It appears that the E3 booth babe saga and that possible rape scene that isn’t in Tomb Raider just isn’t going away. Today alone I’ve seen yet another 4 articles on those topics and now this is number 5.
We’ve already posted up an article on the booth babe issue thanks to Noelle from her point of view which was well received and both sides had their say in the comments but I’ve just got a little axe to grind and so I’m going to quickly cover my feelings on this matter.
Sexy females aren’t ruining our industry and there is no greater issue with sexism in gaming than any other industry at the moment. I’m not saying that sexism – or to use the more popular misogyny label – doesn’t exist; there are people out there who don’t feel that women should be in gaming or that women are not equal to men but that’s got nothing at all to do with gaming.
It’s got to do with people being morons plain and simple. It’s now 2012 and we have a black president, America has a black president and there are more women in government than ever before and yet racism and sexism is still common place. Mainly because human stupidity is incredibly resilient.
People will jump on the bandwagon of stating that Zuma is perpetuating the sexist cycle with his many wives and extra-marital activities and yet he has personally promoted many women into positions of power in government. You can’t selectively pick which side you want to look at to prove your point.
And to move this back to gaming, you can’t sit there and say that booth babes are perpetuating a society of sexism and making women feel ostracised from the gaming industry when the industry welcomes more and more women into the fold every day. Yes it’s still a male dominated industry but there are many women in positions of power and influence in the industry. The industry is far from anti-female and while the morons on Xbox Live or PSN may keep telling you to get back into the kitchen they also keep telling me I’m a homo and my mom loves it doggy style.
The dregs of society will always crop up where they can be relatively anonymous and physically safe and as such the online gaming lobbies are never going to show a true reflection of the industry or society in general.
Booth babes are not simply a gaming industry oddity; you will find them at any car show, tech show, fashion show – in fact any exhibition of any great standing is more than likely going to contain models of both genders. Not to mention at sporting events, where they are called cheerleaders, or at shopping centres where they are.. I have no idea what those annoying people are actually called.
Do I think booth babes should be banned? Hell no, you can’t go around trying to force your moral opinions on everyone just because you’ve got an itch to scratch about it. You’re more than welcome to dislike them and to voice it but you don’t have the right to impose restrictions on it simply because it doesn’t sit right with you.
Hell if that was the case I’d ban every copy of Men’s Health from the shops as I don’t enjoy being reminded of my mediocrity every time I walk into the shop; it’s not natural to look that good and it perpetuates the idea that every man needs to be the hero who can stop a two ton truck with his bare hands while romancing a lady with poetry just before running off to dedicate his life to the betterment of others.
Do I think booth babes add value to gaming expos? No, I pretty much see them as mobile billboards trying to draw attention to their booth. I couldn’t personally care if they were there or not but I do care about them not being forced out of the industry.
And before I finish my rant, the gaming population is quite evenly split between males and females and many studies have shown this. However the hard core market, the people who play Call of Duty, FIFA, Skyrim and the rest of the AAA titles that E3 is dedicated to is not. It is predominantly male and that is why you will see more booth babes than booth hunks.
As this changes you will see the marketing change to reflect that but to enforce the ideology that the gaming market at E3 is 50/50 is just pandering to a vocal minority.
The gaming industry is a massive beast and I like to compare it to the motor industry; easily 50% of vehicle drivers/owners are female and yet marketing your new Porsche GT3 to both males and females is pretty stupid while targeting the Range Rover Evoque to males isn’t going to work out that well either. Apologies to all male Range Rover Evoque drivers.
I’m sorry if you feel offended by booth babes but that’s your problem that you need to deal with yourself. Booth babes aren’t holding your gender back from entering the gaming industry nor are they perpetuating the idea of women being sex objects any more so than anything else in this society that is powered by sexual attraction.
Banning booth babes is about as effective at combatting sexism and misogyny as muting the other players in the lobby – it’s just hiding from a problem not fixing it.[No images from gaming events have been included in this post]
Last Updated: June 19, 2012