Jimquisition: Booth Babes

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Playful Pony:

I see what you mean, and I submit! I tend to feel that a lot of gamers and gaming media seem terrified of not being seen of as grown-up, serious upstanding members of humanity. Why this is I don't know, even some of the more dispicable parts of gaming are easily comparable and often surpased by other forms of entertainment out there.

On the front of gaming magazines one usually sees games. Car magazines (as far as I can see passing by them in the stores) are pretty much king when it comes to sticking barely clothed women infront of the cars they claim to be interested in.

Do I care that they do this with cars? Not really. I don't see the problem with annoyingly sexy girls (why aren't I as sexy damnit?!) sharing their beauty with the world when men are so obviously willing to pay good money for it. Then it is a bit sad that these women are often not taken seriously or even given any identity of their own beyond being a "hot piece of ass".

Confusing subject X3.

Thinking about it further (it was 1AM when I watched the video), I have a feeling it's more a demographical question: i.e., everyone plays games, but the people who do custom car jobs and go to car shows are men and Michelle Rodriguez

Regarding the fact that it would eliminate jobs, do booth babes really take up that many jobs? I mean, there are a lot of conventions that happen these days, but when they happen they only last a few days at most and they are so scattered even HUGE cities only see them a few times a year at most. I'm not exactly sure what sort of companies contract these women out, but I'm fairly certain they aren't completely reliant upon conventions for a significant amount of their income. They just can't be--conventions are only for a few days. At most the cons probably give them a boost in sales. But otherwise if the convention lasts for 4 days, that still leaves 360 days they've got to keep the business running until the next convention.

Though Jim does bring up a fair point, but I think it is really a part of the issue. Yes, booth babes are autonomous human beings, and regardless of their purpose they should never be dehumanized to the point of degradation. However, unless something shady is going on, as Jim himself said that's their job. They signed on to be stared at by nerds who probably don't get to see women like that very often. That they're there isn't their fault, as well as the discomfort they cause. And because of that, their feelings on being there has little to do with whether or not they should be there. Yes, that is a bit dehumanizing, and as a female myself I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it. But while dehumanization in any form is bad, they aren't really the crux of the issue.

I mean, if this were anything else involved with conventions, we wouldn't be having this discussion. If the problem were, say, latex balloons being used at conventions and making problems for people who have latex allergies, and all conventions switched to using non-latex balloons, we would not be worrying about the loss of business for the makers of latex. But because the product in this case is autonomous human beings, suddenly we're worried about that loss of business.

Again, dehumanization is bad and is sort of the cause of this in many ways (it's not like their role at the convention has any humanizing qualities), but in some situations it's sort of necessary to fully comprehend a situation and make a fully- informed decision.

The reason I'm against Booth Babes isn't because I think it is sexist (it isn't) and it isn't because I find it uncomfortable to be around them, it's simply because it's immature and demeans gaming as a hobby.

It's immature and demeans gaming as a hobby.

Just about as much as cheerleaders do for the dignity of their respective sports.

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.

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 noticed that too, what's up with that Jim?

OT: Booth Babes are COMPLETELY unnecessary in video game expos and they're far more likely to drive people away in this day and age than they are to get people interested in a game. The whole "but getting rid of Booth Babes would put women out of work" argument is a load of crap, sex appeal is a endless job market, women like those booth babes would have no trouble finding work somewhere else.

I said this in the past, most of the booth babes at E3 work or trying to work as Models and Actresses/Actors(There are some guys at these events.) Video Games are far from the only industry that employs booth babes at large conferences at the LA convention center. For most of them it is regular side work. These are people who want to be known for their physical beauty and get these jobs through their talent agency. From what I've been told, E3 not the best conference to work at as a booth babe, but not the most degrading.

Although this is far from being the opinion of every booth babe, from those I have talked to seems to be a fair assessment in my opinion.

So, here's my thought (I apologise if it's been brought up already, I read through three pages and nobody had mentioned it in quite these terms or quoted it from somebody else). Lots of people have said that maybe cosplayers would be a better idea, hire models with some knowledge about the subject. MY issue with that (which is, I admit, a purely personal one) is that whenever stuff like this happens and people are involved in it for a job, I can't help ascribing to them a certain level of dislike for being forced by contract to pretend to be enthusiastic about it.

The answer? Hire fans. Hold applications or something when you want to start a booth so that gamers themselves can apply for one day of promotion. In return, give them a days' wages and free tickets to the whole thing, as well as costumes of the character they'll be promoting (whether male or female). That way, you get people there who actually want to be there, falling within the bounds of cosplaying and actually KNOWING about and being truly INTERESTED in the feild, some game fans get free tickets and some pay for the day, a mix of men and women (depending on characters, as I said) and everybody's happy. The professional models would lose their jobs, but as people have said it's not more than a few days work in fairly large time gaps, they can't be losing THAT much (I hope).

Personally, I've never attended a gamecon coz I'm too poor, but I reckon I could totally rock a Corvo Attano outfit, and for the chance to attend a con and earn a bit of money on the side, I would so damn there.

Just my two cents

What the cartoon at 4:19? It just gave me a major flashback as a child but I cant for the love of Christ remember the name of it.

Booth babes are really a nasty issue that surrounds most gaming conventions, and while I used to be fairly anti-booth babe since it kinda represents the industry in a negative light, I do have to admit that blasting them as such does kind of do the people that do the job injustice, and taking out the practice basically puts a bunch of people out of a job. While I should be saying that they should try and find some other kind of modelling career... the economy's tough, and you have to make do with what you get.

Though yeah, I do have to agree that this argument might have been improved if we had some actual booth babe commentary. Maybe some journalists should get off their ass and interview them like *gasp* actual people.

I had always thought the issue which people who want to end or at the very least decrease the amount of booth babes had was that they thought it made the gaming industry immature. Using sexiness pointlessly in games is looked down upon and I believe that it should be.

Is it wrong to have attractive male and female characters in video games? Of course not. Is the fact that the majority of female teenage and adult characters in video games these days have supermodel/pornstar level body types a problem with the industry? I certainly think so. This is purely my opinion, but I think that the gaming industry is saturated with the idea of "sex sells"; I find it immature and I think that "booth babes" are an extension of this problem.

No hate for booth babes, more power to cosplayers of any costume, and hope for good things on the horizon.

Tricky subject.

I'm opposed to booth girls because in general. These are women that for the most part have taken a generic modelling contract from an agency and have turned up for a week of wearing skimpy outfits to attract male attention. They distract from the games themselves and add little to nothing to the information that Exhibitions are supposed to convey.

I do though value cos-players including paid cos-players such a Jessica Nigri.

The problem is how you distinguish between the two situations. Does every event need to have some, probably quite prudish, arbitrator of what is appropriate? I thought that Gabe's treatment of Nigri at PAX was heavy-handed, even for a family event. But then it is his event and he makes the rules (And apparently change them at a whim.

I am also a monster.

2-2:40, nicely done Jim.


It's immature and demeans gaming as a hobby.

Just about as much as cheerleaders do for the dignity of their respective sports.

Wise wolf!

"Hell, I'm a white man at a gaming convention. It doesn't get more comfortable than that".

Quote of the day right there lol

That was Jessica Nigry not Juliet Starling....
Unless she goes by two names.

With you on this one. The fact that booth organisers feel compelled to do this makes me feel dirty, but if some women want to do this I don't think we should be stopping them.

Not gonna lie, I was half-expecting you to suggest people cosplaying as you at the end because your undeniable charm attracts anyone of any sexuality.

First half pretty much neatly summarizes my feelings. My opinion of a convention goes down as a function of how many booth babes are there.

As someone who works with gaming, I can understand the fear mentioned in the RE6 video about how consumers' brains will be distracted for even six hundreths of a second if you don't present them with a cornupcopia of everything they want, but at the same time, can I get at least a little credit for not being a perverted troll with magpie tendencies?

I feel kind of like the disgruntled television watcher. The two things studios know will sell are sex and violence, because they always herald great change, and change is how a story happens. Shows that are JUST sex or violence or both tend to be viewed as the very worst kind of pandering. I feel like that's what happened here -- someone in the industry figured out however long ago that convention goers can and do notice booth babes as an attraction besides the actual product, and that we, the viewing public, might make a decision about which booth to go to based on quantity/quality of the sexy ladies there. So in order to have a successful booth, babes are necessary, regardless of the quality of the product.

My favorite TV show has very little sex or violence, and neither is gratuitous when it does arrive. I kinda feel like my opinions on booths would be the same.

Booth Babes really what people decide to complain about is getting ridiculous, is there really any different than a Booth Babe at E3 and the girls at a Car Show or the UFC girl's that hold up the ROUND signs?

No there isn't in fact those girls are actually less dressed and it's not like they're giving lap dances. If you're going to shut down E3 Booth Babes, than to be fair you have to shut down Boxing and UFC girls, Car show girls really anything with a girl standing next to it.

In fact lets follow this to its logical conclusion and just do what they do in the middle east and make all women cover from head to toe even in the dead of heat because they might cause impure thoughts.......

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

Great video. Both sides were explained quite well. When I saw the story on here about the Eurogamer Expo shenanigans a couple weeks ago, I found myself on the side that thinks getting rid of the booth babes is rather extreme.

I admit as well that I'd of course look at booth babes if I passed by them. I would find it rather odd if a straight guy like me said anything other than that. Looking at them though is far from the reason I say that we shouldn't get rid of them outright. I argued in the area of your point that they are people, not random things/aliens dancing about, and that they are working a job to make money for whatever reason.

It would be like if I found fast food workers morally offensive and said "well there could be other ways that I could get my order given to me and I impart my money for the goods. Why don't we get rid of the workers and do those things because they are cooler and don't make me feel annoyed/uncomfortable?" The problem is that as much as a problem I have with fast food workers, they are just that, workers, people with jobs that need them to make money.

Booth babes are workers too. You looked at the remove them and keep them sides, but I think there is one more side to be looked at....the worker side.

I think before expo's, cons, and whatever start doing away with booth babes, I think some kind of study should be done on how it would actually effect the people that do such jobs.

What would these girls be doing if they weren't jumping around for the game companies? Are they people with other skills? Could they be in some other line of work? Is there even any other kind of work out there for them? If so, what kind of work would that be?

It could be that some of them are doing it to make extra money until they can find the job they really want to do. Maybe some like the whole booth babe thing; they like games and like getting dressed up to show off the games for the companies that hire them.

Who knows, working as a booth babe seems like it would be a nice clean and cushy gig, for girls that really don't have any other skills and only know that they have a body that they can use. What would they be doing if they couldn't get the nice clean booth babe gig? They could end up working at some sleazy strip club or maybe doing some questionable video and photography gigs for the internet.

So, if we are going to even consider what we are going to do about this situation, I say we should ask the people that are at the heart of this matter and would truly be effected by the outcome.

What would the booth babes say?

I'd rather have people who actually know what is going on than pretty faces that are there for the sake of being a pretty face.

One of my friends is a model for car shows, and she doesn't know a thing about maintaining a car, but hey, she's pretty and she has a job, though she wished she was doing something else. She isn't there for her advice, she's there for people to take pictures with her.

The thing about her gigs is that they are pretty infrequent but they pay a lot. It is just a compromise that girls have to do. She makes in 2 days what many people our age make in a month (think minimum wage, 25-30 hours a week. So still not a lot). Problem is, she only gets calls like every other month because sometimes there just isn't a gig and she'll only have those 2 days in that month. Model at a Car Show isn't exactly something she can put on most resumes.

I personally think there is work every month, but the modeling agencies rotate the girls so they stay desperate. She thinks I'm right.


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?

I'm fairly sure you supported my point by saying that the job itself is inherently negative.

If they were dressed to express violence or some other approved medium it would be acceptable, sexuality itself is stigmatized and it is that stigma that creates the atmosphere you speak of.

In all countries sexuality has a stigma be it religious or militaristic, it is as old as humanity but so are most of our failings.

In general if someone is treating others like shit they should have their balls stomped in, there is no justification and I don't think that 'booth babes' incite that kind of response, it is an underlying societal failure related to sexuality (among other issues).

Edit: We continually try to hide problems instead of actually addressing them, I find that unfortunate.

Double Edit: It's late, so I may have missed my point somewhere. But basically the problem isn't the women, it is people thinking the women are a problem or anyone that is making them a problem. Those folks are the instigators and the folks that should be addressed, and no I don't go to expos nor do I check out booth babes online so this isn't me trying to save the boobies or whatever.

This is me trying to point out that hiding women just so we don't have to address stigmas towards their sexuality (and sexuality in general) is pretty dark age bullshit.

compared to past videos, this seems like a really really minor issue, but ya, they need something more interesting than a set of tits and short skirts at booths

I agree, gaming conventions would be basically the same without them, but the issues I'd take would be with the ideas:
A) The job the woman is paid for is negative or sexist.
B) Other women being "uncomfortable" around them is a valid reason to end the practice.

I think both points are rooted in the idea that an attractive woman making a job out of her physical beauty is a "bad thing". However, the people who complain about both don't consider women in the fashion and magazine industries as negative or sexist. What is different? In the case of booth babes, those women are ment to get men's attention and be appealing as a way to get people over to the game booth. A woman paid to look good in a magazine selling hair or makeup products is ok, but paid to look good on the floor of a game convention is "bad". I think there's a bit of a double-standard for them there.

As for B, well... let's put it this way; if any guy said they felt uncomfortable because they weren't as attractive when around some buff dude dressed as Kratos in his barely dressed state of battle outside a game booth, they would be told to stop being a pussy and deal with it.

I personally don't care one way or another, but I think people are giving the wrong reasons to stop using them


It's immature and demeans gaming as a hobby.

Just about as much as cheerleaders do for the dignity of their respective sports.


If only we could talk to booth-babes and knew their opinion on this issue
Oh, wait, they are people too and they can speak.
So why not to ask them? You know, wew fell known names, few barely known ones and few fresh ones.
I know it would complicated for her further booth-babe carrier if she would start bashing being booth-babe, so interview should stay anonymous.
Ask them how they feel about booth-babe concept, what are their thoughts about this issue, etc.
It can't be that hard.

How about not have booth babes, but have members of the public dressing up in costumes provided by those publishers of games (of characters in those games - which is particularly easy for the mountain of sequel games out there) that are just coming out. People who don't just come from the top 1% or so of women in terms of "beauty" (which is at least partially subjective anyway), but who represent a broader cross section of appearance and are more defined by their enthusiasm for the genre? There's plenty of people willing to dress up as established anime and game characters out there. And there's employment for the dressmakers etc.

You can have competitions where the prize is to basically have the character costume and makeup 'makeover' and the standards for winning are to act (in front of one or more judges) in a way that best exemplifies the character being depicted or shows off your acting ability coupled with your enthusiasm..

I was at First Look 2012 a while ago and there were booth babes there, they made me uncomfortable. We should remove those, but that doesn't mean "remove all models". There was also a guy in a realistic Master Chief suit and another guy as Ezio Auditore. By assuming all models at expo have to be female and scantily clothed is another form of exclusion, we can have male models too. Somebody suited up as Ezio makes me a hundred times more interested than the winged booth babes Capcom had wandering around.

Have them cosplay as characters. Both men and women. I wouldn't complain if I saw a Gordon Freeman promoting HL3. I would feel uncomfortable if it was a female Gordon in an HEV bikini.

The beard would just creep me out.

I don't care about booth babes one way or the other. But their presence is a blatant admission that the companies are primarily seeking an audience of heterosexual men and boys*, which makes me a lot less interested in their products. Which is, of course, their prerogative, but it's dumb from both a marketing and artistic standpoint, considering that gaming as a medium has the potential to attract just about any demographic other than "Amish."

*and also that they think said men and boys are kind of dumb

There's another side to the people who feel uncomfortable about beautiful women.
They don't know how to approach them or treat them like normal people.

You don't have to try and ask them for a date; you should just try talk to them and be nice. That's it.

Being a person with a bit of a selfesteem issue, I can absolutely relate to the people who feel awkward around beautiful women, but look at it as a challenge, not a problem.

Yeah, that's just what the world of gaming needs, less attractive women, more overweight losers with BO problems and no shame.

Seriously, gaming conventions will not be the same without booth babes, because without them we have yet another sausage fest. So fricken what if some people get nervous, so what if some gamer girls are threatened.

Frankly, I don't see how Jessica Nigri's lolly-pop jumpsuit can be taken as anything other than a good thing, an awesome thing - she looks amazing in it and has the perfect personality for these things. She started out doing cosplay, not being paid to dress like that, but actually choosing to dress like that for conventions etc - just like hundreds of other women who attend conventions. Why are anime, and comic books, and all types of transport conventions allowed to have booth babes, yet gaming conventions are so full of socially awkward neckbeards that the mere sight of flesh makes them uncomfortable?

Shouldn't gamers get the fuck over their own problems instead of levelling the playing field, like some sort of inverted master race. Don't show the pretty people, because the people who buy our products get a bit awkward around them.

Does anyone really think that getting rid of booth babes will improve the image of gamers?

Attractive women don't embarass me, the image of gamers does. All that will happen if they banned booth babes, is that they'd have to ban similar outfits for attendee's, no more cosplay hotties making the convention worthwhile, ohh no - but at least we'll still have hardcore-gamer chicks right? pffft!
If I wanted to see MeatLoaf with tits, I'd watch Fight Club.

I say old chap:


It's immature and demeans gaming as a hobby.

Just about as much as cheerleaders do for the dignity of their respective sports.

Wise wolf!

Since we don't have cheerleaders in my country, am I allowed to think we are very mature or not? :p


It won't eliminate jobs. Models will model elsewhere. Booth Babes come from model agencies. It isn' tlike they're full time with specific companies.

The same is true for car shows, gun shows, and the like.

On the other hand, the same arguments against booth babes in game conventions would apply to them in car shows, gun shows and almost anything else. While eliminating them in this one industry shouldn't have any noticeable impact taking the arguments against them to their logical conclusion certainly would.

It's the same argument that says my vote doesn't matter when clearly voting in general does.

Of course. And those industries have also been dealing with this very problem. Guess what? They're a lot more responsive to it.

Modelling as a profession will not go away. Perhaps the convention "booth babe" portion of the industry will. Industries move on.

A bad analogy is CGI in films. CGI means that puppeteers and practical effects people were needed less and less, as it tends to be more time consuming and therefore expensive. However - the effects houses that looked at their portfolio, learned the trade of CGI, were able to apply their knowledge of effects to a new and growing industry. Those that didn't lost out. Now the best effects houses uses a mix of both, and continuously innovate.

If Booth Babes are going away as a profession, it would serve modelling agencies to find out how best to serve their clients in other ways.

Booth Babes really what people decide to complain about is getting ridiculous, is there really any different than a Booth Babe at E3 and the girls at a Car Show or the UFC girl's that hold up the ROUND signs?

No there isn't in fact those girls are actually less dressed and it's not like they're giving lap dances. If you're going to shut down E3 Booth Babes, than to be fair you have to shut down Boxing and UFC girls, Car show girls really anything with a girl standing next to it.

In fact lets follow this to its logical conclusion and just do what they do in the middle east and make all women cover from head to toe even in the dead of heat because they might cause impure thoughts.......


You take the argument out of context, add a bit of hyperbole and then add a tiny bit of Islamophobia just to make sure you sound like a calm rational human being!

That said...

Why exactly would removing eye candy from all of the above be bad? What does scantily clad woman have to do with UFC? What does it have to do with cars? Seriously?

Absolutely fucking nothing. The entire point is to pander to the majority male audience that watches UFC, attends car shows and turns up at Conventions. Whilst the argument saying "What would these poor women do without these jobs" is logical, I still think that the loss of the entire industry (As in, exploitative modelling industry) would not be a particularly bad thing.

I mean, when slavery was being abolished did anybody say "Oh, think of the poor slave traders and slave takers, what will they do to stay employed now!". Nope. We accepted that the entire industry was rather bad so we killed it.

I think this makes my point very clear: Booth babes serve no purpose other then eye candy. Jim is right, you get rid of the eye candy chicks and companies will have to be more inventive to attract views.

And as for your final argument? The abolishment of booth babes will not lead to the "Logical conclusion" of Abiya's being common in the west. You are being hyperbolic and you know it. There is a difference between someone being paid to stand around wearing next to nothing to attract nerds and someone wearing whatever the fuck they like. Like, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an unpaid cosplayer turning up as a Dead or Alive girl if she wanted to (Or he wanted to, lets be inclusive here) because there is NO coercive factor there.

Is this getting through?

There is a difference between society saying "I do not like the idea of people being paid to stand around wearing little to nothing in an attempt to advertise a product" and "I do not like women wearing skimpy clothes". You might not be able to see it, but then again, you do not know how to stop an ellipsis so your view is sorta invalid.

As Pratchett said, multiple punctuation is the sign of a diseased mind.


Loose the booth babes. Cause, well, all those who agree with me know the reasons, all those who don't do not give a shit about the reasons. Heh.

Booth Babes really what people decide to complain about is getting ridiculous, is there really any different than a Booth Babe at E3 and the girls at a Car Show or the UFC girl's that hold up the ROUND signs?

Same girls. Same agencies.

Difference is that game conventions are attracting more and more women then those others'. It's a marketing decision - alienate one audience to please another that could give or take them?

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