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E3 Needs to Grow Up

Despite a growing call for change, the organizers of E3 have no plans to address the booth babe issue at the industry's biggest show.

I'm sure these women are well versed in the talking points for Namco Bandai's upcoming fighting game.

There’s been no shortage of discussion about women and video games this past week.

The conversation’s been driven by the gross response to Anita Sarkeesian’s nearly finished Kickstarter about the unfortunate and exclusionary tropes of female video game characters, and the quickly scrutinized comments from a producer on Tomb Raider about a potential rape scene (a description the studio has walked back) in the new game.

These are all good, uncomfortable conversations to have, but if we're talking about the depiction of women in games at such a serious level, how do we still have E3 booth babes? Other than for easy hits in web galleries, anyway.

The commonly referred to booth babe (also known as a "woman") is hired solely to wear skimpy clothing with a game or company’s logo and take photographs with attendees (who does that, by the way?). Typically, they are not well versed in the product they are hired to represent.

It seemed like a good time to check in with the Entertainment Software Association, who manages E3.

Despite some of the recent heated conversation, there are no plans to shift E3 policies.

"Exhibitors determine for themselves what is the best representation for their companies. Models are welcome if companies would like to have them, but that's an individual exhibitor decision,” said ESA VP of media relations and event management Dan Hewitt in an emailed statement to me yesterday.

Ghost Recon Commander designer Brenda Brathwaite sparked a vocal debate on Twitter over booth babes before she headed to the E3 show floor last Thursday.

“I dread heading off to work at E3 today,” she said. “The show is a constant assault on the female self esteem no matter which direction I look. I am in good shape, yet it is impossible not to compare. I feel uncomfortable. It is as if I walked into a strip club w/o intending to. These are the policies of @e3expo and @RichatESA. I feel uncomfortable in an industry I helped found.”

Her comments found plenty of support, such as Inside Network managing editor AJ Glasser.

@br The worst is when I get so good at seeing right through it that I forget they're actually women underneath the barely-there clothes.

— AJ Glasser (@Joygirl007) June 7, 2012

It’s not a new critique, but it was louder this year, and there seems to be a growing desire for change.

There was also the usual “what’s the big deal?” responses, including 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard.

@br I think you/others take it too seriously. It's not some academic event. It's a glitz show full of spectacle. #serious_business

— George Broussard (@georgeb3dr) June 7, 2012

It’s been a few years, but the ESA policy on booth babes has changed from E3's inception. The last major shift came in 2006, as new penalties, fines and policies were introduced regarding women featured in E3 exhibits.

"What's new in 2006 is an update and clarification of the enforcement policies; as we do from time to time, we have taken steps to ensure that exhibitors are familiar with the policy and how it will be enforced," said E3 show director Mary Dolaher to Reuters at the time.

A violation of the clothing policy would result in, at first, a warning, and then a $5,000 fine. Here’s what the handbook from 2006 said to exhibitors considering booth babes--er, sorry, live models:

"Material, including live models, conduct that is sexually explicit and/or sexually provocative, including but not limited to nudity, partial nudity and bathing suit bottoms, are prohibited on the show floor, all common areas, and at any access points to the show."

Hewitt told me there have been no changes to ESA policy since 2006.

Maybe there should be. Consider this anecdote that didn’t even take place on the show floor itself.

This was one of the first results the search term "Devil May Cry strippers" gave me, sorry.

We arrived to our Capcom appointment, I plunked down with Lost Planet 3, and Alex Navarro was ushered over to play Devil May Cry. In a room of kiosks, there were pole dancers. It’s unclear what that has to do with Devil May Cry. The girl hired to skimpily waltz around was sitting on the floor, looking bored. Everyone in the room is focused on playing the game, and Alex wasn't playing Devil May Cry in a see-through bubble. No one on the show floor could see this room. Can someone explain how this helps anyone do their job?

Elsewhere, I refused to play any 3DS games at Nintendo’s booth because the company didn’t have a table with machines, and instead tethered its lineup to attractive women. I let that gimmick slide when Nintendo pulled the same trick at the original 3DS unveiling, but I’ll just wait until those games are out now, thanks.

Nintendo probably thought it was a cute idea. I doubt (and this is my sincere hope) Nintendo meant to undermine the credibility of women at gaming’s biggest show. It's still ignorance. Many of the issues regarding women and E3 aren’t overtly offensive, and can be easily rationalized by those who don’t see a problem.

That’s okay--we should have a debate about it.

And this is all hardly an issue that’s exclusive to games. The same week as E3, the Computex Summit was happening in Taipei, and computer manufacturer ASUS sent out the following tweet:

That tweet has since been deleted and ASUS released an apology, obviously.

I can gripe all I want, but the most effective solution has to come from the ESA itself. Only the ESA can enforce regulations on exhibitors, and let them know this archaic marketing tool needs to go away. If games are growing up, so does the way we go about advertising them in front of, ostensibly, a bunch of professional. This isn’t 1994.

PAX figured this out years ago, even if there have been incidents along the way (i.e. Lollipop Chainsaw at PAX East).

“Our definition of a ‘booth babe’ has been a model (male or female) that has been hired to stand/sit in skimpy clothing to market the product,” said Penny Arcade president of business development in 2010. “If that person knows the product inside and out then it’s less of an issue. A company representative that can interact with attendees in a way that provides value as opposed to ‘hey stare at my body’ is something that we encourage whether or not that representative is physically attractive or not.”

If E3 is supposed to represent the industry’s best, why can’t it figure out how to respect its own attendees?

Patrick Klepek on Google+
1013 Comments
Edited by Manhattan_Project

@Azraden said:

@Manhattan_Project said:

@Azraden said:

I hope this doesn't get lost under a torrent of "ITS NOT A BIG DEAL JEEZ" and "WELL THEY WERENT FORCED TO DO IT", but I really want to thank you for this, Patrick. My fiance is really into gaming as well but she is put off by a lot of sexist bullshit (Miranda's ass CONSTANTLY IN YOUR FACE, rape threats to Catwoman, etc) and she can't even game online for fear of harassment. I'm hoping this is another step forward to getting gamer culture a step forward and hopefully getting gamers to tackle the larger societal issues that cause these sort of things in the first place. So really, I thank you Patrick, and I hope more gaming journalist fall in line with these sorts of progressive ideals.

How is this sexist? WTF do you think a scumbag criminal is going to do? Respect her?

This is a terrible defense and this argument is a tired one. Honestly it wouldn't have even been so bad if it was said once or twice but hearing it every goddamn couple of minutes during the Catwoman sections is dumb.

So any movie, TV show, book or game that has sexist dialogue (justified or not) is automatically sexist?

Also, repeating lines? In a video game? NO. Since when? Oh it happened in the Batman sections too...oh ok.

Posted by MagusMaleficus

I'm beginning to think Patrick and Ben Kuchera are the same person, Jekyll-and-Hyde style.

Posted by darkdragonmage99

@SmilingPig: yes yes it would to feminist anyway This is my problem with all of these kind of movements they fight for the rights of a given group and ignore everybody else. I'm all for equal rights but I believe in stopping there no special treatment .

Posted by JasonR86

YOU need to grow up!!!

Posted by ZenaxPure

If the women want to do it, who really cares? I'm sorry but if these models didn't want in on this they wouldn't do it.

Honestly all I gather from this article is the Ghost Recon dev wants to put models out of business because her own insecurities or whatever. Putting someone out of a job, especially in this economy, seems like a bigger and more sinister problem than some harmless booth babes. I find this whole thing disgusting.

Posted by AngelN7

@Turambar said:

I would be more willing to make comments on this subject if I didn't already know perfectly well this entire issue will be treated like a fad by video game sites at large, and cease speaking about it with such frequency in one months time, only revisiting it if some new controversy sparks up now and then.

I can't say this loud enough but THIS! that's the part that upsets me the most, not the issue at hand but the fact that is being discussed only because is a hot topic in the "media" right now so what better timing to cash-in those clicks before we move on into the next controversy and eveyone stops trying to do something about this subject or even caring at all ... videogame "journalism" folks.

Posted by Alkaiser

@tourgen said:

oh boy here comes the tide of sniveling white knights screaming at each other about maturity in their hypersensitive PC echo chamber

Fuck, give it a rest. Or starch up your black-n-whites and show up to 2013 E3 in full puritan dress code. Thump on a bible every now and then and glare at people while you tell them how they should be thinking and living their lives.

My problem with it is less of a puritanical "All flesh is the work of devils!" and more of a "Well, you guys are all fucking losers who will never have a woman look at you without screaming and calling the cops, so we paid these girls to stand around in bikinis looking bored and pretending to be interested in you. Its your special day, you fucking slobs!"

Posted by Sweetz

The thing about all the hullabaloo that I hate is there's this undertone that a man shouldn't be allowed to look at an attractive women or appreciate her only for her appearance in a wholly incidental context. That somehow getting enjoyment out of looking at a pretty woman makes us misogynists or rapists. God forbid a man ever experience a purely physical attraction with a women that he will never interact with in a meaningful manner, because looking at boobs turns all men into monsters, apparently.

If there was a trade show whose attendees were primary women and the vendors used hunky guys to promote their products, would any male in the audience here give a fuck about it? I really don't care if a women gets a rise out of looking at an attractive man. I really don't care if all they only see that man as a sexy man - and I'm betting he doesn't either. It doesn't degrade me in any way - it doesn't even degrade the model because he's not in a context where he should even care about the people's opinions of him.

In the sense that booth babes are marketing that doesn't actually speak to the quality of the product - yes they're not doing any good; and if they were banned, it's not a big deal. This isn't an anti-booth-babe-banning argument. However, the feminist angle that always comes in about it being degrading to women (all women, everywhere) is just bullshit. A guy can appreciate an attractive women without thinking of all women as sex objects; and if the situation were reversed (with male models that I hereby dub: stand studs) no rational man would take issue with it.

Online
Posted by jerseyscum

But where would the booth babes go? We're talking about taking away valuable American jobs here. Why do you hate America Mr. Klepek?

Posted by kollay

And the wheel keeps on turning.

Posted by DantronLesotho

I personally would rather see attractive women in shape wearing small clothes hocking goods than I would if they were random marketing douches who try to act like they gamers. I prefer my sales to be on display. From what I understand, the core issue is that women are being objectified because they are not associated with the product at all. But would it make a difference if they were? What would the conversation be otherwise? The point is to attract attention and visual attention will always come before knowledgeable attention, and for a currently-heterosexual-male-dominated industry, this works. Aside from free money (and maybe free food) I can't think of anything other than attractive women that would cause more people to visit a particular booth who might overlook it otherwise. I think a lot of the problem as well is that for journalists, they are more or less required to hit as many booths as possible so they see the booth babes as extraneous. But since E3 opened up to the general public, I don't see why booth babes are such a problem. It's like the previous commenter said about the girls having modeling jobs. They have to make their money somewhere; a video game convention is far better than a strip club or internet porn in terms of objectification standards, I would imagine.

Posted by Azraden
Posted by MaddProdigy

Prostitutes and dancers have been around since before the Greeks and Romans. Cheerleaders at sports games are an accepted and even respected part of modern American culture. No one is coerced, the purpose is clear, and that means the ethics are clear as well. It's ridiculous to say that these women are being "objectified" or somehow mis-treated; these are the same women who become go-go dancers and strippers.

Seems to me that you're riding a miniature horse but you imagine yourself higher than the rest of us, Patrick.

Posted by kagato

Id just like to point out that the 3DS event i went to a while ago had what you would probably refer to as booth babes, they didnt have skimply clothing on or anything but they where all pretty 20 something young ladies ushering us around and giving us advice on how to play the games etc.

These girls actually did know the products they where discussing (i quizzed them on some details to make sure) and they where actually good at playing the games on show. They where gamers, yes they where good looking but i have to believe that the female gamers at the event would have been more comfortable talking to them and asking for help.

I was disgusted to see them being called bimbos etc on the events page, they where at the event because they wanted to be there and enjoyed what they where doing. Of course not all events are like that, but just grouping every girl at these events together and calling them "booth babes" is pretty insulting.

Posted by TentPole

@Manhattan_Project said:

@Azraden said:

@Manhattan_Project said:

@Azraden said:

I hope this doesn't get lost under a torrent of "ITS NOT A BIG DEAL JEEZ" and "WELL THEY WERENT FORCED TO DO IT", but I really want to thank you for this, Patrick. My fiance is really into gaming as well but she is put off by a lot of sexist bullshit (Miranda's ass CONSTANTLY IN YOUR FACE, rape threats to Catwoman, etc) and she can't even game online for fear of harassment. I'm hoping this is another step forward to getting gamer culture a step forward and hopefully getting gamers to tackle the larger societal issues that cause these sort of things in the first place. So really, I thank you Patrick, and I hope more gaming journalist fall in line with these sorts of progressive ideals.

How is this sexist? WTF do you think a scumbag criminal is going to do? Respect her?

This is a terrible defense and this argument is a tired one. Honestly it wouldn't have even been so bad if it was said once or twice but hearing it every goddamn couple of minutes during the Catwoman sections is dumb.

So any movie, TV show, book or game that has sexist dialogue (justified or not) is automatically sexist?

Also, repeating lines? In a video game? NO. Since when? Oh it happened in the Batman sections too...oh ok.

Have you guys seen Gran Torino? That film is racist as fuck. And don't get me started on how racist American History X and Schindler's List are. The characters in those say way worse things and it is fucking gross.

Posted by darkdragonmage99

@Wrighteous86: Ok tell me the difference a woman self esteem harmed by better looking women being around man's self esteem being harmed by better looking men being around ?

Or am I reading sarcasm where there is non ?

Posted by Wandrecanada

@ck1nd said:

Eh? Is it really that big of a deal?

Hell yes.

Edited by Azraden

@TentPole: Yeah man, just like Gran Torino and American History X, Arkham City used these characters to reinforce the themes about prejudice and

oh wait, no. Arkham City didn't have those themes in the slightest.

Posted by YukoAsho

@SmilingPig said:

Would it be more acceptable if it would be booth dudders:

If I had any photoshop talent at all, I'd totally put Jeff, Ryan, Brad and Vinny's heads on those guys...

Posted by OneManX

@AngelN7 said:

@Turambar said:

I would be more willing to make comments on this subject if I didn't already know perfectly well this entire issue will be treated like a fad by video game sites at large, and cease speaking about it with such frequency in one months time, only revisiting it if some new controversy sparks up now and then.

I can't say this loud enough but THIS! that's the part that upsets me the most, not the issue at hand but the fact that is being discussed only because is a hot topic in the "media" right now so what better timing to cash-in those clicks before we move on into the next controversy and eveyone stops trying to do something about this subject or even caring at all ... videogame "journalism" folks.

Yeah this seems to be my issue, is that everyone is dog piling on now, and later it wont matter. Remember the whole FGC controversy. And how everyone had an opinion, but it soon died down and there was little to no dialogue between FGC members and Game Journos'? This is how I feel about this, everyone will be smashing their desk, but no one will actually reach out and talk to publishers or even talk to models.

It's their job, they get paid to model. Be it cars, clothes, gmes, comics at the end of the day, it's a woman or dude doing a job. And I think some people have to look at it, understand it, go, "That's not for me" and move on. And it bothers me more as a gamer and someone who wants to get into the industry when you dont see this kind of speech in Comic-Books or movies when Comic-Con rolls around and you see WAY more sexual attire there. And the media kinda enjoys the spectacle of the event.

Edited by Anwar

And C.S. Lewis is always related when you talk about maturity.

“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

-C.S. Lewis

Posted by TentPole

@Azraden said:

@Manhattan_Project: Good job (intentionally?) missing the point. This article does a really good job of refuting all the points people make. Even if you're not a fan of the Hulk speak, its well worth reading on the problems with the dialogue in that game. http://filmcrithulk.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/hulk-vs-arkham-city-round-2-bitches-be-trippin/

No. His point is that misogynistic characters do not make the game itself misogynistic and you are very clearly making the point that it does. Nothing that Hulk says has anything to do with that. His argument is that having characters that are misogynistic in a comic book game is out of line. But the game is trying to set a hard edged tone that involves women stalking serial killers and more gritty villains.

As I said in another thread one of my favorite books has a protagonist that murders underage girls and then rapes their corpses. That does not mean that the book itself is condoning murder and necrophilia.

Posted by TooWalrus

Can't decide what to say here, I've written like 3 different things, then decided it doesn't matter.

I guess I just don't get it. Haven't beautiful women been used to market products for, pretty much, forever? And these girls are models, right? This is their chosen 'profession', obviously they know they're being paid to look pretty and advertise, there's nothing demeaning about it- this is what they want to do, isn't it? I guess I find it more demeaning that you want to shit all over their chosen career- sorry they're getting in the way of the serious business, they're just trying to make a living. I've had enough 'feminist' teachers in college to know that they'd think your attempt at chivalry is just as objectifying and demeaning. Just like they're treating women as sexual objects, we're treating women like children that need us to protect them.

And I know booth babes don't add a single thing we'd be interested in here- but there's got to be a demand for it- right? Giantbombs coverage of E3 was outstanding, and there wasn't a booth babe in sight on the website- so what's the harm in letting the more mainstream sites focus on the stupid spectacle of E3, and let the enthusiast sites, like ours, focus on the games themselves. Why do we need to preach that everyone else needs to change, when we can just change ourselves?

In the end- whatever. Games are still fun, that's all that matters. Even though I disagree with you guys on some of this stuff, you're still fuckin' great at what you do, and I'll follow ya right until the end. Please, correct my misunderstandings.

Posted by Dagbiker

People saying that woman want to pose for pictures for men, they dont want to do it, its their job. Who here wakes up and says, "Fuck yah, now I get to go to work."

Edited by toymachinesh

enough with this shit already

I grew up reading EGM/Nintendo Power and reading articles about E3. I used to look at pictures and think "wow E3 is awesome" BECAUSE it's a giant over the top spectacle.

If you want to white knight insecure females go to PAX with all the other hipsters.

stop fucking with my E3 and stop making it seem like hot women and FPS games are some sort of gigantic travesty against video games.

PS: Stop making it seem like "Booth Babes" are a bunch of drooling ignorant women that don't know what they are getting into.

Posted by Xeirus

@bunnymud said:

Oh jesus...sex sells. As if these girls don't know what they are doing. HEY! What if...follow me on this one...we all stick our pinkeys out when we drink our tea at the next E3? Never go to a car show....you may catch a case of the vapors and faint and thus lose your top hat.

Porn sells, sexy women next to a gaming kiosk is just annoying, and is obviously getting really tired and old to everyone. Times change, and thank god this is finally being brought up.

Posted by Shrevey3

Stuff like this is what the site was missing, don't get me wrong I loved it before keleptic and I'll love it till they all die, but its nice to have a journalist on board. Good job Patrick.

Posted by Superkenon

Guys, guys. Guys.

Everyone's wrong. About everything. Come on, let's hug it out.

Online
Edited by NTM

I just think it's weird 'cause the booth babes don't at all motivate me to buy a persons game. It's like "Here's a hot chick. Buy our game?" I don't think that's the reason they're there, but then why are they? I mean, for what good to the games are they? This isn't coming from someone who goes to the conventions, but see's it on the internet. I guess I should ask what the purpose is of even mentioning them on the internet, like how GT does it. I don't know, I guess in the long run, I don't really care too much about it, because it's not really what I look forward to or even think about when it comes to a gaming convention.

Posted by Azraden

@TentPole: uhhh what? His first part, which this part is replying to comments to straight out calls, in his words, Arkham City super-duper sexist. It is. I still love the game, don't get me wrong, but that doesn't excuse the dialogue. I don't think anyone has ever convinced another side on an internet argument about sexism, racism, classism, etc, so I'm dropping out of this conversation. I will just say that I hope gamers get better at critical thought if they can't see the difference between how racial slurs are used in Gran Torino and American History X and how rape threats are used in Arkham City and Tomb Raider.

Posted by Oldirtybearon

@YukoAsho said:

Hey guys! Remember after E3 2006, when the industry decided it would be better to make a smaller, more business oriented show? Remember how journalists just loved it and no one complained about how soulless it had become?

Yeah. The people at fault are the god damned journalists who protested the loss of their precious fucking spectacle.

Ding ding ding ding ding!

As for people decrying "those poor objectified women," they chose to be there. They chose to take the gig from their agency. They're there specifically to get more work and they know they're supposed to attract attendees to their product. That's their job. I guarantee you never hear a complaint from these women because by the time E3 is over, they're taking their paycheck and going to the next gig. They're trying to profit off of their appearance, the same way they profit by doing spreads in magazines, taking on fashion shows, and a whole myriad of other events where they can profit from their good looks. There is fucking nothing wrong with that.

Women have been using their sexuality to their advantage since the dawn of time. It's not a bad thing. It's just a thing. It's a spoke on the wheel that keeps turning our species forward.

Here's a real question - why is Klepek championing a cause that sees its supposed benefactors essentially shrugging their shoulders and moving on? The women hired out to be "booth babes" simply don't give a fuck. If they did, they wouldn't do the show. The real sexism is in these journalists (men) thinking they know what's best for these women. Thinking that they need protection from... what? Being looked at? What makes you think they want your protection from this sin most foul, let alone that there is a problem?

TL;DR - yo, people who don't know what the fuck they're talking about need to shut the fuck up about the shit they don't know about.

Posted by Dagbiker

Is it wrong that I can tell the tone of a post before reading them by a users post count?

Posted by TentPole

@Azraden said:

@TentPole: Yeah man, just like Gran Torino and American History X, Arkham City used these characters to reinforce the themes about prejudice and

oh wait, no. Arkham City didn't have those themes in the slightest and you're a pedantic shit.

Alright, but you also don't need to delve deep into racist themes to have racist characters characters. Also way to bring this down to the level of petty insults.

Posted by Anund

Clicked on article to better see the pic of the booth babes.

Posted by tourgen

@Alkaiser said:

@tourgen said:

oh boy here comes the tide of sniveling white knights screaming at each other about maturity in their hypersensitive PC echo chamber

Fuck, give it a rest. Or starch up your black-n-whites and show up to 2013 E3 in full puritan dress code. Thump on a bible every now and then and glare at people while you tell them how they should be thinking and living their lives.

My problem with it is less of a puritanical "All flesh is the work of devils!" and more of a "Well, you guys are all fucking losers who will never have a woman look at you without screaming and calling the cops, so we paid these girls to stand around in bikinis looking bored and pretending to be interested in you. Its your special day, you fucking slobs!"

Yeah, I understand it from your point as well. Hell, talk to a booth babe sometime - they know what's up. It's pretty much how you laid it out. My feeling though is that people are way too uptight about, well, just about everything. And yes, calling out booth babes at a trade show is hyper-sensitivity and the PC crowd at work. Fuck those guys. They've got their opinion on what's right and wrong and we've all heard it. It's getting old. I don't want a whitewashed world. Those girls are getting paid, game publishers are getting attention and moving product, and sad out of shape slobs get to see a pretty lady. win-win-win.

Posted by DukesT3

Patrick REALLY must hate import car shows.

I honestly didn't think people still used booth babes. And who is this hurting? Womens self-esteem?

Posted by Seedofpower

Growing pains.

Posted by Azraden

@TentPole: I know I said I was done but let me just apologize for the insult and say that's why I edited it out. Although in my defense, you are being INCREDIBLY pedantic.

Posted by Penzilneck

At long last I have read and seen the word 'ostensibly' written out to know how to correctly write it, apply it and spread its vocabulary magic to curricular-curious children of the earth.

Posted by DukesT3

@Manhattan_Project said:

@Azraden said:

I hope this doesn't get lost under a torrent of "ITS NOT A BIG DEAL JEEZ" and "WELL THEY WERENT FORCED TO DO IT", but I really want to thank you for this, Patrick. My fiance is really into gaming as well but she is put off by a lot of sexist bullshit (Miranda's ass CONSTANTLY IN YOUR FACE, rape threats to Catwoman, etc) and she can't even game online for fear of harassment. I'm hoping this is another step forward to getting gamer culture a step forward and hopefully getting gamers to tackle the larger societal issues that cause these sort of things in the first place. So really, I thank you Patrick, and I hope more gaming journalist fall in line with these sorts of progressive ideals.

How is this sexist? WTF do you think a scumbag criminal is going to do? Respect her?

Yeah, I don't get why people freak out when some PIECE OF SHIT HORRIBLE dude wants to rape Lara Croft. Do you expect him to call up her father and ask for permission? Take her out to brunch and hang out on the beach?

Posted by bennyboy

I honestly do not care about booth babes one way or the other and don't see why it bothers you so much. And you're only giving them more attention and encouraging them to continue to exist by writing articles like this.

Posted by artgarcrunkle

If pandering to the lowest common denominator with garbage like this wasn't lucrative they wouldn't do it. As amoral or nakedly evil the industry is sometimes there is always plenty of fault found in the consumer. If you want booth babes to disappear shame convention goers out of posing with them.

Also it's pretty great to see all these gaming "journalists" hopping on this bandwagon to get pageviews. Especially when a lot of them (not referring to Patrick) have said plenty of things that can seem insensitive in writing and on podcasts. Picking and choosing your faux moral outrage is my favorite part of civilized western narcissism.

Posted by Shady

Game journalists don't deserve respect. Also, those booth babes need to pay the bills too.

Posted by Salarn

Great article, keep up the good work Patrick.

Posted by TentPole

@Azraden said:

@TentPole: uhhh what? His first part, which this part is replying to comments to straight out calls, in his words, Arkham City super-duper sexist. It is. I still love the game, don't get me wrong, but that doesn't excuse the dialogue. I don't think anyone has ever convinced another side on an internet argument about sexism, racism, classism, etc, so I'm dropping out of this conversation. I will just say that I hope gamers get better at critical thought if they can't see the difference between how racial slurs are used in Gran Torino and American History X and how rape threats are used in Arkham City and Tomb Raider.

The idea that there is a limit to how awful your characters can be is something that is solely relegated to videogames. Films and books have gotten beyond that decades and centuries ago. It is just growing pains we are going through now and your attitude is poison to creative integrity. If Arkham city supports misogyny then that is something worth getting upset about. But having misogynistic characters alone does not mean that the game is reinforcing misogynistic ideas any more than other works with misogynistic characters: The Road, Blood Meridian. And neither of those books focus on misogyny or are intended to explore it beyond having some pretty shitty characters. One is a pulitzer prize winner and the other is often considered one of the greatest american novels by a living author.

Posted by ZenaxPure

@Dagbiker said:

People saying that woman want to pose for pictures for men, they dont want to do it, its their job. Who here wakes up and says, "Fuck yah, now I get to go to work."

Plenty of people wake up and want to go to work, if you aren't one of them you should find a job you enjoy then.

Regardless, even if these women didn't want to do that (and that's a big if, I refuse to believe every single booth babe at E3 didn't want to be there) a job is a job right? Especially right now when unemployment is as high as it's been in a long time. If we were to get rid of models at car shows, expos, etc. there would be thousands of people losing jobs. Is that what you really want to happen?

This whole article is selfish, people are talking about these women as if they aren't real beings. It's doing exactly what the GB crew was saying they didn't want to do in regards to the Tomb Raider reboot. They are wanting to "protect" these girls who are probably smart and have functioning brains and can make decisions for themselves. I will say again, if they really didn't want to work that job they wouldn't work it.

Posted by Tennmuerti

So this pot needed some stirring, huh.

Posted by atomic_dumpling

@megalowho said:

All of these conversations popping up about the role of women in games, Tomb Raider, booth babes and ultraviolence as a core part of AAA experiences are healthy

I think they are neurotic at best. I find this whole "debate" increasingly ridiculous.

Online
Posted by radioactivez0r

Some others made some interesting points, like how one female game designer's insecurity (should we ask attractive women to walk on the other side of the street for her, as well?) is fueling a non-issue. It does seem a little weird to have booth babes at a press event, because they aren't the target audience for gaming publishers - they're going to cover and/or play the game regardless, so what is the point in trying to entice them? But I honestly don't see what the big deal is, either. If you don't like it, it's great that you have a place to say so, and you can ignore it, but getting rid of them is clearly not what the majority wants.

Posted by Claude

Aborted fetuses tethered to a 3DS would have been funnier.