Eurogamer Expo Begins Booth Babe Ban Next Year

The use of paid models to advertise inside of conventions — better known as hiring booth babes — has been contentious for many years. E3 is chock full of hired promotional models; PAX (and PAX East) ban the practice.

The Eurogamer Expo, which takes place in London every autumn and attracts roughly 50,000 visitors, is now following PAX's lead. Eurogamer head Rupert Loman explained the ban, which begins with the 2013 Expo, on the site's forums today.

Loman described the origins of the Expo, and said "We want the games to do the talking and we want to present games and gamers in the best possible light." The Expo, he explained, has always had an informal stance discouraging exhibitors from hiring booth babes, but after this year — where three companies ignored the guideline — it's becoming an explicit rule. "Of course, exhibitors need to bring staff to the show," Loman acknowledged, "but they should be interesting, cool and exciting (Master Chief was /amazing/!) and knowledgeable (developers and publisher staff) rather than pretty girls in revealing outfits just for the sake of it. We want the show to be friendly, and all 50,000 attendees to feel comfortable."

The companies who disregarded the guideline and brought promotional models with them this year were reassigned to the 18+ area of the convention floor. Next year, the policy will be a blanket, "Booth babes are Not OK."

In another post on the site, columnist Rab Florence added that, "it's important in life to look not only at what things are, but also at what they do and what they mean," and highlighted that from his point of view, "women's place at any tech-related event can only be as an attractive decoration to sweeten the event for the men. It says that women aren't truly welcome in that world, because the moment you objectify something it isn't part of anything. It's just there. It's just something else to be consumed. Fundamentally, it depicts a woman as a product."

The same old arguments come up every time any talk about conventions, models, and the combination of the two does. It's not just about seeing women in revealing clothes, and banning the practice isn't some kind of ultra-conservative censorship. Companies who hire models solely to attract visitors to their booths, without involving those workers in any other capacity of design or sales, are sending negative messages to nearly everyone. They're telling men that the product doesn't matter, only the pretty ladies do. They're telling women that their presence as consumers — their time and money — aren't wanted. And they continue to perpetuate a stereotype that can do real damage to the perception of women working in the games industry.

By having (and using) an age-gated, 18+ zone at the convention, and by banning exhibitors from using booth babes, Eurogamer is taking positive steps toward making their event more welcoming and accessible not just for one narrow slice of the population, but for the entire wide diversity of people who play games.

Booth Babes and the Expo [Eurogamer] Lost Humanity 15: Booth Babes [Eurogamer]

Top photo: Eurogamer blog


Comments

    So what if a good looking woman just happens to be the demonstrator for a product. Not because she is a good looking woman but just because she is the demonstrator. Is this not ok? And what if that good looking female demonstrator is wearing a low cut top as some women do. Would she get banned?
    I mean I have seen some damn pretty ladies that work for companies on games.

      “Of course, exhibitors need to bring staff to the show,” Loman acknowledged, “but they should be interesting, cool and exciting (Master Chief was /amazing/!) and knowledgeable (developers and publisher staff) rather than pretty girls in revealing outfits just for the sake of it.

    Booth babes are attractive models hired to advertise a product with very little knowledge of said product. Pax still has attractive women at times they just need to have product knowledge and not using their looks to sell the product. So the ban isn't on attrative women in general, it's on attractive women without product knowledge using said looks to advertise and promote a product. If the representative is trained and knowledgeable and dressed within reason there isn't a problem.

    So where do people who are in a game lie? Ie live actors. I know it doesn't happen much anymore but still I wouldn't always expect someone hired to do cutscenes to be super knowledgeable. I know it's more of a semantic argument. It was my train of thought after reading the article and contemplating Die Anna from Carmageddon. Not even a cutscene there. Couldn't see companies saying "Look Ms. X was in the game. NOT A BOOTH BABE!" but you never know...

    That's E2 down, E3 to go.

    Nooo why would they do that? meh article too long :D

    good to hear
    the practice was always cheap and frankly confusing, why would you want to distract from you product at an expo? regardless of the sexism side it just seemed like poor business practice

    Once again women are excluded from gaming.

    :-P

    Why is appreciating what a women knows (like a book or computer) not objectification, when appreciating the way they look (like a sculpture or painting) is?

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