There seems to be a strange trend on the rise, especially when conventions and expos are in town, and this trend is slightly worrying given the nature of peoples mind sets. The term ‘Booth babe’ has been thrown around the pillars of the video game community for quite some time now and it can be seen as a little juvenile, but that isn’t the issue I’m talking about at this current moment.
The issue I’m talking about is some peoples inability to understand that these ‘Booth Babes’ are just people doing their job. They are simply making a living in the field they have chosen, just like most people dream of doing. They are someone’s friend, someone’s daughter/son (oh yes male models exist people). So why do some people within the video game community feel the need to treat them in such a harsh manner?
During this years Eurogamer Expo I witnessed a number of tweets by people that were simply spewing nasty and derogatory comments. At times it came off as people just having a ‘bitch’ about someone purely because of their job. Is this right? Of course it’s not…yet for some reason it seems fine. The people who posted these tweets were all staff on various video game sites, and in some cases PR for big name publishers.
It’s simply unacceptable to judge people based on their looks and job. The way these people talked about the ‘Booth Babes’ was similar to how you’d expect bullies to talk about their victims in the high school playground. One of the people in question classes themselves as a feminist and sees the concept of ‘Booth Babes’ as wrong. This confused me for a number of reasons.
Who was she to say it was wrong for this professional model to take up a job and earn a living in her field? Surely this goes against a feminist view? Another gripe I had with this particular person was the fact they refused to express themselves to the company employing the models. Surely if this person felt so enraged and so against what the models were wearing she would contact the company in question, but no, no she did not. Instead she spouted nasty tweets which devalued people simply doing their job.
One of the problems people seem to have, is it they expect promotional models to know about the games. This always struck me as odd when you consider no one, neither model nor company employing them, ever claims the models know about the game. They are paid to promote the game by walking around expo halls giving out promotional goods. It’s not a hard concept to understand surely? Well apparently it is.
I mainly bring this up after being shown a article produced after Eurogamer Expo 2012. The article complained about the lack of knowledge the ‘Booth Babes’ had on the games they were promoting. The way in which it was worded came off as both judgmental and oozing of snobbery. ”Put some clothes on, do your homework and know why you are there. ” that line shows such a poor and disrespectful attitude to these girls just doing their job.
Since when did it become acceptable to make people feel not welcome when they turn up for work? Since when did it become ok to judge people based purely on their job?. Arguments of sexism and how ‘Booth Babes’ are used are irrelevant if people can not even respect the fact someone is doing their job. It’s simply unacceptable for people, especially in the industry, to have such a disrespectful outlook on people because of how they earn their money.
If people truly take issue with ‘Booth Babes’ then talk to the companies who employ them. Talk about how you find the skimpy clothes inappropriate, talk to them about how you dislike where they placed QR codes on the model’s clothing, that will bring change, even if it affects potential sponsors of your site/event.
Change does not happen by looking down at people purely because of their job. Promotional models are people too, don’t treat them like they aren’t.