[info_box]I have updated the article’s title via a suggestion by @GeekyLyndsay of DragonChow Dice Bags who pointed out it’s really the culture surrounding booth babes, and not the girls themselves that I’m so upset with. Thanks Lyndsay![/info_box]
You’re Doing It Wrong
With all this E3 coverage lately it’s been hard to not want to blog about video games on my D&D blog here, and believe me I’ve got a draft ready to hash out all my complete thoughts on this years announcements for later posting but I’ll have that published on my personal blog. Anyway there is something I want to discuss that all gaming genre’s seem to have in common. Something I don’t quite understand. Something I find vacant and superfluous at best. That something, is the idea of “Booth Babes”.
Booth babes offend me, and most anyone who knows me on a personal level are aware that I’m not an easily offended person. I might get worked up and/or angry about a lot of things, but being truly ‘offended’ takes something special. It seems there aren’t many convention halls these days that don’t harbor “Booth Babes” or other scantily clad ilk.
As a heterosexual male, of course I find some of them pleasing to the eye. As a gamer, I find the idea downright appalling. Keep in mind it’s not the girls doing the ‘babing’ either, it’s the companies who hire them who want to seemingly forever uphold terrible gamer stereotypes that’s so appalling.
This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Game companies (and the rest of the world) are aware that sex sells and I’m not arguing that, but I think it only goes so far for some people. In my case it doesn’t go very far at all. Sure they can hire a pretty face and dress them up in some ridiculous outfit and have them prance around faux flirting with all the folks that want to take pictures next to them and maybe attempt to cop a cheap feel – but do these girls actually know anything about the product they are selling? Often not, which makes it all the more embarrassing for those hiring them and unfortunately a bit embarrassing for the girls too.
When I approach a booth that has a product I’m interested in buying, I want convincing that what I’m about to spend my hard-earned dollars on is so awesome that my life would be somehow less fulfilling without owning it. Getting some pop tart in a vinyl suit to make googly eyes at me is not gonna’ be a convincing factor, in fact it’s definitely going to turn me away. I’d rather be spoken to by a peg legged, hunch back, bug-eyed troll with a colostomy bag who’s really passionate about the game/product they are trying to sell than even be subject to a single second of the assumption that I’m just a horny 15-year-old boy inside a mans body.
Exceptions Make Great Examples
I’m aware I’m generalizing and perhaps even stereotyping here but, stereotypes unfortunately do exist for a reason. I’m also completely aware there are exceptions. There are consciousness companies whose booth babes are genuinely interested and passionate about what it is they’re selling. Ones who are gamers themselves and are doing the ‘booth-babing’ out of pure dedication to their product, and that’s awesome! There are those who I’m sure would rather be in a T-shirt and jeans casually talking to passers-by about their product instead of being objectified like a over sexed anime character.
Even booth babes who serve double purpose so sell their own wares in the case of GMSarli’s booth babe who’s acting as a model for her own custom costumes. Sadly, I just don’t think any of these examples are commonplace. There’s really a lot to be said about genuinely passionate people, who really love what they’re doing and are really believing in the things they are creating. I think that goes a lot further than a pretty face and a blank smile.
My wife, who is as awesome as she is beautiful is really my idea of the absolute apex of gaming ladies the world over. Gorgeous, smart, funny, passionate, assertive and genuinely loves gaming to her core. However the idea of “gamer ladies” is becoming something of a disparity is it not? Should I really have had to append “lady” to that statement?
Statistics show that more women than ever are gaming, and perhaps those figures could go up even further if women saw other…I dunno, fully clothed women standing around booths during gaming conventions. Women who were relatable and actually passionate about the same things they are? Common ground is a good thing to have when trying to win over customers.
Slowly but surely the idea that every woman in games and media needs saving from some vague ‘damsel in distress’ scenario is fading and that’s a great thing. Maybe it’s time the gaming industry adapt to this changing arena and welcome female gamers into their midst. Hell I dunno, maybe even try and attract them as potential customers? The target demographic of ‘straight white male’ is shrinking and will continue to do so, isn’t it about time some of these companies put a few points into dexterity and start to flex towards being a little more cautious about how they present themselves? Stop selling us rubbish and start selling us some relatability.
[info_box] Damsel Art: Jared Von Hindman of Head Injury Theatre[/info_box]