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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
Posted by zacharai

I heard about the Catwoman 'bitch' thing before I played the game, and it didn't sound like a big deal. It's in the character of the thugs, after all. They're supposed to be misogynistic assholes.

But then I played it, and godDAMN does it overdo that shit. It absolutely is over the top and does harm what is otherwise a pretty good game. The game goes out of its way to remind you that every thug and boss in the game thinks that Harley Quinn and Catwoman and any female is a bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch. It was totally unnecessary, and bothered me.

(it also made me wonder if my problem was that I [as Catwoman] didn't like being called a bitch. That made me feel pretty shitty about times I've used that word in the past.)

Using booth babes is way worse. Similar to violence or racism, sexism in a video game isn't nearly as bad as sexism in real life. And that's exactly what strippers at E3 conveys: "Hey guys, it's totally okay to objectify women in public! In fact, here, I'll help you out - check out THESE titties. Want to buy my game?".

Thanks for the article, Patrick.

Posted by InternetDetective

I like fat girls.

Edited by Phished0ne

This article...man...this article, and these comments. I am going to start with with this statement, I hate the idea of using attractive women to promote a game, a service, a product, a store, anything. BUT, Modeling IS a profession, and im sure a lot of models really enjoy their jobs. Maybe not the ones who have to dance on a pole at the DMC booth. BUT it is, there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of using attractive women to draw attention to your booth.

It happens all the time, it is the purpose of the model in a lot of cases. Be it walking the catwalk at the Victoria Secret show, or walking around the nintendo booth with a 3DS strapped to them. They arent being forced to do it, they are getting payed(fat stacks of cash too, in a lot of cases) to do their job. We can argue until we are blue in the face if this is right. But it happens, and it isnt even a problem with video game industry, it is a problem with marketing and advertisement in general. Marketing companies want to take the easiest way out, so instead of focusing on the merits of their product, they focus on the easiest thing possible. If a woman wants to take a job showing off her body to promote a product, that is her right. Maybe she enjoys the attention, maybe she likes the money, but we cannot act like these women are being forced into these jobs. They aren't, its a decision THEY make.

Wanting to institute a convention-wide ban on 'booth babes'(isn't it fun when the people that are calling out against something use a term as degrading as they think the practice itself is?) is so asinine i dont even want to talk about it, but i will. A company should decide if they want to draw the people who would be drawn by that. If they make that decision, they should be allowed to. Outsiders are allowed to criticize and critique it as much as they want, but as long as using models is standard practice in the marketing world, they cannot ban it. It seems the people that want to ban them forget the most important point, models are people too. You think the people standing up against the 'terrible objectification of women' that this practice is, would hold strict to their baseline argument. They are people, if you start banning the practice, models will start to lose jobs.

Posted by Nettacki
@biospank said:
Most of the stuff that I heard sounds creepy but then again I am not at E3 and probably never will.I can see why car shows have them. It makes perfect sense to see a atractive woman dry humping a car or dacing near its range. But I guess these sorts of things does not work with electronics? 
(pictures a lady trying to dry hump an Xbox 360 like that one guy did)
 
...Yeah, it doesn't work.
Edited by NMC2008

I never really thought about it before but I am glad I am thick skinned, the things I see bothering other people don't bother me in the slightest(like the Catwoman bitch thing up there), that includes the famous "N" word, which I use on my friend's cat. *shrugs*

Have fun ya'll, i'm going to play more video games.

Posted by Tupacalypse

@Phished0ne said:

This article...man...this article, and these comments. I am going to start with with this statement, I hate the idea of using attractive women to promote a game, a service, a product, a store, anything. BUT, Modeling IS a profession, and im sure a lot of models really enjoy their jobs. Maybe not the ones who have to dance on a pole at the DMC booth. BUT it is, there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of using attractive women to draw attention to your booth.

It happens all the time, it is the purpose of the model in a lot of cases. Be it walking the catwalk at the Victoria Secret show, or walking around the nintendo booth with a 3DS strapped to them. They arent being forced to do it, they are getting payed(fat stacks of cash too, in a lot of cases) to do their job. We can argue until we are blue in the face if this is right. But it happens, and it isnt even a problem with video game industry, it is a problem with marketing and advertisement in general. Marketing companies want to take the easiest way out, so instead of focusing on the merits of their product, they focus on the easiest thing possible. If a woman wants to take a job showing off her body to promote a product, that is her right. Maybe she enjoys the attention, maybe she likes the money, but we cannot act like these women are being forced into these jobs. They aren't, its a decision THEY make.

Wanting to institute a convention-wide ban on 'booth babes'(isn't it fun when the people that are calling out against something use a term as degrading as they think the practice itself is?) is so asinine i dont even want to talk about it, but i will. A company should decide if they want to draw the people who would be drawn by that. If they make that decision, they should be allowed to. Outsiders are allowed to criticize and critique it as much as they want, but as long as using models is standard practice in the marketing world, they cannot ban it. It seems the people that want to ban them forget the most important point, models are people too. You think the people standing up against the 'terrible objectification of women' that this practice is, would hold strict to their baseline argument. They are people, if you start banning the practice, models will start to lose jobs.

this. I would really like the models to know a thing or two about the game or product they are working for too, but this sums up how I feel.

Posted by TadThuggish

This comments section is why Jeff Gerstmann doesn't mind telling you to "Fuck off" on Twitter and/or Formspring.

Edited by JasonR86

@TadThuggish said:

This comments section is why Jeff Gerstmann doesn't mind telling you to "Fuck off" on Twitter and/or Formspring.

So you're implying that Jeff acts out because there's disagreement in the comments section for a GB article? I would hope not. That sounds really childish.

Posted by DanteFaustEsq

@big_jon: Ah so your judgmental and prone to making assumptions too, did I ever once imply that I was personally offended by your statement? No I think not I just pointed out how you shot your argument in the foot by insulting another group of people who are for the most part generalized and marginalized. Also suddenly turning around and saying oh well I was there too so I'm also one of them, just makes it look like your covering your ass, also recall you called them neckbeards not nerds so which is it? Are you a nerd or a neckbeard since you're the one that brought nerd into the equation.

Posted by Nettacki
@JasonR86 said:

@TadThuggish said:

This comments section is why Jeff Gerstmann doesn't mind telling you to "Fuck off" on Twitter and/or Formspring.

So you're implying that Jeff is acts out because there's disagreement in the comments section for a GB article? I would hope not. That sounds really childish.

I think he's referring to some of the rather nasty personal attacks towards Patrick.
Edited by big_jon

@DanteFaustEsq: You were clearly personally offended, I explained how I feel, if you are still offended that is your issue.

Quite simply, nothing wrong with being a nerd, but there is something wrong with being one of those nerds who flocks to booth babes in my eyes, the ackward ones, who don't get much social action, AKA neck beards, simple as that.

Posted by JasonR86

@Nettacki said:

@JasonR86 said:

@TadThuggish said:

This comments section is why Jeff Gerstmann doesn't mind telling you to "Fuck off" on Twitter and/or Formspring.

So you're implying that Jeff is acts out because there's disagreement in the comments section for a GB article? I would hope not. That sounds really childish.

I think he's referring to some of the rather nasty personal attacks towards Patrick.

Then he needs to be more specific.

Posted by DukesT3

Since when did GiantBomb turn into Gawker/Jezebel?

Edited by flindip

@LooseChange said:

Since when did GiantBomb turn into Gawker/Jezebel?

oh Jesus Christ on a popsicle stick, I actually stumbled onto Jezebel once-one of the most horrifying things I ever saw. I have never seen so many clueless people arguing about things they have no idea what they are talking about. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so soul crushing.

The best part is who the fuck are these women who actually read that website?! I'm not sure they actually exist(nobody can be that misinformed or stupid). Some of those articles are so poorly written-its like a twelve year old girl wrote them who just took an introductory course to women studies.

Posted by DanteFaustEsq

@big_jon: To put a bullet in this before it becomes a circular conversation I'll say this and be done. If "you" want to think I was personally offended by your statement go ahead and think that. All I was pointing out is that every argument made to "support" one group by putting down another tends to come off as a moot point, at least to me. And I'm done.

Posted by DrLove

@Draxyle said:

I regret reading more comments. Some of the direct, personal attacks on Patrick here (from people who are completely missing the point) are abysmally shameful. If anything, they've proven how valid this article is after all.

Thanks again for the write-up, Patrick. This is important stuff and I'm glad someone is taking it seriously.

important how? I personally dont care about e3 booth babes, but it bugs Pat to the point where he "refuses" to play 3ds games because of the booth babes? WTF? Like i said interview a booth babe and see what they have to say about their job. See if they enjoy it or if they are somehow being "forced" into it.

Posted by DanteFaustEsq

Hey hey! Everyone, remember when they changed E3 in to a simple trade show and got rid of the giant booths and booth babes and everyone bitched about it, and remember when they changed it back and everyone bitched about it. Isn't hypocrisy fun fun fun.

Posted by Marokai
@Nettacki said:
@JasonR86 said:

@TadThuggish said:

This comments section is why Jeff Gerstmann doesn't mind telling you to "Fuck off" on Twitter and/or Formspring.

So you're implying that Jeff is acts out because there's disagreement in the comments section for a GB article? I would hope not. That sounds really childish.

I think he's referring to some of the rather nasty personal attacks towards Patrick.
That may be the usual explanation, but I'll believe that when I actually see Jeff or Patrick directly and accurately respond to a rebuttal or criticism from the community that doesn't include outright contempt at just having to talk to the rabble. For all the whining of how "personal" this thread has become, it really hasn't been that vicious at all, and many of the counterarguments have been especially sound. The problem comes from the fact that the staff tends to use "fuck off" as a go-to response for anything, not just for those who deserve it. That is, whenever any given community response isn't just mischaracterized entirely on the Bombcast.
Posted by DrLove

@zacharai said:

I heard about the Catwoman 'bitch' thing before I played the game, and it didn't sound like a big deal. It's in the character of the thugs, after all. They're supposed to be misogynistic assholes.

But then I played it, and godDAMN does it overdo that shit. It absolutely is over the top and does harm what is otherwise a pretty good game. The game goes out of its way to remind you that every thug and boss in the game thinks that Harley Quinn and Catwoman and any female is a bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch. It was totally unnecessary, and bothered me.

(it also made me wonder if my problem was that I [as Catwoman] didn't like being called a bitch. That made me feel pretty shitty about times I've used that word in the past.)

Using booth babes is way worse. Similar to violence or racism, sexism in a video game isn't nearly as bad as sexism in real life. And that's exactly what strippers at E3 conveys: "Hey guys, it's totally okay to objectify women in public! In fact, here, I'll help you out - check out THESE titties. Want to buy my game?".

Thanks for the article, Patrick.

"bitch" in batman was over used because it was audio clip in a video game, not to constantly degrade woman... How many times did a guard ask about your sweetroll or or u heard about a arrow to the knee in Skyrim audio clips..

No one is "using" booth babes. they are being paid to do a job. I dont think there is a need for that job but i dont think they should be banned. If you are a person that is offended by then speak to WOMEN that work as booth babes, or models, or ring girl, or car models etc and see what they have to say.

Posted by DrLove

@DanteFaustEsq said:

Hey hey! Everyone, remember when they changed E3 in to a simple trade show and got rid of the giant booths and booth babes and everyone bitched about it, and remember when they changed it back and everyone bitched about it. Isn't hypocrisy fun fun fun.

thank u

Posted by Hellstrom

Can't say i blame them. American consumers are a very shallow people.

Posted by JasonR86

@Hellstrom said:

Can't say i blame them. American consumers are a very shallow people.

Uh-huh.

Posted by Leviathan2000

Sorry, but isn't this all about jealousy. Those female game devs are not that pretty, so they are jealous. ppfff, uhhmm, and men with no backbone, lash on these kinds of subjects. This is real female empowerment, made possible by guys on a gaming website, wow this is a lot to digest.

Posted by Rockhurst

I've only been to E3 the last 4 years. There's still lots of room for improvement (I'd like to see them gone completely), however there seemed to be noticeably less of it this year. The more egregious ones I saw were typically from the booths on the far outside edges of the show - desperate for attention. Nintendo was one of the more head-scratching examples. The Wii U terminals seemed to be mostly staffed by women who knew NOTHING of the system or the game other than the 3 sentences they were provided. How can you be launching a new system and have such poor representation of your product? Save the model money and fly a few more employees down to talk shop.

Posted by NMC2008

I was on my way to sleep and thought I would check this thread out..................... big mistake. Good night ya'll.

Edited by EnduranceFun

@Marokai said:

@Nettacki said:
@JasonR86 said:

@TadThuggish said:

This comments section is why Jeff Gerstmann doesn't mind telling you to "Fuck off" on Twitter and/or Formspring.

So you're implying that Jeff is acts out because there's disagreement in the comments section for a GB article? I would hope not. That sounds really childish.

I think he's referring to some of the rather nasty personal attacks towards Patrick.
That may be the usual explanation, but I'll believe that when I actually see Jeff or Patrick directly and accurately respond to a rebuttal or criticism from the community that doesn't include outright contempt at just having to talk to the rabble. For all the whining of how "personal" this thread has become, it really hasn't been that vicious at all, and many of the counterarguments have been especially sound. The problem comes from the fact that the staff tends to use "fuck off" as a go-to response for anything, not just for those who deserve it. That is, whenever any given community response isn't just mischaracterized entirely on the Bombcast.

Very true. No matter how big the backlash is on any given aspect of Giant Bomb, the writing staff tend to sweep it under the rug and sometimes just insult the people who had the problem. I get the sense that there are staff who care, they don't speak up because that would reflect badly on the others. There are only a handful of "personal attacks" in this thread, but I can guarantee Patrick will write this one off as "trolls" or something stupid, everyone will nod along, and nothing will change. Which is why I chuckled at those two posts saying that Patrick's career was over because of the negativity.

Posted by GoodKn1ght

@Rawson said:

Patrick, one of the first parties needed to make E3 "grow up" are game journalists themselves.

When Destructoid gets to literally go around "chest bumping" booth babes, something's incredibly wrong. Frankly, it makes me embarassed to even like video games when garbage like that is allowed to occur without industry-wide ostracizing.

Also, the glad handing. Yes, you touch on the DMC stripper, but there's also the issue of backstage demos giving out things like food and beer. That's a bribe, plain and simple, and violates basic journalistic ethics.

Destructoid is the spike tv of video games, no class but will be there to pander to dumb people. Food and beer? That's a huge stretch....

Posted by johngalt2

Pleease. The women just hate competition.

More booty please.

Posted by toots

@jakob187 said:

You know...

I'm sitting here and thinking about it...

Isn't this the same website that talks about stabbing dudes in the face and neck? The same website that makes inate sexual references on a regular basis on their podcast and in video content? The same website that spent a lengthy amount of time talking about Peter Molyneux's balls?

I mean, I get it - it's all in the sense of humor. At the same time, it's that immature sense of humor that people continually latch onto, and in turn, the Giant Bomb crew provides us with more and more of it on a daily basis. While we eat it up and beg for more, they are now posting up an article that is basically saying "hey, E3 needs to grow up because boobies shouldn't be at trade shows".

Yet...you guys can get paid for being immature, podcasting via live-stream under inebriated circumstances while other game developers do the same thing, and Jeff can make creepy jokes about games like Otomedius Excellent...and it's somehow magically better than some half-naked chicks trying to get a paycheck at a trade show?

I mean, it's not like the exhibitors are paying these chicks to blow you while you play the game. They are paid to look pretty, just as models ALL OVER THE WORLD are paid to look pretty. If you don't want to play the DS that is attached to the lady, then don't. That's your right...just as much as it's the right of the exhibitors to use scantily-clad women if they want to.

If it makes someone uncomfortable, well hey...guess what? I was made uncomfortable by the Bombcast talk of eating someone's leg. I mean that - I was literally uncomfortable to the point that I kept trying to skip past it...and it kept going and going and going. So, since I'm uncomfortable about you guys talking about eating someone's leg, can you now not talk about cannibalism again?

No. That's just me being uncomfortable with it. It means I skipped ahead and I avoided it, just the same as how you avoided playing DS games attached to some lady.

So...preaching about immaturity in the games industry when your website features a plethora of immaturity...seems like a bit of a double negative, yeah?

I'm not saying you guys aren't intelligent, that you don't talk about serious stuff, that you guys are jerk-offs or anything. I'm saying that if you want to complain about one thing, then you need to complain about everything else and even point the finger back at yourself when it comes to "immaturity in the gaming industry".\

I mean, for fuck's sake, Patrick... This website almost gave Game of the Year to SAINT'S ROW THE THIRD, A GAME THAT FEATURES MORE IMMATURITY THAN ANYTHING I CAN IMMEDIATELY THINK OF! (an amazing game that I thoroughly fucking loved by the way...not to raise the ire of Ryan like I'm Jason Rubin or something)

This about sums it up.

Posted by wardcleaver

@Tupacalypse said:

@Phished0ne said:

This article...man...this article, and these comments. I am going to start with with this statement, I hate the idea of using attractive women to promote a game, a service, a product, a store, anything. BUT, Modeling IS a profession, and im sure a lot of models really enjoy their jobs. Maybe not the ones who have to dance on a pole at the DMC booth. BUT it is, there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of using attractive women to draw attention to your booth.

It happens all the time, it is the purpose of the model in a lot of cases. Be it walking the catwalk at the Victoria Secret show, or walking around the nintendo booth with a 3DS strapped to them. They arent being forced to do it, they are getting payed(fat stacks of cash too, in a lot of cases) to do their job. We can argue until we are blue in the face if this is right. But it happens, and it isnt even a problem with video game industry, it is a problem with marketing and advertisement in general. Marketing companies want to take the easiest way out, so instead of focusing on the merits of their product, they focus on the easiest thing possible. If a woman wants to take a job showing off her body to promote a product, that is her right. Maybe she enjoys the attention, maybe she likes the money, but we cannot act like these women are being forced into these jobs. They aren't, its a decision THEY make.

Wanting to institute a convention-wide ban on 'booth babes'(isn't it fun when the people that are calling out against something use a term as degrading as they think the practice itself is?) is so asinine i dont even want to talk about it, but i will. A company should decide if they want to draw the people who would be drawn by that. If they make that decision, they should be allowed to. Outsiders are allowed to criticize and critique it as much as they want, but as long as using models is standard practice in the marketing world, they cannot ban it. It seems the people that want to ban them forget the most important point, models are people too. You think the people standing up against the 'terrible objectification of women' that this practice is, would hold strict to their baseline argument. They are people, if you start banning the practice, models will start to lose jobs.

this. I would really like the models to know a thing or two about the game or product they are working for too, but this sums up how I feel.

Sums up how I feel, too.

As far as the models not knowing about the products, that doesn't really bother me. To me, that is not their job. That is the developer's, marketing person's, etc., job. It would bother me more if the developer, marketing dude/dudette, etc. didn't know about the game they were presenting.

Posted by GaryDooton

@toots said:

@jakob187 said:

You know...

I'm sitting here and thinking about it...

Isn't this the same website that talks about stabbing dudes in the face and neck? The same website that makes inate sexual references on a regular basis on their podcast and in video content? The same website that spent a lengthy amount of time talking about Peter Molyneux's balls?

I mean, I get it - it's all in the sense of humor. At the same time, it's that immature sense of humor that people continually latch onto, and in turn, the Giant Bomb crew provides us with more and more of it on a daily basis. While we eat it up and beg for more, they are now posting up an article that is basically saying "hey, E3 needs to grow up because boobies shouldn't be at trade shows".

Yet...you guys can get paid for being immature, podcasting via live-stream under inebriated circumstances while other game developers do the same thing, and Jeff can make creepy jokes about games like Otomedius Excellent...and it's somehow magically better than some half-naked chicks trying to get a paycheck at a trade show?

I mean, it's not like the exhibitors are paying these chicks to blow you while you play the game. They are paid to look pretty, just as models ALL OVER THE WORLD are paid to look pretty. If you don't want to play the DS that is attached to the lady, then don't. That's your right...just as much as it's the right of the exhibitors to use scantily-clad women if they want to.

If it makes someone uncomfortable, well hey...guess what? I was made uncomfortable by the Bombcast talk of eating someone's leg. I mean that - I was literally uncomfortable to the point that I kept trying to skip past it...and it kept going and going and going. So, since I'm uncomfortable about you guys talking about eating someone's leg, can you now not talk about cannibalism again?

No. That's just me being uncomfortable with it. It means I skipped ahead and I avoided it, just the same as how you avoided playing DS games attached to some lady.

So...preaching about immaturity in the games industry when your website features a plethora of immaturity...seems like a bit of a double negative, yeah?

I'm not saying you guys aren't intelligent, that you don't talk about serious stuff, that you guys are jerk-offs or anything. I'm saying that if you want to complain about one thing, then you need to complain about everything else and even point the finger back at yourself when it comes to "immaturity in the gaming industry".\

I mean, for fuck's sake, Patrick... This website almost gave Game of the Year to SAINT'S ROW THE THIRD, A GAME THAT FEATURES MORE IMMATURITY THAN ANYTHING I CAN IMMEDIATELY THINK OF! (an amazing game that I thoroughly fucking loved by the way...not to raise the ire of Ryan like I'm Jason Rubin or something)

This about sums it up.

Indeed it does - it sums up the lengths of bullshit some people will go to to not say "but I want to look at pretty girls and don't care about the feelings of women who attend E3 and other such shows, because that might rain on my boner".

Stop being so flagrantly pathetic - Giant Bomb make some silly jokes that are pretty funny and delivered in moderation and with an obvious sense of irony. Sadly, you need a modicum of intelligence to understand that, so it's clearly gone over your head.

The argument of "hey you've talked about violence and balls before so you have no right to question certain practices within the industry" is so painfully ridiculous I don't know where to begin. Also, you're daming them for drinking booze and attempting to equate it to cynically selling videogames by tethering women to handheld consoles? What world do you come from?

I think it's particularly weird that Nintendo are doing this, seeing as they're sort of known as the family-friendly company amongst the three market leaders, as far as their software output goes.

Also, I love the "since when did Giant Bomb become..." comments, because that EXACT sentence, with "Giant Bomb" replaced by whatever site an article questioning the representation of women in the industry (or indeed any artistic or moral issues) arises whenever the poor little narrow-minded, powerful right-forearmed, immature walking wankathons have to stop and think about their hobby for more than twelve seconds.

Also the "BUT WHAT ABOUT VIOLENCE" complaint is really stupid. Yes, I've also heard of violence. It exists, indeed. I do believe that's a totally different issue, though, which I thought was blindingly, maddeningly obvious.

It's as if the sexism issue doesn't exist, purely because there is violence in videogames. It's a view which shows a complete lack of understanding of the problem.

This community needs to grow up, never mind E3.

Posted by GaryDooton

Also, here's some related reading from the man that puts things better than anyone ever does, ever can and ever will, Mr Charlie Brooker: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/17/sometimes-hard-woman-made-pixels

"Last month the creators of the game Hitman drew widespread criticism for a grisly promotional trailer that showed the main (male) character slaughtering a group of S&M killer nuns. Since this was merely the logical conclusion of a deeply boring trend for rubberised female assassins that's been going on since the 1990s, some gamers were surprised by the outcry, and became indignant and defensive, as though someone had just walked in and caught them masturbating to the same goat porn they'd been innocently enjoying for decades, and judging them and making them feel bad."

And before you start, he's a gamer, so don't give it the "he knows nothing" bullshit.

Posted by eigenstates

@ANDS said:

My god what an asinine comment. Paying (not forcing) hyper-sexualized to the point of fantasy women to help advertise your product to a male dominated tradeshow is not a symptom of female abuse or misogyny...

You are aware of what the word misogyny means right? Sexual objectification of women... so would your comment then qualify for the asinine label as well? And payment does not disqualify abuse and can in fact make one feel justified in perpetrating it. Which is sick.

Posted by flindip

@eigenstates said:

@ANDS said:

My god what an asinine comment. Paying (not forcing) hyper-sexualized to the point of fantasy women to help advertise your product to a male dominated tradeshow is not a symptom of female abuse or misogyny...

You are aware of what the word misogyny means right? Sexual objectification of women... so would your comment then qualify for the asinine label as well? And payment does not disqualify abuse and can in fact make one feel justified in perpetrating it. Which is sick.

Sexual objectification of woman is considered a symptom of misogyny, not the actual meaning of the word itself. The actual meaning of the word is a hatred or strong dislike of women.

You might consider it semantics, but I think you are misrepresenting yourself.

Edited by MonkeyKing1969

This is not going away. You can use wit, aspersions, banter, comebacks, contempt, cynicism, derision, digs, disparagement, flouting, irony, mockery, scoffing, scorn, sharpness, and wisecracks but it remains that how women are shown in games is now under more careful scrutiny and discussion. You can point out Patrick dancing or Jeff's knowledge of hip-hop as hippocracy, but in the end they know their own minds and have no worries

That is not to say the game under scrutiny this year are going away or that even the critics of such games want them to go away. I rather doubt the hope for games to go away, because what most people hope is the the people making games and the people playing games will merely take a more critical eye towards what is made and what is played. Games like Dead or Alive or Lollipop Chainsaw will not go away, and we will see more 'leather nuns' and medieval warrior-women in metal bikinis in future games. But, in all likelihood when we play such game we will be more aware of the tropes that are their basis.

I actually see all the controversy around gaming this year as healthy. It shows core games are being played and viewed by a wider audience. And that wider audience will not unquestionably play or ignore imagery, concepts, dialogue or stories they find troubling. When they don't like something they will say so. No amount of screaming STFU at them will make them stop, like I said above we are passed the point where screaming loudly and being sarcastic will shut anyone up. The tide is turning' folks, you can wade out to punch the relentless waves or you can join the party up on the sand.

Posted by EndlessLotus

Well, the women are paid and consenting. Objectifying them? Sure.

But they wanted the job....

Posted by GaryDooton

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

This is not going away. You can use wit, aspersions, banter, comebacks, contempt, cynicism, derision, digs, disparagement, flouting, irony, mockery, scoffing, scorn, sharpness, and wisecracks but it remains that how women are shown in games is now under more careful scrutiny and discussion. You can point out Patrick dancing or Jeff's knowledge of hip-hop as hippocracy, but in the end they know theri own minds and have no worries

That is not to say the game under scrutiny this year are going away or that even the critics of such games want them to go away. I rather doubt the hope for games to go away, because what most people hope is the the people making games and the people playing games will merely take a more critical eye towards what is made and what is played. Games like Dead or Alive or Lollipop Chainsaw will not go away, and we will see more 'leather nuns' and medieval warrior-women in metal bikinis in future games. But, in all likelihood when we play such game we will be more aware of the tropes that are their basis.

I actually see all the controversy around gaming this year as healthy. It shows core games are being played and viewed by a wider audience. And that wider audience will not unquestionably play or ignore imagery, concepts, dialogue or stories they find troubling. When they don't like something they will say so. No amount of screaming STFU at them will make them stop, like I said above we are passed the point where screaming loudly and being sarcastic will shut anyone up. The tide is turning' folks, you can wade out to punch the relentless waves or you can join the party up on the sand.

Thank you. And I agree with the gaming audience widening point. This flow of questioning and resistance is the sign of change and development of our treasured hobby into something more special, bigger than before.

@EndlessLotus said:

Well, the women are paid and consenting. Objectifying them? Sure.

But they wanted the job....

Yes, but what of women attending the show that aren't "booth babes"? I would feel really awkward and uncomfortable. Hell, I would feel that way as a man, to be honest. Women fucking CHAINED to things? Really? That seems fine to people, does it?

Posted by EndlessLotus

You might feel uncomfortable, but... that's your problem. If the women themselves have to problem with it, why should you make one for them?

Edited by Nintendude92

It is no different than babes at Car shows or any other tradeshow. It is a standard and attacking E3 is not going to help it.

I can understand feeling uncomfortable with playing a unit tethered to a sexy woman if you're like that. But they are all part of having fun. And women in part have to step up and say "I don't want to be paid to look good on the show floor". My girl was offered a position as a booth babe for that very screenshot. She didn't take it because she wouldn't feel comfortable earning money that way. Mind you I might have complained, but she said that before I got a word in.

The "industry" involved with this needs to stop beating around the bush and let women respect and decide for themselves. It is not the worst thing to be hired as a rep in a good looking uniform to have a little fun at a show that is well, about having fun and seeing everything.

We are no better with the videos of "Look at me ask game questions to women who have no idea!" -- so I have a hard time taking these concerns seriously.

Posted by GaryDooton

That's not the point - as I said in that last post, it's about women beyond the booth babes themselves and how they might feel about this.

The other, easier to understand issue is that it's unbearably tacky and cheap, and makes me want to vomit into my gaming e-wallet.

Posted by removesstains

Here's an idea, just ignore it. Sorry but this article seems pointless.

Posted by sBlacksmith

I don't think individual women's rights should be ignored for the sake of collective women's image.

Posted by flindip

@sBlacksmith said:

I don't think individual women's rights should be ignored for the sake of collective women's image.

This isn't a woman's rights issue though. Nobody is preventing anybody to do anything. This is an argument about perceptions, not female rights.

Posted by emjaylawthertin

I'm sure it'll never happen at E3, but some forward-thinking developer or game concern should take a cue from the movie "Slap Shot." That movie ended with what I think is a commentary on what the general public sees as an offensive spectacle when the main character refuses to fight but pulls a skating-rink strip tease in front of a dying Rust Belt town. What I took from the ending is that people can be roused to think hard about their own preconceptions if they are forced to confront a carefully-executed counter to their preconceptions.

So take a cue from that and do something subversive and intelligent. Have scantily-clad dudes milling around the show floor while highly knowledgeable female staff in either street clothes or work-appropriate PR clothing field questions and do interviews. Take a cue from that photo from the article regarding "Devil May Cry" and have clones of Dante milling around the Capcom booth to sell their newest version, for example. And make sure that only the women have actual knowledge about the game's development or technical details.

If the ESA washes its hands of what vendors do up to a certain point (short of out-and-out pornography or stripping) then a publisher should run with it to make a point.

But then again, it is a trade show in a struggling economy - risks are probably hard to come by nowadays...

Posted by flindip

@mjlaw13 said:

I'm sure it'll never happen at E3, but some forward-thinking developer or game concern should take a cue from the movie "Slap Shot." That movie ended with what I think is a commentary on what the general public sees as an offensive spectacle when the main character refuses to fight but pulls a skating-rink strip tease in front of a dying Rust Belt town. What I took from the ending is that people can be roused to think hard about their own preconceptions if they are forced to confront a carefully-executed counter to their preconceptions.

So take a cue from that and do something subversive and intelligent. Have scantily-clad dudes milling around the show floor while highly knowledgeable female staff in either street clothes or work-appropriate PR clothing field questions and do interviews. Take a cue from that photo from the article regarding "Devil May Cry" and have clones of Dante milling around the Capcom booth to sell their newest version, for example. And make sure that only the women have actual knowledge about the game's development or technical details.

If the ESA washes its hands of what vendors do up to a certain point (short of out-and-out pornography or stripping) then a publisher should run with it to make a point.

But then again, it is a trade show in a struggling economy - risks are probably hard to come by nowadays...

Thats a hilarious idea, and something that would be completely fine. But I don't think its going to get the response or the outrage that the people were hoping that was intended. Some guys would maybe be uncomfortable, most would probably laugh or brush it off. You would have to do the ENTIRE trade show like that, to get some sort of response imo. That aint going to happen.

Posted by ANDS

@eigenstates:

There is a difference between someone performing a role in a commerical sense, and someone performing a role in a social sense. Sexual objectification refers to the palcement of women in a social role that is solely for the pleasure of man. Booth Babes are performing a commercial function, not a social one. Surely you see the difference.

At best you can argue/whine/kvetch that the BB's perpetuate SOCIAL acceptance of misogynistic mores, but that assumes two things: that those using BB are doing so to enforce these social mores AND that E3 attendees buy into such a conceit. As I said earlier, I doubt even a small minority of E3 attendees see BB's as little more than eye-candy meant to attract them a product; and there is nothing wrong with that. There is only an issue if a person extrapolates to the "real world".

Posted by Shtinky

@toots said:

@jakob187 said:

You know...

I'm sitting here and thinking about it...

Isn't this the same website that talks about stabbing dudes in the face and neck? The same website that makes inate sexual references on a regular basis on their podcast and in video content? The same website that spent a lengthy amount of time talking about Peter Molyneux's balls?

I mean, I get it - it's all in the sense of humor. At the same time, it's that immature sense of humor that people continually latch onto, and in turn, the Giant Bomb crew provides us with more and more of it on a daily basis. While we eat it up and beg for more, they are now posting up an article that is basically saying "hey, E3 needs to grow up because boobies shouldn't be at trade shows".

Yet...you guys can get paid for being immature, podcasting via live-stream under inebriated circumstances while other game developers do the same thing, and Jeff can make creepy jokes about games like Otomedius Excellent...and it's somehow magically better than some half-naked chicks trying to get a paycheck at a trade show?

I mean, it's not like the exhibitors are paying these chicks to blow you while you play the game. They are paid to look pretty, just as models ALL OVER THE WORLD are paid to look pretty. If you don't want to play the DS that is attached to the lady, then don't. That's your right...just as much as it's the right of the exhibitors to use scantily-clad women if they want to.

If it makes someone uncomfortable, well hey...guess what? I was made uncomfortable by the Bombcast talk of eating someone's leg. I mean that - I was literally uncomfortable to the point that I kept trying to skip past it...and it kept going and going and going. So, since I'm uncomfortable about you guys talking about eating someone's leg, can you now not talk about cannibalism again?

No. That's just me being uncomfortable with it. It means I skipped ahead and I avoided it, just the same as how you avoided playing DS games attached to some lady.

So...preaching about immaturity in the games industry when your website features a plethora of immaturity...seems like a bit of a double negative, yeah?

I'm not saying you guys aren't intelligent, that you don't talk about serious stuff, that you guys are jerk-offs or anything. I'm saying that if you want to complain about one thing, then you need to complain about everything else and even point the finger back at yourself when it comes to "immaturity in the gaming industry".\

I mean, for fuck's sake, Patrick... This website almost gave Game of the Year to SAINT'S ROW THE THIRD, A GAME THAT FEATURES MORE IMMATURITY THAN ANYTHING I CAN IMMEDIATELY THINK OF! (an amazing game that I thoroughly fucking loved by the way...not to raise the ire of Ryan like I'm Jason Rubin or something)

This about sums it up.

Yup, pretty much.

Posted by DanTheGamer32

@Rawson: I usually try to forget that destructoid even exists...

Posted by WMWA

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