In Defense of Booth Babes And Why They're Here to Stay

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While everyone's all a Twitter over EA's Act of Lust booth babe stunt, consider this: If the Booth babes were Booth Dudes and the rules were the same, would anyone care?

Of course, encouraging people to "commit acts of lust" and then photograph it in order to get a chance to win "dinner and a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty" isn't going to win any prizes at a church fund raising competition but let's break this one down a bit.

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The "booty" referred to in the promotion is not the ass of the "two hot girls." It's a swag bag full of geeky goodness any fanboy would lust over as much as he might lust over a booth babe. The encouraged "act of lust" is most certainly not meant to get people to do anything rude, crude or disrespectful to a woman hired to play the role of booth babe. Anyone who might actually do that is just a loser and in need of castration.

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While this promotion can certainly be seen as crossing the ever-moving, hard-to-define line of decency, it's not encouraging rape, prostitution or other unseemly (and illegal) behavior. It's simply using a time-tested - if not tired and lame - marketing strategy to get people to do what a marketer wants.

The "two hot girls" are obviously paid for their participation in this promotion and while we're sure they'd rather spend a night with some hot dude - not to mention their own boyfriends - they knowingly took this job and the money and knew what they'd be getting into.

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As for the other booth babes who may be "accosted" by hormonal idiots trying to commit their act of lust, well, that is a bad thing. One hopes everyone in attendance has the decency to respect another human being as they, themselves, hope to be respected. Perhaps that might be hoping for too much. But, again, booth babes are paid to do what they do and they know what they are getting into. The job description (and actual experience) is far from a secret.

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This is not a defense of the "objectification of women" thing. It's just an alternative viewpoint. Booth babes, like sexual overtones in advertising, attract attention. It might not necessarily be the right kind attention but a trade show floor is a very competitive place and organizations will do what they have to to insure they have traffic and eyeballs.

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We've spoken to many booth babes over the years at conferences and, in every case, they are wonderfully intelligent people who, for the most part, take the gig as a side job to their primary career. When one booth babe of a show floor was asked, "How do you feel about the fact the sole reason you are standing in front of this booth is to get lots of people to stop by?", she told us, "Indifferent. It's a job."

That is not meant to excuse the objectification of that scenario but simply to acknowledge that, generally, both sides of the booth babe equation - attracted attendees and attractive booth babes - know exactly what the deal is. It's sort of like sinning but knowing it'll be all OK because God will forgive you for those sins.

And yes, yes, yes, booth babes appeal almost exclusively to men which, conversely, can alienate the other 40-50 percent of the gaming audience. And booth dudes generally don't appeal to women the way booth babes appeal to men. It's just the way each sex is differently built. It's just the way it is. It always has been and it always will be. No matter how much political correctness you throw at it, men will always respond to the visual stimulation of a booth babe.

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Many will call this viewpoint Neanderthal. You are entitled to your opinion but we prefer to think of this viewpoint as realistic. Not necessarily an encouragement of "acts of lust" part but, rather, the fact people can be motivated to do things through the use of sexual imagery, overtones and, yes, hot looking booth babes.

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Arguments and viewpoints aside, we, of course, do hope the "acts of lust" were done playfully and with respect to the women acting as booth babes. No one wants to be seen as nothing more than a sexual receptacle for gobs of geeky spunk.

by Steve Hall    Jul-25-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Events, Opinion   

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