PM, orangebomb wrote: Now it's up to the convention that determines what the models dress like, and if they want them to dress a little more modestly, then that's their call

That's kind of missing the point, though, isn't it? Sure, it would probably make things less degrading, but it's still a matter of treating women as objects for male entertainment.

but I probably bet that's not usually the case. Once you think about it, it's really not that much different than beer ads who have half-naked women on there, primarily to attract a male audience, which is the target majority.

So just because everyone else is also doing it, that makes it okay? Every year around Super Bowl time there's another round of cultural debate about sexist trends in beer commercials, too.

Besides, I see a major difference between video games and beer that put them in very different positions in this situation. Gaming is in the process of trying to legitimize itself as a full-fledged medium of artistic expression. But we can't seriously be making a claim for maturity and validation when we're still acting like a bunch of middle school boys. I'm pretty sure you won't find booth babes at film festivals, art shows, and book readings. We can't have it both ways. We can either admit that this hobby we've spent so much time and energy on is a silly repetitive children's toy, or we can actually try to do things better and take the medium in new directions, instead of the creative stagnation we have now where games don't have any ambitions other than to sate teenage boys' (of all ages) basest desires for violence and boobs.

Beer, on the other hand, is a mere consumer product and has no such pretensions, so for it to use these gimmicks, while still unfortunate, isn't disingenuous or counterproductive to its goals.

I've noticed that Dr. Worm says that booth babes are bad for the growing female demographic, and that might be true for a small segment of that demographic, but the reality is that most of them really don't seem to mind booth babes that much, and to outright remove them because of this is simply short-sighted.

The impression I've gotten from reading editorial pieces by female gamers and designers and other stuff on the subject (and from just talking to people, other general knowledge about gender and other social issues, etc.) is not that women "don't seem to mind" the rampant sexism in the gaming community and industry, but that their dissenting voices are being silenced. We don't really know the female perspective on all this because women are rarely willing to identify themselves as such on gaming forums and in online games (and they're certainly less willing to go to conventions, for that matter), because doing so opens them up to an endless litany of insults and sexual propositions. If you tried looking at things from their perspective, I think you'd find a gaming environment (in both the community and the industry) that is downright hostile towards women. So even when they do speak up, nobody's really listening.

Booth babes only serve to perpetuate this; they characterize women as an "other" in the gaming community, as never really playing games but only being part of the community for the sake of men's entertainment and titillation. Try to go beyond that, and the territorial males switch to ape mode. You can see examples of it all over the place.

I mean, doesn't the discrepancy between the 42% statistic and the fact that running into a "girl gamer" is still widely considered to be like finding a unicorn seem a little suspicious to you?

Let's be honest here, the majority of gamers are still male and the majority of those who go to VG conventions are male, and I would assume that most of them wouldn't mind to see some eye candy within the convention that goes in conjunction with the video games.

Again, it's a pretty slim majority, even more so once you factor in gay dudes and mature adults who enjoy boobs without obsessing over them to the point where they fail to recognize the woman attached to the boobs as a human being. You say that the majority of gamers and convention-goers are male, but that statistic is self-perpetuating. Women don't participate as much because the kind of flippant dismissal of their perspectives that you're making right now actively discourages them from participating. Is that something we should just accept? Is that really what we want gaming to be about? Exclusion and homogeneity? That's not what I want from games, and I would hope that it's not what you want either. I would hope that fostering an inclusive, diverse, and fun environment for anyone who loves gaming, not just the established majority, is more important to you than looking at boobs.

Whether it's sexist or even fair or not, the hard fact remains that sex sells, and naturally video games companies and convention owners would be amiss to use that axiom to their advantage if they so choose.

Just because something is profitable doesn't make it right. Telling 42% of your paying customers that their perspectives don't matter and they will never truly belong in your community simply isn't right.

And really in the long run it's not even a good business decision. They're losing the interest of adult women with disposable income to cater to adolescent boys who rely on their parents or minimum wage part-time jobs. But it's what they know and they're afraid of trying anything new.

Plus, an industry needs constant innovation to grow, and right now the industry is stagnating because of its continuing refusal to accept new voices.

Personally, I have no problem with sexy booth babes at all, and while I can respect those who do have a problem, instead of trying to ban them, they can either simply ignore them altogether or at a subconscious level of my mind, tell them to grow a set of balls.

I'm sorry but that's fucking selfish and childish. It's not about you, and it's not about the boys (it would hardly be accurate to call most of them men) who are already having all their whims catered to by the industry. Step outside yourself for five goddamn seconds and try to see things from the perspective of one of the people the industry doesn't care about.

You're telling women that if they're concerned about how they're being represented by the industry, then that opinion doesn't matter and they should just "grow a set of balls"; you might as well just slap a "No Girls Allowed" sign outside the convention center.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-24 01:05:46 Reply

There's no problem with booth babes, anybody who is seriously bothered by this kind of shit is just a whiny bitch.

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-24 10:01:02 Reply

At 10/24/12 12:46 AM, Dr-Worm wrote:
At 10/23/12 10:39 PM, orangebomb wrote:
That's kind of missing the point, though, isn't it? Sure, it would probably make things less degrading, but it's still a matter of treating women as objects for male entertainment.

Yeah, especially when these women know what they are getting into in the first place. It's not like they are whores just dragged out from the street. As for treating the babes as objects, well that's entirely subjective, considering that most of them love what they do, and can deal with the staring crowds.

So just because everyone else is also doing it, that makes it okay? Every year around Super Bowl time there's another round of cultural debate about sexist trends in beer commercials, too.

Once again, it all goes back to the key demographic, adult males. Of course I would be remiss if I didn't include the female population in this, but from what I've heard, most of them simply don't care about them in the first place, but are still willing to buy the product anyways.

Besides, I see a major difference between video games and beer that put them in very different positions in this situation. Gaming is in the process of trying to legitimize itself as a full-fledged medium of artistic expression. But we can't seriously be making a claim for maturity and validation when we're still acting like a bunch of middle school boys.

I'm fairly certain that gaming is considered a universal medium for expression and entertainment, with the exception of hardcore soccermoms and nutjobs, but who cares about them. Once again, it's all subjective, just because you think that booth babes are bad, doesn't mean I do.

I'm pretty sure you won't find booth babes at film festivals, art shows, and book readings. We can't have it both ways. We can either admit that this hobby we've spent so much time and energy on is a silly repetitive children's toy, or we can actually try to do things better and take the medium in new directions, instead of the creative stagnation we have now where games don't have any ambitions other than to sate teenage boys' (of all ages) basest desires for violence and boobs.

Yeah, because nothing says children's toy like models posing for whatever. As for taking it into new directions and whatever, how exactly do you make something more creative, when the concept as is already works? Games are supposed to be for entertainment first and foremost, and it's not like all games out there simply shill out boobs and blood in their games for the sake of selling them.

Booth babes only serve to perpetuate this; they characterize women as an "other" in the gaming community, as never really playing games but only being part of the community for the sake of men's entertainment and titillation. Try to go beyond that, and the territorial males switch to ape mode. You can see examples of it all over the place.

Ok, just because there are some men who go to the convention for the sake of staring at the booth babes, doesn't mean you automatically should paint a broad stroke and say that all of them go there because of that. There is an option of ignoring them altogether and simply focus on the games themselves, tough as that might sound.

Again, it's a pretty slim majority, even more so once you factor in gay dudes and mature adults who enjoy boobs without obsessing over them to the point where they fail to recognize the woman attached to the boobs as a human being.

I'm fairly sure that they know that set of boobs they see are a human being, because most of us are mature enough to know that. I never thought I would say this, but you don't give people enough faith for using their brains in their head, and not the one down below, not that it would be very much, but still. Plus, as I said, there is an option of ignoring them altogether, it's not like anyone is forcing them to see them, much like the babes are not being forced to do this.

Just because something is profitable doesn't make it right. Telling 42% of your paying customers that their perspectives don't matter and they will never truly belong in your community simply isn't right.

Tell that to Spike TV, or beer companies who employ models to go around half-naked for the sake of advertising and ratings. Right or wrong, the point I'm trying to make is that they are attracting the majority audience, who is male, and even they know that those set of boobs are a person.

And really in the long run it's not even a good business decision. They're losing the interest of adult women with disposable income to cater to adolescent boys who rely on their parents or minimum wage part-time jobs. But it's what they know and they're afraid of trying anything new.

Then what about the booth babes then? I'm sure that they are being paid extra to attend conventions and dress like that, and even have fun with it, why take that away to appeal to some group who might not have any inkling to go to a gaming convention in the first place? I don't know about you, but that's trying to have it both ways.

Plus, an industry needs constant innovation to grow, and right now the industry is stagnating because of its continuing refusal to accept new voices.

Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing, you can't say that it's stagnating.

I'm sorry but that's fucking selfish and childish. It's not about you, and it's not about the boys (it would hardly be accurate to call most of them men) who are already having all their whims catered to by the industry. Step outside yourself for five goddamn seconds and try to see things from the perspective of one of the people the industry doesn't care about.

Really? Seriously, from what I said, you must think I'm some perverted redneck who thinks games are nothing more than boobs, and to see real tits and ass for a game is icing on the cake then, I'm sorry if I happen to have a viewpoint that is with the majority of people. Come on, booth babes are harming no one, you can ignore them if you want, and simply put, you're simply generalizing the folks who go to a gaming convention just because it has tits and ass. In my book, that's no different than what you say about girl gamers not being represented, you're trying to have it both ways.

Even with that, I don't treat women as objects, but I happen to like booth babes, what of it?

You're telling women that if they're concerned about how they're being represented by the industry, then that opinion doesn't matter and they should just "grow a set of balls"; you might as well just slap a "No Girls Allowed" sign outside the convention center.

Once again, booth babes are the minority of gamers in general and are optional to stare at, and there is no reason why they should be dismissed because it happens to disillusion or even offend a small group of people, if you don't want to see them, then don't go, simple as that.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-24 11:55:50 Reply

At 10/24/12 10:01 AM, orangebomb wrote: Yeah, especially when these women know what they are getting into in the first place. It's not like they are whores just dragged out from the street. As for treating the babes as objects, well that's entirely subjective, considering that most of them love what they do, and can deal with the staring crowds.

My concern isn't so much with the wellbeing of the booth babes themselves (since you're right that they do know what they're getting themselves into and do it of their own volition), but rather with what kind of message their existence sends to the wider gaming community. I think it alienates women and perpetuates that alienation by (consciously or not) encouraging male gamers to objectify and marginalize women whenever they see them in the context of gaming (I have no inherent issue with porn or modeling or whatever; my problem with booth babes in particular is that it's negatively effecting a community/industry that isn't based around physical attractiveness or sex anyway, so there's everything to gain and almost nothing to lose in getting rid of the practice).

Once again, it all goes back to the key demographic, adult males. Of course I would be remiss if I didn't include the female population in this, but from what I've heard, most of them simply don't care about them in the first place, but are still willing to buy the product anyways.

Okay, let's assume that you're right about most women not really caring about it (though I explained in my last post why I think you're wrong about that, and most people are politically passive anyway). What about the effect all this has on men? Doesn't it concern you even a little that we're being told in our beer commercials and gaming conventions to marginalize half the population? Can't you see how being constantly inundated with these messages might subconsciously effect gender relations in a pretty negative way? You can see that kind of effect clearly resulting at least in some small part from booth babes all over the place in the gaming community and industry, in the names female gamers get called (always gendered and sexualized: "bitch," "whore," "slut," etc.), in the accusations that get leveled at them ("that reviewer was only hired because she's hot, she doesn't even really play games"), and in the way female characters are typically presented in the games themselves (which is probably the real foundation of sexist issues in gaming, and a much, much bigger issue than booth babes).

I'm fairly certain that gaming is considered a universal medium for expression and entertainment, with the exception of hardcore soccermoms and nutjobs, but who cares about them.

It's really not. Games are still consistently embattled by parents' groups and political attempts at censorship (which are perhaps spearheaded by the crazies but certainly gain the support of normal people, too), and continue to go unrecognized as a legitimate art form in the wider culture (when outside cultural critics do attempt to tackle gaming critically, they tend to be incredibly condescending and dismissive about it). And while the cultural perception of games as being exclusively for children has started to dissipate, the stigma of immaturity is still there (we see more adults playing games, but it's often depicted as a sign of immaturity).

Yeah, because nothing says children's toy like models posing for whatever.

Eh, this gets into a whole other somewhat unrelated issue that I've already ranted at length about in a bunch of other threads in the past, but essentially I see "M for Mature" and actually mature as two very different things. So-called "mature" themes like sex and violence are generally presented in pretty distinctly juvenile ways in gaming culture.

As for taking it into new directions and whatever, how exactly do you make something more creative, when the concept as is already works?

By breaking it. That's what good art does.

Games are supposed to be for entertainment first and foremost, and it's not like all games out there simply shill out boobs and blood in their games for the sake of selling them.

I think it'd be hard not to see that as the prevailing trend, though.

Ok, just because there are some men who go to the convention for the sake of staring at the booth babes, doesn't mean you automatically should paint a broad stroke and say that all of them go there because of that.

That's not at all what I'm saying. I agree with you that most people only consider the booth babes as an afterthought, but that's exactly my point. It's about the passive, subconscious message it sends to the gaming community about the role of women within it.

I never thought I would say this, but you don't give people enough faith for using their brains in their head, and not the one down below, not that it would be very much, but still.

Maybe you're right, but the things I've seen and heard in 21 years of life and 10 or so of taking part in the online gaming community don't give me much faith in that regard.

Plus, as I said, there is an option of ignoring them altogether, it's not like anyone is forcing them to see them, much like the babes are not being forced to do this.

But it's not a personal problem of individual people being actively offended or repulsed by the booth babes, it's about their overarching passive effect on the community as a whole, and what kind of message they project about us. So ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away.

Tell that to Spike TV, or beer companies who employ models to go around half-naked for the sake of advertising and ratings. Right or wrong, the point I'm trying to make is that they are attracting the majority audience, who is male,

So we should just shrug and blithely accept anything that the majority demographic goes along with? Why should we be making things that only appeal to single demographics? Why should we be intentionally making divisions between people when a more integrated approach benefits everyone? Like I said in my last post, isn't inclusiveness preferable to exclusiveness? Our culture has been centered around almost exclusively appealing to straight white Christian men for virtually all of modern Western history, shouldn't we be mixing things up a bit?

Besides, to me, the notion of masculinity espoused by Spike TV and beer commercials is reductive, unhealthy, and crass, and men have just as much incentive to fight against it as women do. And given the way you talked about me not giving men enough credit for thinking with their heads and not their dicks, I think it might concern you a little too. I'm just as susceptible to subliminal messages as anyone, maybe I'm totally wrong about my assessment of male culture and what I said earlier is really a response to the fictional representations of that culture in advertising. These ads promote negative stereotypes about both men and women.

Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing, you can't say that it's stagnating.

It's creatively stagnating, and that inevitably shows diminishing economic returns. I just want to be able to play fresh and interesting games. Lately it's been difficult for me to find mainstream retail games that meet those criteria, and I've been spending substantially less money on them. Given how wrapped up gaming culture is in nostalgia and negativity, I don't think I'm alone in this.

Really? Seriously, from what I said, you must think I'm some perverted redneck who thinks games are nothing more than boobs,

I was harsher with my language than I intended, but you are pretty brazenly dismissing 40 years of feminist thought and the cultural agency of vast swaths of people.

you're simply generalizing the folks who go to a gaming convention just because it has tits and ass.

No, people who only go to stare at tits are an extreme minority of convention-goers, but everyone is effected by the social messages being broadcast.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-24 21:48:18 Reply

I think we can officially say that this thread has descended into a pissing match.

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-24 23:13:22 Reply

At 10/24/12 09:48 PM, OwnageGiy221 wrote: I think we can officially say that this thread has descended into a pissing match.

Hardly. I think the points orangebomb is making are well thought-out and substantive, even though I don't agree with them. I'd like to think my own posts are, too. It's not like we're sitting here slinging empty insults at each other.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-24 23:55:21 Reply

At 10/24/12 11:13 PM, Dr-Worm wrote:
At 10/24/12 09:48 PM, OwnageGiy221 wrote: I think we can officially say that this thread has descended into a pissing match.
Hardly. I think the points orangebomb is making are well thought-out and substantive, even though I don't agree with them. I'd like to think my own posts are, too. It's not like we're sitting here slinging empty insults at each other.

On this, we can agree.

While I can respect some of Dr. Worm's points against booth babes, obviously I disagree with them, as it's just making a mountain out of a molehill. As for the psychology that goes with men, booth babes and so on, that's honestly way over my head, so I can't really comment on that department.

I already put in my 2 cents about it, but to reiterate, I really don't have a problem with booth babes in a gaming convention, and I would also point out that no one is forcing anyone to do anything in those conventions in the first place, so really it's no harm no foul in my book. Hell, I'm much more supportive of the idea of making them a little more modest in their dress {key word being little more} than outright getting rid of them.

I also take issue that he would paint a broad stroke towards gamers as being immature and sexist because of the games themselves and the booth babes. That's not a 100% accurate stereotype, as the average age of gamers is 37 {I honestly kind of hard to believe that} and 42% of gamers are female, and for which immaturity and sexism doesn't hold a lot of water, at least on the surface. I know it's not intentional on his part to make such a claim, but I still had to point that out.

As for creation stagnation of games, I disagree with that big time. I'll try not going too deep into this, but to say that gaming is dying because of this is purely ignorant and short sighted, especially when you look at the sales and how the mainstream media is catching on the bandwagon, which it's a double-edged sword I will admit, but I'm sure that most game companies wouldn't mind. About the only groups who have problems with gaming are the soccermoms and the extreme right-wing nutjobs out there, and most people really don't and shouldn't give a shit what they say, I certainly don't.

Simply put, I can't really find a problem with booth babes in gaming conventions, and if people don't like what the conventions have to offer or are offended by something, then don't go, simple as that.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 00:40:09 Reply

Keep the Chicks man, it only helps business. It A. gives jobs to models and B. gives guys something nice to look at while simmering in the sausage fests that are gaming conventions. Honestly, its the same as any large attraction thing, be it Anime conventions, Video Game conventions or Car Shows, if the primary consumer of the product is Male, the obvious thing to do is get those guys attracted to their products. This is a business, and if you've ever taken an economics class, you know that the only thing that matters is cash and how to make it. If big tits drives people to their shows, then fuck it, let there be tits. Its an industry fellas, it will be treated as such.

Like they say, You'll attract more flies with Honey than Vinegar.

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 01:27:53 Reply

At 10/23/12 09:14 PM, Dr-Worm wrote: According to the most recent data, the age of the average gamer is 37 and roughly 42% of gamers are women. The fact that the industry is still pitched almost entirely towards the fantasies of adolescent males, then, is absolutely ridiculous and disgraceful. Juvenile shit like booth babes shamelessly indulges the worst aspects of gaming culture, and only serves to reinforce the mainstream perception of video games as loud, crass, thoughtless entertainment for children.

Does your poll distinguish between men and women, their ages, and the types of games they play? I think you'll probably find that your 30-40 year old female gaming population is generally playing casual iPad games, whereas your 18-30 male demographic is playing Triple A shooters and RPGs on console platforms and PC - games that are traditionally advertised at Entertainment Expos, the population of which is generally attended by males ages 18-30.

There are exceptions, obviously: just last week, I was talking to a girl who was really into Oblivion and Skyrim. (Although I said she should play Morrowind :P )

There is nothing sexist about dressing up models in skimpy outfits to mill about . They're getting paid for their work, are they not? And is not the purpose of their work as a model primarily about showing off their model-esque looks and bodies?

So, then, how do you arrive at the conclusion that it's sexist? Sexism - and racism - are terms so commonly thrown about that we as a society have forgotten their actual definitions: deliberate calculations and measures taken to ensure that someone is not permitted the same opportunities to advance their socioeconomic status simply based on their gender (sexism) or their heritage (racism).

No, booth babes aren't sexist. They're a form of advertising targeted at the game developers' primary demographic(s). The reason Bejewled and FarmVille don't use sex to sell their respective products is primarily because their target demographic is different.

If we look at the definition of sexism, where opportunities are denied based on gender, then we can conclude that Victoria's Secret is actually more sexist than the entire video game industry based on the simple fact that Victoria's Secret will never hire a male model.

But, you see, that makes sense. A majority (that is, 99.999%) of Victoria's Secret's demographic are females. If they advertised to the smaller demographic - the 0.0001% of men who buy stuff, for whatever reason, from their store - then it's simply wasted money. If Call of Duty and MachoMegaDestructoManWithAGun shifted their advertising toward females - say, by hiring "booth gigolos" - then they would be targeting a much smaller portion of their player base. Which, again, is basically wasted money.

Of course, booth babes are only a symptom of this larger problem, and getting rid of them alone won't solve it for good. But removing that kind of blatant sexism from how gaming presents itself could go a long way towards making the industry a less hostile place for women. And that would help lead to the real solution to the problem: more female game designers. Really, more diversity in general within the industry would cure a lot of its ills, taking the focus away from (let's face it, white) adolescent male power fantasy and into a greater and more nuanced plurality of perspectives from all kinds of different groups.

So, basically, because video games aren't "diverse" enough, it automatically makes them sexist, racist, and homophobic? Does that make my family racist, sexist, and homophobic, too, because everyone in my family is straight and white?

Okay, but the whole point of the argument is that video game culture needs to change. As for bigger crowds, I think the loss of slobbering knuckle-dragging douchebags who show up for the tits would be counterbalanced by the influx of female gamers who no longer find the environment so threatening. Everybody wins.

I don't think booth babes are the problem here. I think its the anonymity of the internet. When a girl shows up in a lobby, and everyone starts making kitchen jokes, or asking "how hot are you?," that's a problem with people, NOT a problem with video games.

And to suggest that any loss would be made up for in female gamers, well, how many girls do you think are really legitimately interested in Generic War Shooter Sequel #8,721?

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 03:29:19 Reply

At 10/23/12 07:26 PM, simon wrote: The fuck? What's the reason behind this? They'll lose a lot of people to an already small crowd of gamers going to these conventions. Booth babes all the way!

Eurogamer expo banned booth babes because booth babes from the virgin booth had QR codes on their butts.
So people where going around and taking pictures of their butts.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 03:36:35 Reply

At 10/24/12 11:55 PM, orangebomb wrote: While I can respect some of Dr. Worm's points against booth babes, obviously I disagree with them, as it's just making a mountain out of a molehill.

I guess I haven't been very clear about this, but I don't actually think booth babes are a particularly big issue. They're one small symptom of a much larger problem, but nobody ever makes threads about it so I figure this is the best opportunity to talk about these things. Really I'm just using booth babes as a lens to talk about wider issues of sexism in the gaming industry and community.

I also take issue that he would paint a broad stroke towards gamers as being immature and sexist because of the games themselves and the booth babes.

I was never trying to make broad generalizations about the community as a whole. The community as a whole isn't like that. That's just the very worst side of the community, but it's a vocal group, and for reasons that confuse and frustrate me it's the group that the industry continues to pander to.

At 10/25/12 01:27 AM, RampantMusik wrote: Does your poll distinguish between men and women, their ages, and the types of games they play?.

I figured this argument might come up. I'm not sure of the exact methodology because I've only seen these statistics cited secondhand in other articles, but I would have to assume that people who identify themselves as "gamers" and who would take the time to fill out a survey about it are generally not going to be people who only play Angry Birds. My best guess is that the statistic is at least partially informed by what you're suggesting here, but not nearly to the extent you might think. 42% seems like an awfully big number, but like I said in an earlier post, I think the discrepancy goes to show how often female voices are (both actively and passively) silenced in the hardcore gaming community.

deliberate calculations and measures taken to ensure that someone is not permitted the same opportunities to advance their socioeconomic status simply based on their gender (sexism) or their heritage (racism).

That's only half the definition of sexism. Merriam-Webster defines it as "behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex" in addition to outright discrimination. But obviously these two things inform each other. Women are plainly, practically inarguably marginalized in gamer culture, and my argument is that booth babes perpetuate that marginalization by creating an environment where, intentionally or not, a woman's only role in the context of gaming is as a sexual object, never as an active participant.

If we look at the definition of sexism, where opportunities are denied based on gender, then we can conclude that Victoria's Secret is actually more sexist than the entire video game industry based on the simple fact that Victoria's Secret will never hire a male model.

This entire analogy is ridiculous. A video game is not an inherently gendered product the way a bra is, and the fact that you seem to think it is kind of proves my point. That a majority of gamers are male is the result of various social constructs, not natural law.

So, basically, because video games aren't "diverse" enough, it automatically makes them sexist, racist, and homophobic?

No, not automatically, but when developers try to push depictions that are sexist, racist, and homophobic (which they do quite often, whether it's on purpose or not; frankly part of the problem is that story is largely considered an afterthought in the development process and most of the writers in the industry simply aren't very talented), the lack of diversity makes it so that there's nobody to push back against it. And over time, continuing unchecked, that's developed into a culture who's tone is dominated by juvenile notions of masculinity.

I don't think booth babes are the problem here. I think its the anonymity of the internet. When a girl shows up in a lobby, and everyone starts making kitchen jokes, or asking "how hot are you?," that's a problem with people, NOT a problem with video games.

There's a huge amount of demographic overlap between the Internet community and the gaming community. It's the same people causing the same problems. But anyway, yeah, obviously it's the anonymity that makes assholes bold enough to actually say these things, but why do they feel the need to say them in the first place? The relationship between individuals and culture isn't one-way, the two constantly inform each other.

The industry plays a much larger role in directing gaming's self-representation than any individual, and it's in a unique position to effectively discourage this kind of behavior, but they do nothing at best and actively reinforce it at worst.

And to suggest that any loss would be made up for in female gamers, well, how many girls do you think are really legitimately interested in Generic War Shooter Sequel #8,721?

Well ideally the industry would gradually stop making so many Generic War Shooter Sequels and start doing new and different things to accomodate the new perspectives. That's why I see increasing diversity as a win-win for everyone in the long run.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 04:28:20 Reply

those bastards booth babes are a vital component of the gaming conventions.

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 04:35:34 Reply

its just feminists being butthurt. its just models advertising products to the consumers.

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 05:41:33 Reply

At 10/25/12 03:29 AM, LiquidFire wrote: Eurogamer expo banned booth babes because booth babes from the virgin booth had QR codes on their butts.
So people where going around and taking pictures of their butts.

That's genius!


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 06:09:44 Reply

At 10/25/12 05:41 AM, simon wrote:
At 10/25/12 03:29 AM, LiquidFire wrote: Eurogamer expo banned booth babes because booth babes from the virgin booth had QR codes on their butts.
So people where going around and taking pictures of their butts.
That's genius!

great marketing campaign though you have to be honest.

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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 06:25:34 Reply

The concept of booth babes is retarded. Is your game that bad that you have to put half-naked women in front of it?


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 11:30:18 Reply

Being close to naked would be a good way to attract attention, however I would much rather conduct a discussion and ask questions to people who are wearing a decent amount of clothing.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 13:52:47 Reply

At 10/25/12 04:28 AM, Tony-DarkGrave wrote: those bastards booth babes are a vital component of the gaming conventions.

Vital? I've not been to a gaming convention before and would like to someday but booth babes would not even be on my mind when there's bigger things to consider. Not that I think they should be banned anywhere but it's one of those things that's just there so either way, there'd be no differences to me whether they'd be there or not.


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Response to The Booth Babe Debate! 2012-10-25 14:17:40 Reply

I bet they can't even recite the cheat to lower your wanted level on Vice City. Hell, I bet they haven't even played Vice City. They have no place at gaming expos!


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