In Defense of ‘Booth Babes’ at E3 (Sort Of)

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 10:14 am,

Defense of E3 Booth Babes

If you are an avid gamer and follower of all things E3, you may have noticed a lot of post-conference articles from gaming journalists condemning the show. It seems to be a yearly exercise in naval gazing with one of the major complaints being the existence of the “booth babe.”

For whatever reason, this argument has been especially en vogue this year, reaching a new apex of contempt amongst many of the most “seasoned” gaming journalists.

At Game Rant, we generally try to avoid becoming involved with faux controversy and stick to gaming news, reviews, and previews, but the public focus and condemnation of the show as prepubescent male fantasy run amuck because it had models dressed provocatively is mindboggling. Especially when one considers this is not a new phenomenon and exists throughout the entertainment industry.

Because of “booth babes,” E3 now apparently needs to be fixed, killed, or labeled a non-industry event. Articles have noted how offensive “booth babes” are to women, how they potentially damage business opportunities, why they reinforce the immature gamer stereotype, and how they offend even some males’ sensibilities. Some journalists speak of the dehumanization and objectification of women and their horror and revulsion that they and “normal female gamers” have to endure such an experience.

All the while, these same journalists continually use the term “booth babe,” a clearly sexist and derogatory phrase that implies the individuals in question are merely objects that offer nothing beyond their looks, and they criticize those individuals who clearly have no problem with the presence of models.

Booth babe E3 2012

The power of "booth babes" in action.

One such respected writer wrote an opinion piece about the potential loss of business due to publishers’ use of booth models. The research upon which he mainly relied came from the ESA annual fact sheet, which stated in general terms that 53% of the gamer population was male and 47% were female. Therefore, the argument goes, publishers risk offending 47% of the marketplace by using provocatively dressed women to market their games.

Of course, the devil is in the details, and statistics are notoriously shaky to rely upon when the supporting data is not revealed as well. The study cited that, “[m]ore than 2,000 nationally representative households” were used as the data pool, a rather small sample size to use for a country of over 300 million people, but that was far from its only weakness. The specific questions asked of the survey participants are unknown, and more importantly, the definition of the word “gamer” or “video game” is not defined in the study results. Other mainstream studies have suffered from the same problem.

Anecdotally, more women, especially those in the younger demographic, do appear to be playing “hardcore” titles during this console generation, but it’s doubtful that even the most optimistic assessment would put that amount at 47%. Many of the female gamers cited by the ESA clearly come from the nontraditional pool, playing casual and mobile games. In 2008, a Nielsen study showed that women over the age of 25 years old made up the largest block of PC game players “accounting for 46.2 percent of all players and 54.6 percent of all game play minutes in December 2008.” However, the most played games on the PC were pre-installed games from Microsoft, with the most played game being “Solitaire with over 17 million players for the month of December 2008.”

Since then, the popularity of mobile and social games have exploded, leading Zynga’s Director of Brand Advertising, Manny Anekal, to brag that the 40 year-old mom is the new hardcore gamer. Which begs the question: Is the event targeting consumers that play games like Solitaire, Farmville, and Words with Friends, so that this large gaming sector could be potentially offended by booth models? Of course not, and the stated business impact of their presence at E3 is overstated at best.

Furthermore, E3 is not open to the general public but to a select audience:

In 2012, leading computer and video game companies, business partners, media and industry analysts from over 100 countries will converge on the Los Angeles Convention Center.

E3 2012 will welcome software developers, buyers and retailers, programmers, distributors, entertainment industry representatives, financiers and venture capitalists, importers and exporters, manufacturers, resellers, researchers, educators, financial and industry analysts and worldwide electronic and print media.

Accordingly, those arguing that the presence of models at E3 sends the wrong message to the public at large about the industry and could hurt video game business amongst women seem to be overlooking a few critical factors: a) none of the gaming public is actually present at E3; and b) E3 events and the booths from the show are seen by a sliver of the population. Thus, the impact here is minimal at best.

Not to mention the fact that “pretty girls” are used for marketing purposes in every entertainment subgenre imaginable: cheerleaders, ring girls, dancers at sporting events, commercials, movies, car shows, magazines, etc. For better or worse, sex as a marketing tool does work, and you better believe there would be “booth dudes” at E3 if that was an effective way to generate press coverage or business opportunities.

Lollipop Chainsaw PAX East Jessica Nigri Cosplay Juliet Starling

Some argue that such blatant exploitation of the lizard brain should be banned since it has nothing to do with gaming, is in bad taste, and that it is offensive to other women at the show. While all three accusations may be true, should censorship end with the models based upon these arguments? Shouldn’t female cosplayers supporting a particular product be banned as well? One argument has been posed that a cosplayer should be exempt because they are at least tied to the product in a personally direct way, but that didn’t stop people from being offended by Jessica Nigiri’s Lollipop Chainsaw costume at PAX East, and she was eventually told to change clothes. Plus, cosplayer outfits are often more provocative then those worn by booth models.

And why shouldn’t “sexy” female reporters be restricted as well? Sure, they may be real gamers but unlike the models, these journalists are actually seen by the public, and as such, are ambassadors of the gaming industry. Think that’s overreaching? Then watch this video (somewhat NSFW) of a report about a PlayStation 3 pornography app (!) shown off at E3 this year that garnered little controversy:

Granted, the video was filmed in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but is the presence of booth models at the show more offensive or sexist than the marketing of a porn app through provocative on screen personalities?

Here is another “interesting” report from a game journalist playing the new Harry Potter game on the Kinect in an rather unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on your point of view) outfit:

Are such videos any less reliant on titillation than models? No, and that’s the problem when the press tries to become the arbiter of “good taste.” Where should the censorship start and end? One person’s line in the sand is another’s safe zone, and all minds are never going to agree on what should be allowed.

The real irony of this tempest in a teapot is that there is so much focus on these booth employees instead of actual sexism in the GAMES, which actually make it into the public arena. Games like Bayonetta, Dead or Alive, and Lollipop Chainsaw are much more supportive of the male fantasy argument than a few women trying to entice some E3 attendees to check out their product, but the backlash these titles have received has been minor in comparison.

Ultimately, banning booth models fails to correct sexism in video games or the industry itself and doesn’t do anything to move the needle sales-wise. The move is a feckless request that only soothes the minds of those embarrassed by the boy’s club mentality that currently does exist.

That’s not to say that a serious analysis of sexism in the industry isn’t long overdue (and this documentary by Anita Sarkeesian looks to do just that), but let’s not put a band-aid over a gaping wound and expect to be cured.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment below, but let’s keep it civil.


This article by Katie Williams of Kotaku Australia wherein she recounts being treated dismissively by public relations employees at E3 is just damn heartbreaking. Both blatant and subtle sexual discrimination against women act as a major barrier to entry and upward mobility in the industry and prevent the mechanism for real substantial change from ever occurring. Exposing this and other similar types of despicable behavior is where the focus should be rather than singularly blaming booth models for E3’s deficiencies.

TAGS: E3 2010, E3 2011, E3 2012, E3 2013

  • Alex

    All right, while all of you have made some pretty good points you ALL miss the central issue. Its impossible for ANYONE to be the standard for decency in ANY atmosphere from car shows to game shows to journalism to walking down the beach while the only real issue that is CREATING the controversy is the appearance of women in the general public. If I walk into Wal Mart and buy cookies and milk and see a couple of girls fresh in from a day at the beach who never thought to put their tops back on the presence of obvious cleavage is going to get my attention. Bikinis (socially accepted swimwear) leave little to the imagination, and this is UNDERSTOOD by all women. You strip down, you get noticed, someone might even catcall. You walk down the street dressed like that, you might get honked at. You seem to be ok with it on the beach, where everyone is on a “level” playing field, but you forget, the boobs don’t cover up as well as pecs, and you STILL manage to garner attention from BOTH sexes. Guys like it, girls who don’t look as good feel diminished. NO ONE HAS SAID A SINGLE WORD YET. SO how can you expect anything OTHER than blatant exploitation from the general public? Some girls are OK with booth babes, others feel excluded. No words have to be spoken, its just a feeling generated by observation. How you you expect to regulate that? The only method currently on the block is the Muslim berka, and I think EVERYONE on this board would say that one is a FAIL! It makes women faceless, shapeless, and levels the playing field by makeing EVERYONE the same. Restricted. You are railing against nature when you look another girl who you think is hotter than you, who is shamelessly displaying herself, and feel anger that she is there, making you feel bad. Women need to get their act togeather, because its impossible to please all angles of this feel good about myself argument. ESPECIALLY in a general public setting. At home with my wife, or when we are out togeather I can show her that regardless of who passes by she is my object of focus, and thats what I do. But I notice that no matter where we are, if anyone walks by who looks cute she is watching me just as much as the other girl, testing my reaction to the presence of a potential competitor for my desire. We have been married for 8 years, I’ve never strayed. This is what every woman does, because every woman has ingrained in them a competition for most attention dirtected at them, and an instant jealousy for antother woman who gets more than their fair share. But you leave the fixing of this problem up to the male community, AS IF WE ARE THE OFFENDERS HERE! There are TWO sides to this problem, and woman need to step up and shoulder some responsibility. Nature dictates that procreation is a ever present drive, the mind reins in the desire to excersize that drive with all viable candidates. But its a struggle, not a truce. Woman have a different drive, to find security. Once upon a time the protection of a man was the only answer to that. Now, socital laws and a good paying job can replace the need to find a protector male. Your needs can be met by society, but the male drive does not simply go away. And women have only recently (perspectivly) been accorded the same statue as men. You have not figured out a perfect solution yet. And leaving a solution to the male half of the species means that our drives will dominate the answer. So tinker one up yourselves, and what does not work adjust. I have 4 sisters, all of whom are hard working professionals in their fields. Every one of them acknowledges the existance of this imperfect solution to womens rights versus societies limitations. They work around it by accepting what they cannot control, and controlling the circumstances and locations they find themselves in to control what they will not accept.

  • lifer

    So your saying you like girls boobs and butt. Me too! Girls gotta work and if she can make some money this way then so be it! would I want to have a relationship with a girl who dresses like that all the time? hell no. Looks only go so far past my bedroom door. A girl with some intelligence and decent communication abilities is a BIG help. Sure a few of the booth girls could fit that profile, but unless one of them chime in, we will never know. I like boobs and butt just as much as the next guy and girl so let them do what they do and be happy they even talk to you.

    • Mark Duval

      And how do you think this makes the female developers there feel when they’re assumed to be just eye candy and not taken seriously? Industry vet Brenda Garno was vocal about this on Twitter during, expressing her disgust at and how it’s intimidating and off putting for female developers. Shouldn’t we listen to her views, a woman and an experienced developer?

      • TaboriHK

        According to a lot of the commenters here and a lot of people in general, the answer is no, or that she’s just mistaken and needs to change her mind to be more like ours. Seriously, I can’t imagine being a woman in this industry. To be surrounded by people who can’t even conceptualize on a basic level how their experience is different must be serious depressing.

        • Alex

          Actually TaboriHK what I am saying is that the woman is part of the problem, and part of the solution. But just calling on the world as a whole to fix something is akin to whistling in the dark. Especially something that is tied with biological imperitives. If women want different treatment, they should comport themselves differently. And when they see other women who are bringing the sex down by selling their looks to support their lifestyle, they should make it their job to point that out to the “booth babes” because you’re simply not going to get that change from the other half of the species. Be real about who and what we are (the human race), you will get farther.

          • TaboriHK

            No, I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous. It’s not a woman’s fault how a man treats them. It’s the man’s fault how he treats them. What YOU do to a person, as an individual, or as a group, is on YOU. They didn’t make you do anything. Blaming the victim is only a terrible thing to do and not even kind of part of any solution to the problem. It’s our responsibility as humans, either male or female, who see an issue to try and address it.

          • Alex

            There is no contest that a victim is not to blame for what was done to them (although there have been cases where “victims” were just gaming the law to gain a monetary advantage) but women can control how men respond to them, and thats the side of the coin that you are not admitting to. You want men to shoulder all the responcibilty (which they have their fair share to take on) and then you do NOTHING to require a woman to behave appropriatly. The whole feminist movement was based on the idea that women have equal rights with men, that was the tagline. But the unspoken agenda became that women could do whatever they pleased, and men had to respond as if they were of the same sex. It even invaded the military! How stupid and blind a species are we to recognize that we are different (a patent observation) and then ignore the fact that our differences (right down to the pheromone level) are there to (speaking purely in a scientific perspective) ensure the continuation of the species. And the animal kingdom around us displays this same behaviour, because its not burdened by self awareness. But even the AK shows a distinct awareness of the differences between the members of the species. And in addressing this problem (which I agree is a problem) we need to as well.

          • TaboriHK

            Human rights don’t need to take physical differences into account. Respect is not dictated by how fast you can run a marathon or how good you are at being a hunter gatherer. It’s 2012. Can I lift more than a girl half my size? Probably. Does that mean I’m twice as good? No. It’s 100% irrelevant.

      • lifer

        Bullshnikes! If there was a sexy hunk of a guy dressed as the guy in God of War, Italian male models dressed in suggestive plumber outfits, she would object? no. Getting rid of booth girls will not fix this “problem”. If you don’t want it to be sexist then get guys of the same league and have them do the same thing the booth girls are doing. I will ALWAYS have more respect for Brenda than any booth girl, but for her to complain about it like that is not helping her cause. If she was to demand hot guys dressed as popular video game characters or representing a game company then that would get results.

        • lifer

          Also if Branda would step up and get out into the floor and get let people know who she is, then she would get a bigger croud than any booth girl can. Brenda doesn’t give herself enough credit. She is a female winning in a male dominant industry. I would want to talk to her than some booth girl who was fed lines and would care less for anything I’m interested in.

        • Androol

          “Bullshnikes! If there was a sexy hunk of a guy dressed as the guy in God of War, Italian male models dressed in suggestive plumber outfits, she would object? no.”

          A: But there ISN’T a sexy hunk or an Italian male model. B: I like how you answer the question yourself. Very even-handed rhetoric there.

          As for “demanding hot guys,” I would be surprised if E3-going women particularly wanted that. Like I’ve said before, the context of E3 doesn’t really scream for hotties of either sex, so I doubt women are there thinking, “Man, this place needs some dudes in banana-hammocks.” For that matter, I doubt any guy ever “demanded” hot girls be added to E3, either. Some publisher just had that idea to get attention for a crappy game, and it worked because of course it did, and it caught on with other publishers, so we got to where we are now.

          • TaboriHK

            Exactly. Kratos isn’t a sexual fantasy for women – it’s a male empowerment fantasy for men. All the guys trying to balance it out by just throwing hot guys in, have no understanding of the underlying issue. Women are not asking for sex, they’re asking for equal regard. Throwing a guy in a thong at them is insulting.

          • Matt

            “Kratos isn’t a sexual fantasy for women…”

            How do you know? Did you ask every woman on the planet? No, you didn’t. So you can’t say that. Now, I’m not defending what lifer said, I’m just saying that you can’t make that assumption.

          • Androol

            Though it is certainly difficult to imagine anything being sexier to a woman than an ashen psychopath who murdered his wife and daughter.

          • TaboriHK

            Kratos, who has minigame threesomes and murders gods…yeah, I can’t see how that could be designed to appeal to males.

          • Alex

            Men of equal regard for each other have traded stories of home during a lull in the shooting and then when the battle resumed have gone on to kill each other. Women are not really asking for that, though I think they WOULD ask for equality in the way their peers view them (of both sexes). Thats not unreasonable, but they DO need to recognize that men will ALWAYS be more suited to some lines of work, and so to say that they should have equal treatment in those areas is the same as a man saying that given the need he could lactate and breastfeed in a pinch, seeing how he DOES possess the proper glands. He would deserve the laugh and ridicule he got from HIS peers for such a statement.

          • TaboriHK


            Women are not asking for the right to car doors off. They’re asking to not be considered sex toys just because men have sex with them. I have no idea what you think this conversation is actually about.

          • TaboriHK


          • Alex

            Well, if the author of the article is any indication the conversation is about womens frustration with being pigeonholed as “sex toys” but NOT wanting to admit the fact that there are differences between the sexes. The comments (I am including you in this TaboriHK) are failing just as did the author in not noting the problem is more pervasive and underlying than just a gamer and sales in general problem. Its a general mass confusion with womens place in society that is told to accept her as an equal, but than told to treat her deferentially because of her differences (lame sex jokes are a common workplace phenomena among all male employees, but when you introduce a woman to the equation everything gets tricky because of feminine sensibilities) and then woman themselves both wish to celebrate their looks (modeling) but only in a way that does not make them feel uncomfortable, even though flaunting your curves DOES turn most mens heads. Do I need to be more specific about the logical box the article and and comments being made are actually in? Or do you need more time to rattle around before admiting the lack of a proper door?

          • TaboriHK

            You have strayed long and far without thusfar successfully getting at why you think women don’t deserve equal treatment. I’m still waiting for something that logically justifies, not just in your mind but also in reality, how it’s the fault of women how men treat them by default.

          • TaboriHK

            Here, I’ll give you the easy answer to the question: a woman’s place in society is by other men and women, as equals. Some will be physically suited for some jobs, some will be intellectually suited for others, and all will be considered on individual merits in the field they want to be a part of. That’s the woman’s place in this society. The only confusion comes from men who can’t understand that a woman’s perspective is different than theirs, but equally important. And because they try to think FOR women, AS men, we have this long-winded nonsense babble.

  • Dovahkiin

    just saying, how many of you actually are not upset if they get rid of them?

    • Rob Keyes

      If they were banned at E3 – a trade-only event, I can’t think of anyone who’d be seriously upset.

      I think the point Jason is making, is that it’s a symptom of the problem. Nowhere does he argue they *should* be a part of the event.

      What I think would happen if the ESA were to ban it, is that some publishers/PR/marketers would still have men and women dressed as characters from their games and if those characters are from a game with scantily clad women… See the problem (there’s an image of this in the post if you’re following)? Not sure how to fix that until they ban cheerleaders at NFL games and women wearing lingerei off of magazine covers in grocery stories.

      • TaboriHK

        That’s the “let’s not address it” excuse. The problem of sexism won’t go away on its own. Companies of course will try to find a way to skirt it, but ultimately a PR person’s job is to make a game popular with an audience that will give it money, and if they feel like the “throw women at it” approach doesn’t work, they’ll eventually stop on their own.

        • Rob Keyes

          I have a question, and this is more food for thought and not to start an argument. I’m not disagreeing with you, but if someone’s asking for a ban/censorship at E3, they must also be able to answer:

          Should all events in gaming put a ban on certain types of clothing or certain types of employees?

          Should events in film, television, sports also restrict what people can wear?

          Should television/film advertisements and covers of entertainment magazines (film/game/tv/sports) also have similar restrictions?

          I’m interested to see where we can draw the line in censorship and if that causes more problems than it solves.

          • TaboriHK

            To be clear, I personally don’t think that banning them from the show is the precise solution per se. I appreciate when the show organizers decide on their own remove it because it’s low hanging fruit, but honestly, the real solution in my opinion is get to a place where these companies don’t want to do it. Not to force them. I don’t like forcing, because no true growth is achieved. I really don’t think censorship is the solution either, as you point out, it creates a whole other set of very real problems.

            I don’t think that companies are going to magically come to a moral conclusion that is more fair to women. However, I do think we can communicate to these companies that the route they are taking is not profitable in the long term, or that taking a route that is more inclusive to all gamers, females included, is MORE profitable. But it’s on our backs to hold them to that standard with our money and attention.

            This whole thing is a tough issue I think because there’s a clear problem, but a lot of potential pitfalls in trying to solve that problem quickly.

        • Rob Keyes

          Btw, I’m not making any excuses but I’m confused by this particular comment.

          You’re saying ban it but that PR people should be able to make their own decisions and would stop on their own?

          I’m more curious to see what your solution is to the issue at not just E3 but in the entertainment industry. Because I don’t have the answer myself.

          • Androol

            I think the answer is probably just time, along with a bit of nudging (forced change) that provides concrete examples of the public will to make gaming more of a unisex activity. But I guess we may not even need those. There are more girl gamers now than ever before, and if the trend continues, maybe the demographic data will compel the people in charge to stop trying to appeal so often to men’s base desires at the expense of women’s dignity. Hell, maybe we might even get an organic transition in the ratio of male:female bosses in game publishers and studios.

            But I doubt we’ll ever get there without at least a little forcing. There’s a very powerful conservative instinct in most people, to say “My immediate situation doesn’t suck, so everything must be fine the way it is.” We’ve got to be forced into things every now and then or we’ll never change.

          • TaboriHK

            Yeah. It’s just time and friction. And frustratingly, more of one does not necessarily require less of the other.

      • Androol

        To be honest, I don’t have nearly as much of a problem with booth models who appear in costumes from the game. That stuff is already in the game, so having a real-life version standing at the game’s booth isn’t injecting sexuality where there was none before. I mean, if a girl has a distaste for Jessica Nigri in her cheerleader costume, then she probably would have a distaste for Lollipop Chainsaw itself, so there’s no damage done by the model’s presence there (assuming she stays in the area of the booth rather than roaming the floor). Again, some of the games themselves may be problematic, but that’s a much more difficult issue to address, since it’s much further down the censorship rabbit hole than a booth babe ban would be.

        But it would be nice if those cosplaying models were a bit more equally distributed among the sexes, so as to dispel the unavoidable message that the models are mostly just there to make male passers by think “OOH there’s a sexy girl over there, let’s take a look!” and replace it with a more general sense of showmanship that’s not designed to appeal exclusively to one sex.

  • Alex

    Women are GETTING equal treatment. Equal abuse, equal opportunities to ballbust, equal opportunities to use whatever talants they possess to advance themselves in life. What they don’t LIKE is the extra attention that brings them. They say WE don’t undergo that so why should they? Becuase we don’t have boobs and butts. We don’t wear clothes that accent those things (for whatever reason) and so we don’t have that kind of attention. Walk into a gay bar and if you are a straight guy guess what, you WILL feel the heat. Don’t like it? Walk out. But there a man can become just as much an object as a woman. But I don’t tell people I should be able to go anywhere I want, do anything I like, and not suffer from the OBVIOUS realization of those around me that I might not fit in! And guess what? Thats equal treatment. I can (given where I go) become a TOE, and armed with that realization I walk out and go to work every day.

    Here’s a simple one for you. Kittens are cuddly aren’t they? Given the chance you will probably (unless you don’t like cats or are allergic to them) pick one up and pet it if it comes up to you. Did you neglect to wonder if the kitten might not want to be petted? Maybe it does not want its fur to be all ruffled? Or does that even matter? Is petting a cat instinctual? Did you challange that instinct with the rational part of your brain and wonder “does this cat want to be touched?” Now we DO actually challenge the instinctual part of the male brain to screw every hot chick in sight, for various reasons, but to say that such a thing should not exist is to tell me that cats should not have hair. And do you know who I have NOT heard weigh in on this little conversation? One of those said “booth babes” who MIGHT have a perspective that we all lack.

    Resist the monkey urge to meddle with every aspect of society that causes discomfort. At LEAST until you actually understand the whole of the problem.

    • Erudite

      “Women are GETTING equal treatment. Equal abuse, equal opportunities to ballbust, equal opportunities to use whatever talants they possess to advance themselves in life.”

      This is demonstrably false. Women are disproportionately abused, and disproportionately discriminated against when they try to use the talents they possess to advance themselves in life. You’re free to come up with data to refute this, but understand that this is generally accepted as fact.

      “What they don’t LIKE is the extra attention that brings them. They say WE don’t undergo that so why should they? Becuase we don’t have boobs and butts. We don’t wear clothes that accent those things (for whatever reason) and so we don’t have that kind of attention.”

      It sounds like you’re talking about street harassment. This is about deliberate portrayal of women as sex objects.

      “Walk into a gay bar and if you are a straight guy guess what, you WILL feel the heat. Don’t like it? Walk out.”

      That’s our privilege to be able to walk out. Sexism permeates every aspect of society. You yourself admit that sexism is pervasive and a larger issue than just in gaming.

      “But there a man can become just as much an object as a woman. But I don’t tell people I should be able to go anywhere I want, do anything I like, and not suffer from the OBVIOUS realization of those around me that I might not fit in! And guess what? Thats equal treatment.”

      That’s not equal treatment at all. If you’re not gay, what are you doing in a gay bar? These girls who are, in fact, gamers, do belong, and don’t feel like they’re being accepted as equals.

      “Here’s a simple one for you. Kittens are cuddly aren’t they? Given the chance you will probably (unless you don’t like cats or are allergic to them) pick one up and pet it if it comes up to you. Did you neglect to wonder if the kitten might not want to be petted? Maybe it does not want its fur to be all ruffled? Or does that even matter? Is petting a cat instinctual? Did you challange that instinct with the rational part of your brain and wonder “does this cat want to be touched?””

      If a cat doesn’t want to be touched, you’ll know it. Human social convention requires different interactions, like consent, that doesn’t apply to way humans interact with animals, which lack both agency and the knowledge of the finer points of human communication.

      ” the instinctual part of the male brain to screw every hot chick in sight”

      This isn’t true. Sexual desire is an incredibly complex process. “There’s no accounting for taste” definitely applies, and physical attractiveness is only one element (albeit a significant one) in determining a person’s desired sexual partners. Men who want to screw every hot girl who crosses their path are rightly seen as man children.

      “And do you know who I have NOT heard weigh in on this little conversation? One of those said “booth babes” who MIGHT have a perspective that we all lack.”

      I don’t doubt that they’d defend what they do, but who wouldn’t? They professionals doing a job.

      “Resist the monkey urge to meddle with every aspect of society that causes discomfort. At LEAST until you actually understand the whole of the problem.”

      You’re talking about resisting monkey urges when you claim that men can’t overcome their desire to objectify women, nor should they have to? Why shouldn’t society seek to eliminate discomfort? Isn’t that the point of everything society has ever done? To eliminate sources of discomfort?

      • TaboriHK

        Thank you.

      • Matt

        “It sounds like you’re talking about street harassment. This is about deliberate portrayal of women as sex objects.”

        And why are they being “portrayed as sex toys?” Oh yeah, the CLOTHES THEY WEAR AND THE ANATOMICAL FEATURES THAT THOSE CLOTHES HIGHLIGHT. Derp.

        • TaboriHK

          That is so exactly what I expected one of you guys to say.

          • Matt

            Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing?

          • TaboriHK

            What you just said is, it’s a woman’s fault that men treat them as sex toys. What do you think.

          • Matt

            Once again, you took what I said the wrong way. If girls wear skimpy clothes, they know that guys are going to look at her and be attracted. Whether some guys consider those girls as sex toys is their own personal matter. What I’m saying is, women who wear skimpy clothing are allowing, or enabling, men to think of them as sex toys (but relatively few men do). Don’t want to be thought of as a sex toy? Don’t wear skimpy clothing. Men who think of women as sex toys share the majority of the blame, but women who wear skimpy clothing are at fault as well.

          • TaboriHK

            And so what of the women who show up at these events without a hint of sexuality whatsoever and get treated just as terribly? Are they just unfortunate collateral damage because there are certain other women that are enticing to men? You endlessly make excuses for men’s bad behavior. Any one of us could find a person who is worse than us and use them to justify our own terrible behavior with that excuse.

          • Matt

            Women attending E3 (who were not booth babes and did not wear skimpy clothing) weren’t getting treated terribly. I have no idea where you got that idea from. Can you please provide a link to a video, blog post, article, etc. where a woman talks about her terrible treatment?

          • Matt

            Her terrible treatment at E3, that is. Not the link that Jason provided below.

          • Androol

            Matt, there was an example of terrible treatment of a female E3-goer in the link I posted elsewhere in this thread. Here: Synopsis: The man in charge of the booth insisted that he play the game for the female journalist because obviously, being a girl, she couldn’t possibly unravel the masculine enigma that is WASD+mouse.

            As for your argument re: the portrayal of women… it sounds like you’re basically saying “SOME girls dress sexy, so ALL girls must be held accountable and thus condemned to be regarded as sex objects first and real people second.” I’m sure you don’t actually mean that, but that was pretty much what your post said. It just seems like you might be trying too hard to argue.

            (Yes, I was apparently lying about leaving the thread…)

          • Matt

            That article seems legit, Androol, but if I see one more article by Katie Williams about her terrible experiences in gaming, I’m going to label her as ‘desperately trying to get attention.’

            You’re right, I didn’t mean that. I meant that a few women spoil it for all women. An example: a kid is growing up and sees lots of scantily clad women. This causes him to think of all girls as sex objects. So it’s only the women who wear skimpy dressing who are partially at fault.

          • Matt

            **skimpy clothing

          • TaboriHK

            No. A man’s decision to contextualize people a certain way is where the blame lies. How a woman behaves, even one who is scantily clad, is only related to how you should view her. Not all women.

          • Matt

            I know that. But some guys don’t.

      • Alex

        No where in what I have written can you find a statement that says men should be able to objectify woman, nor will you find an arguement for the fault of the harassment being laid only at the womans feet. Everything I have said indicates or states that the problem is one that BOTH sides of the sex should address.

        “Women are disproportionately abused, and disproportionately discriminated against when they try to use the talents they possess to advance themselves in life. You’re free to come up with data to refute this, but understand that this is generally accepted as fact.”

        The squeaky wheel gets all the grease, there are more coal miners on the East Coast whos job dictate to them that they MUST work in horrible conditions because thats the only thing they know. You don’t hear them complain much because its old news, and when it does come out its usually in a sensationalist story that highlights suffering a little bit to put a few more thumb screws into a greedy corporation. (not defending corprorate greed, just making a point) there is untold amounts of discrimination all over, but the media (who on occasion you choose to quote I note, and when it suits your fancy then choose to blast) has the biggest megaphone and so ANY issue they decide to pick up gets echoed and re-echoed until its a din. Rather like hearding cattle, but since we are intelligent cattle we try to silence the noise. Clever us. I don’t deny women are discriminated against, and I don’t deny that they are objectified. I RESIST the idea that this is a situation entirely of mans own making, or can be fixed by remaking men. And thats my stance in a nutshell.

        • Alex

          There is a little difference between discrimination and equal opportunity you know…try and see if you understand my choosing of each word…

  • Jason Weissman

    @TaboriHK, PurpleDrink, Androol, and any one else who took the time to comment:

    First off, I want to thank you all for your comments and behaving in civil manner, despite your disagreements with this article. Because you sincerely care about this issue, I want to clarify my position here:

    1. I am not endorsing the use of booth models. That was not the purpose of this article.

    2. However, I do have a problem with the opinion that booth models are the primary cause of women feeling unwelcome in the gaming industry, and that removing them would somehow make a significant difference. This article was a rebuttal to that way of thinking, which has been expressed recently. For starters, booth models were previously banned and the effect was nil. Their presence is a symptom and not cause of why most women wonder if there is a place for them in gaming as a sliver of the population is exposed to E3. The real problem lies with the game content, the abusive male gamers, and the incredibly challenging work environment for those who want a place in the industry.

    3. Case in point, Katie Williams complained of being treated differently than the men at E3, and she was jumped on by the one of the journalists to whom I have been referring for not responding in a certain way. I find that to be more offensive than the existence of a model. Also, she details how difficult it has been for her to work in the gaming industry, which is just plain sad:

    4. TaboriHK mentioned the ban of booth models at PAX. While it is true there is such a ban, there is not a ban on using models who are portraying characters from the actual video game. In 2011, models portrayed the blondes dressed as school girls from Duke Nukem at PAX East. In 2012, a well-known and popular cosplayer was hired to represent the protagonist from Lollipop Chainsaw. There were complaints about these models’ presence during both events. Also, games containing sexist material are not banned, and this event is attended by the public. There are a lot more women at PAX, however, which certainly makes it feel more inclusive, but that has more to do with E3 being restricted to industry (hint: we need more women working in the industry).

    5. The analysis regarding how many women play hardcore games had nothing to do with minimizing their interest in gaming nor was it an argument that they shouldn’t be catered to. The point was to show how the study in question is unreliable and that reliance on the same to make a “business argument” provides a faulty conclusion.

    Again, I appreciate the passion that everyone has brought to the comments while mostly refraining from name-calling.

    • TaboriHK

      I don’t mean to blow out this article comments-wise but since you’re responding to us, I’ll add my two cents to what you’re saying, for what it’s worth.

      1. The feeling I got from the article, and the feeling a lot of people I shared the article with, was that the idea that sexism, via booth babes at these shows, is massively overblown if it exists at all. I’ve never said it’s the primary problem, and from what I’ve gathered from the comments section and other Game Rant contributors, this is more about the two-facedness of journalists who have decided that they are going to hype up this one thing falsely to gain praise and hits. To be clear, I’m all for going after hypocrites who falsely attach themselves to a cause, and even more so if what you’ve mentioned is true, that girls are getting attacked further by these same journalists. I think it’s really important to remind people who might be influenced by them the kind of agenda they really have. That being said, I felt very clearly while reading this article that the method of attack caused female gamers to be a casualty. I felt like in the process of trying to deconstruct the perceived “platitudes” these journalists hide behind, you’ve cast doubt (perhaps unintentionally) on the breadth and validity of the presence of female gamers. Specifically, when you cast doubt on the actual percentage of female gamers. That is not a relevant opinion to your argument. It doesn’t not matter if female gamers are 47% or 7%. Gaming is for everyone, and everyone should be welcome in gaming. By casting doubt on that percentage, you imply (again, perhaps unintentionally) that because the number is smaller, it’s more okay. It’s obviously not okay. Keep in mind, this is a site that not too long ago had a post that highlighted the booth babes of the event ( I’m not accusing you of supporting booth babes by showcasing them, but with an article like that, I think it’s fair to say that that conclusion can be drawn.

      2. You’ve mentioned before that between 2006-7 that booth babes were removed and that it didn’t dramatically change anything, and that making booth babes the focus of scorn is counterproductive. I agree and disagree. Booth babes are clearly the tip of the iceberg. A very, very large iceberg, if half of the comments in this article are to be believed. I completely agree that making them the primary focus, and then wiping off your hands after you’ve eradicated them and declaring the job done is stupid. These women may be a visible face of the issue, but they are hardly the heart of it. That being said, taking any visible steps creates a dialogue. The proof is in this very article. It’s clearly something people feel extremely passionate about, both male and female. So I think it’s disingenuous to also suggest that removing booth babes isn’t a good thing and that having them gone for one year and nothing changing is proof that going that route isn’t the solution. I’ve seen the opinion that we shouldn’t waste time on addressing this issue until the other issues are addressed a lot, particularly from the Game Rant guys here. Here’s the thing: I don’t think history shows that that viewpoint has ever lead to real positive social change. There are facets to picking your battles, but there’s also the reality that these things only go away when we force them to be visible. I think belittling the effort to make people talk about it is a pretty big mistake. Even if the intent of the journalists that you accuse are trying to use these stories for shallow self-promotion, the side effect of it is that people today are talking about a real issue that affects real people that didn’t yesterday. I’ll agree that removing booth babes will not in and of itself make a significant change. But it can start something that leads to a significant change.

      3. I don’t disagree with anything you say here, and I think anyone that attacks a woman for being mistreated in the way she was is despicable. And I’m glad to see that story linked here because that is something that as we have seen over the past few days, is more or less completely invisible to the average male gamer. Unless it’s affecting someone in your life directly, there’s a good chance that you have no idea this is a problem, and how big of a problem it is. I don’t ever want to take my girlfriend or my mom or my sister or any of my female friends somewhere where the people look down on them or treat them as second class citizens because they weren’t born male. That’s inexcusable.

      4. It’s obviously a process, and from all the discussion I’ve seen of PAX, any of the titillation angle that does find its way end does so on tenuous grounds. Jessica Nigri is actually a perfect example of that, because she was asked to change twice. They are obviously setting a different standard there, and that standard is going to fluctuate as they get a feeling for what does the most service to their show’s attendees. That’s more than I can say for a lot of places, where that thought process is nonexistent. As for banning sexist games, let’s be honest: we’re not yet at a point in time where we can point to something like PAX, which is about as young as conventions come, and expect them to remove what would amount to a very large percentage of their show. We both know that sexism is far from dead in gaming, and in many very important ways hasn’t even been addressed. I applaud PAX for taking the steps they have, but I’m also realistic about how quickly sweeping change can happen. I want sexism gone from gaming tomorrow. I think most reasonable people either think that or agree with it. That being said, it’s not going to happen that way, and I’m not going to personally try to hobble every cause that doesn’t move as quickly as my own idealism. I’ll still sound off about it, and refuse to purchase games because of it, and I’ll still be embarrassed until it’s gone. But that’s my own role in this, as a gamer. PAX has infinitely more to risk by taking a similar stance.

      And we do need more women in the industry, and I think a big part of that is not alienating the ones who are already in it.

      5. I covered this above, and I take you at your word on it personally, but maybe you can see why this is a bit of a sticky wicket. This is the kind of topic where you have to be extremely clear exactly what you are and are not saying. For many gamers, this is something that is essentially imperceptible. It doesn’t affect them, so it’s hard for them to see how it exists. But for the ones it does affect, it’s a really big deal, a really big thing with a lot of facets. Games at their core are about escapism, about being able to live and control countless other fantasy lives, and experience other people’s fantastical stories. And sexism, both blatant and subtle, taints the spirit of this thing we all share for all women affected by it.

    • Androol

      1. Cool. But the article’s title makes it sound like that is its purpose (Sort Of). :p

      2. And you’re right to have a problem with that. I certainly don’t share that opinion, and I don’t think any of us do. This comment debate has caught fire and leapt into the 200-posts range, and many different inferences and re-framings of the issue, but the booth babe thing itself is a pretty small issue. It’s just a good jumping-off point to discuss larger sexist issues — which I guess is the point of the article, although it does make commenting a little awkward since the booth babe issue takes precedence instead of the larger issues that we probably all agree are more important. So maybe it’s not a PERFECT jumping-off point, but it’s the one we’ve got, lol.

      However, as for the “nil” effect of the previous ban… does that mean that there were tons of articles around the internet about booth babes being an embarrassment even though they weren’t there? That seems improbable, and if those articles didn’t get written, then that would be an effect. A small one, yes, but no one would ever expect such a ban to have a big effect. The reason this problem’s got such an easy solution (ban!) is because it’s not a very big problem. Still, one less thing to make female gamers feel unwelcome in the gaming world… that can’t be a bad thing. It’s one less paycheck for those models, but they can make do.

      3. That is super-depressing. I too had wondered why she didn’t tell that guy to f*** off. Hadn’t considered the “backlash” possibility (indeed, 1000x more offensive than a booth babe). Seems pretty illustrative of the larger problem.

      4. I’ve already said this, but I don’t think there’s much of a problem with cosplaying booth models, because they’re just tangible representations of things that are in the games themselves. Someone who has a problem with Jessica Nigri and the Duke Nukem schoolgirls would still have a problem with Lollipop Chainsaw and Duke Nukem Forever even if the models weren’t there. The games themselves are the problem in that regard — although I have zero problem with Lollipop Chainsaw (since it’s a very campy tongue-in-cheek sort of thing to begin with), so I would dismiss that problem as people “not getting it.” Duke is more problematic, but still, the models don’t really do anything wrong that’s not already wrong with the game itself.

      What I do have a problem with, booth babe-wise, is the ladies in tanktops and short shorts standing around at the Tekken booth, having nothing to do with the game, serving only to grab the attention of male passers-by, connoting that “This place is for males,” when there’s nothing about the game (or industry) itself that really necessitates that. But yeah, again, getting sidetracked by this booth babe thing lol. We do need more women working in the industry, and affecting change from the top down.

      5. Good! Still, regardless of what the actual demographic numbers may be, the fact is that there’s no need for these models. Male E3-goers might miss them the tiniest bit if they went away, but E3 is supposed to be about the games; those should be able to grab your attention without pretty ladies standing around them waiting to be photographed by dorks in N7 jackets. The booth babes are just sexist window-dressing at an event that shouldn’t be sexist. E3 is, after all, perhaps the most important expo in all of gaming. It’s the time of year where the industry is supposed to put its best foot forward and smile for the camera of media attention — make itself look good, modern, etc. If you ask me, the booth babes sort of undermine that effort.

  • Death Metal

    With regards to the topical issue of booth models, I tend to side with TaboriHK and other similar opinions in the sense that such advertisement approach is really not needed at this day and age, specially because events as the likes of E3 should be done with a broader field of public in mind, so as to try and attract not only teenage males, but everyone that could be a potential gamer, in an ideal world. And this is not even about morals, but more about a “common sense” (which is kind of subjective, I know) of what should be more of an enjoyable experience for everyone. This is a point I’m making with respect of a public event (again, like E3) where you have virtually any kind of person attending to – let’s not even restrict the idea to a males/females concept, but more with regards to a whole universe of different tastes not only in gaming but everything.

    Now, I do take issue with the idea of trying to “minimize” (or anything of that effect) what we consider to be sexism in games – I think of this as something akin to telling a writer how to write his own story. If we are seeing a lot of sexism in games, then that’s because there’s enough supply to warrant that sort production. And I see nothing wrong with that, actually, because, even if you are a consumer of “sexist” games, that does not necessarily mean that you are a sexist person, or act an a sexist manner within society. Again, that’s akin to the whole “gratuitous violence” debacle that’s been on forever and again – does violence in games (and other mediums in general, such as movies, television, etc.) alienate a person enough to cause one to become (or “trigger” oneself into) a violent individual? Can the same even be asked about sexism? Well, I think you got the idea.

    My point with this is that, with games (or movies, music, etc.), you are no longer dealing with people directly, but with art that will consumed by people. Having someone dictate how your art can or cannot be done is nothing short of censorship. Art is mostly purely what comes from the mind, and that can represent certain desires, either directly from the author him/herself or to reflect those who you will market your ideas to or who you think will consume your ideas. In my perspective, games operate on that level. I may want to develop a game flashing bouncing breasts all over the place, and I will develop that with a certain audience in mind. Of course there may be people offended with my game, but they should understand that it wasn’t developed with them in mind as a target audience in the first place. But let’s say a girl decides to complain about the sexism in it because she liked the gameplay, but all those bouncing boobs in it put her off. Well, I would say, everyone is free to start their own project.

    Bottom line, I think it’s perfectly fine to target specific audiences when it comes to artistic creations, such as games made with male players in mind, for example. It’s the choice of the author, simple as that. It’s just unfortunate – and still a matter of culture, really – that there are much more products geared towards men than women in this industry. However, this also calls for the another subject in this matter: where are the girls when we are talking development? The industry is still massively composed by men and it’s just natural that the majority of products end up being by men for men. Should that continue? My opinion: we should NOT lose what’s there for men, but ADD new diversity for women it with more women in the industry. It’s also up to them to make the “change”.

    • Death Metal

      And where I said “enough supply”, I meant “enough demand”. (Also sorry about the other small typos and whatnot, it’s past midnight here.)

    • TaboriHK

      When it comes to making the art itself, I agree: the creators should have the freedom to make what they want to make. It’s our responsibility as consumers to decide which things we support. I certainly don’t want to become Captain Censorship. That’s honestly just as evil and wrong to me. The only solution I can think of is to bring dialogue and honesty to table with all games. If developers wrote a character a certain way, they should explain their art in interviews. They should be ready to be challenged, and they should challenge us with the things they make. I think it’s really important in gaming to have moments that I can’t easily assign an emotion to, and I don’t want to lose that experience. All creators should be frank about the agenda of their material.

  • Carianis

    Ok this is just getting out of hand. It’s not sexism; it’s accepting our own perverted lust of body parts of ether a male or female (both? nether?). The booth people (are there booth men? If not that is sexist) are just getting paid (funny I never noticed how if you take out the p and put in…nvm). I don’t know about anyone else but I feel really good after going to a bar and getting hit on by a woman or a man (except He-Man, you stay away from me fur speedo man) and I’m straight. You know your feeling down about the crappy day you had then someone starts to hit on you, don’t you start to feel better about yourself? Does the gender mater when your crappy day ended with some casual flirting? No, that’s because the end of the day is the only thing that maters. The end of the day takes up 90% of the mind set when people go to bed.

    Well maybe you do think about all those hours of jump rope (maybe they are finally paying off) but still. Plus every time I check my email it has like 20 new messages, I’ve just started deleting in mass.

  • Matt

    Congratulations everyone, I think this is a record for most comments on a Game Rant article! Good job guys! Now let’s all go out to Hooters to celebrate! ;D

    • Androol

      Haha. See you there. (I think I’ve seen more than this on one or two other articles, though.)

      • Matt

        More than 189?

        • Androol

          Oops, no, not more than that. I was thinking so because there’s only 2 pages of comments here, and I’ve seen 3 and maybe even 4 on previous articles (there are 3 on this one:, but I guess they’ve increased the comments:page ratio recently. So yes, congratulations indeed.

          • Matt

            Woohoo! AND we’ve broken the 200 mark! Everyone mark this day on your calendars!

    • Anthony Taormina

      This is definitely some sort of record. Very impressed with everybody’s long, LONG responses.

      • Matt

        At least a record for longest single post (TaboriHK’s), but at 189 comments, I’d think this is the most comments on a single GR article.

  • Purple Drink

    I’m really sorry this is considered a successful thread. While I TRULY appreciate the diplomatic tone the author has taken to resolve some of the embarrassment (i really do appreciate it), the general consensus towards women as non-real life things and the intense mental-gymnastics some of the users attempted to go trough to make sense of their non-argumetms has just tarnished this as a valuable or enjoyable trade off of interesting opinions. This almost had no value in many places. I had almost two dozen people follow the thread so we can discuss things out of interest, and besides the main point in the article being a bit shaky, the comments section was laughable the whole way through. I just had my gamer-since-born roommate go over the meaty points in the post and was in tears reading the arguments. I fully expect no one to believe what I’m saying, and I’m cool with that, but let’s be real- this was sad.

    I don’t think my attendance was worth much ever, but safe to say that neither I or anyone I seem to know will be patronizing the gamerant site, or especially it community. Thanks so much from the bottom oft heart those of you were working out points of logic legitimately and being cool.

  • Alex

    You know, Socrates actually drank the hemlock as he was ordered to by the Greeks because he realized the futility of his position. Not that he was wrong, but that in his time the powers that were would’nt listen to reason. The conventions of argument actually outweighed critical thought. So to do I find myself in this discussion, knee jerk reactions are the order of the day, while critcal thought is not acceptable because case arguements (like case law) dictate to the masses the appropriate way to respond to questions of society. I might not drink hemlock, and you will see me again, but for this discussion I leave you to the confusion that by your own words you have even more firmly embedded in the human psyche.

    • TaboriHK

      You’re not Socrates, and you’ve expressed no critical thought relevant to the discussion. If you want to drink hemlock, no one here is going to stop you. You did teach us all, though, what is worse than a faux-intellectual: a sexist faux-intellectual.

      • Alex

        *chuckle* Coming from you TaboriHK I will take that last as a compliment, I meet you in the street every day, and you most definitly fit the Aristotlian profile (unfortunately) and your conventions of discussion only confirm that. Until next time. Your initials aren’t by any chance JZ? Honest question there.

        • TaboriHK

          No they aren’t, and by the way, Socrates, you’re also 100% wrong about Socrates. But by all means, continue to evoke the names of dead men that you have no understanding of in an attempt to seem smarter than you are.

          • Alex

            Well, I must admit I SHOULD have clicked the link to your name before. You zealots. Live long and prosper on your Jihad. Now that I think I might understand your perspective better I disagree with it all the more.

          • TaboriHK

            See, what he does is holds up this shroud of fake intelligence, but he can’t hold it up for very long, so he just tries to get you to react before the facade fails. And he doesn’t realize when he’s dropped it entirely.

          • Alex

            ?? Did you mispost?

          • TaboriHK


          • Alex

            Well all right, but I must point out that this post (while on a public forum) was between you and I, and my last non question comment was a frank admission that I did NOT have a good context for who or what you were about. After having browsed your Fbook and your podcast highlights (and trying not to make assumptions) I realized that this is more than just a passing thing that has been brought to your attention, its one that you have been going on about for quite some time. That being discovered I had fresh context for you, and that prompted the last comment. You are on a Jihad, don’t flinch from the word, I have never flinched from sexist, because by modern definition (according ot Wikipedia) I AM sexist in my views. But as an ACTUAL historian I feel my perspective is better, so the fact that it does not lockstep with society doesn’t bother me. Women have never been accorded as much as they are now in history, they were sub-human in history. But the new movement to free them has started to do more harm than good, and you and what you represent are just the tip of the iceberg on a massive social issue being created by ill informed, overly vocal, questionably motivated sect of people who are making use of that megaphone I spoke of earlier. All that said, I think that after this I will unsubscribe from this thread (after you choose to or not to respond) because your last actual statement was so blatantly schoolboy cliquish that there is not a lot of room for actual hypothesis. Never once have you responded to my statement that both sides of the species need to be responsible, always choosing to highlight the implication that I blame women for their treatment in society. There is no constructive thought there, just the beating of a wooden spoon on a metal cooking pot to garner attention to ones own viewpoint through sensationalism. I don’t debate that.

          • TaboriHK

            I’m not a Jihadist. It’s not a holy war, and wanting women to have equal rights is not a religion. I’m sorry, it isn’t. My motivation is I live with women in my life, and they get treated worse than me on a daily basis because of their gender. It’s fairly clear, not really murky at all.

            You’re very aggrandizing, and I think your self-professed historian career (which, if your knowledge of Socrates indicates, is laughably uninformed) makes you feel like you’re an authority figure of some sort. But you’re no different than I am. You’re a human being living in a free society expressing an opinion based on your desires. Just because you’ve read about what other people have done, you think you are accorded equal gravitas for merely existing, but you aren’t. I’ve read about a couple Alexs from history in my life and none of them are you.

            I’m glad you are now at least being honest about your sexism, even though you’re still trying to have dignity about it. That’s mystifying to me. But you really are not so different than all the bullies I’ve ever met. You’ve been handed strength by society but you have none for yourself, and so you display profound insecurity in this shell of pseudo-intellectualism. You’re clearly intimidated by women on some level, because as you’ve stated, you find them capable of things that you aren’t. As a result, you feel justified in hobbling them socially because it’s the only thing a person like you can do. You need feel comfortable that they’re contained.

            If you’re asking for me to acknowledge your non-point of responsibility, then I will: women should also endeavor to be worth the equality that they should already have from us. Yes, I agree, women should be worth the regard that we SHOULD give them. And guess what? They are, and they have been, and they always have been, and getting angry at all women because some of them play to your weaknesses is a failure on your part. We’ve all seen embarrassing women who use sexuality as their selling point. And reasonable people regard them on an individual level. We don’t lift them up and go, “See! This is what all of THEM could be!” I’m sorry that some women are sexy and sexual, and that some men can be influenced by that in a way that ends up hurting them. Guess what? Some men are sexy and sexual, and some women can be influenced by that in a way that ends up hurting them. That that plainly true reality escapes you, and that you’ve based your conclusions about an entire gender in complete ignorance of it, is really sad.

            I started off angry reading the things you’ve said, but they’ve turned the corner and become hilarious. You called me a Jihadist! Because I don’t want women mistreated at trade shows! That’s exclusively comedy. There’s no other interpretation of that.

            The only real alternative to draw is that your entire participation has been a big fat YHBT, in which case, congratulations. You are an unparalleled method actor. But I really don’t think so. You’re far too earnest about how threatened you feel by women. And that’s really, really…sad. And you can keep going, maybe dig up a couple more dead Greeks to validate your own narrow views, but know that yes, you have wasted your time, if your time was intended to “show us all the light.” And you’re free to waste as much more of it as you want. That’s your right, and no one, not even all the women in the world, can take that away from you.

          • Alex

            I said you are on a Jihad, not a Jihadist. Read words for their own sake. And in your 4 paragraph you essentially reverse your own argument about “discrimination” and “equality” that YOU say is pointed at women and leave it open about men. Just because some men are sexually aggressive and predatory does not make the entire species so. So while you are on your crusade or charge or jihad remember that in the end the equation has to BALANCE.

            And yes, woman CAN do things I cannot. Thats a GOOD thing. I’m a 7-5 worker, not a raiser of children. I leave my children in the capable hands of my wife, and provide for them as a capable working man should. But how that translates to intimidation…I married a woman who’s salary was twice what mine was, quite happily I might add, and have worked for and under many female management personnel. Sexist was not a word they ever had cause to use to describe me. Even though I still accept the label as set down by Wikipedia.

          • Androol

            jihadist |jiˈhädist|
            a jihadi

            jihadi |jiˈhädē|(also jehadi )
            noun ( pl. jihadis )
            a person involved in a jihad

            jihad |jiˈhäd|
            (among Muslims) a war or struggle against unbelievers

            Whatever you said, it was inaccurate.

          • Alex

            Your kidding me right Androol? How many words do you used every single day that have a root or connection to a culture that you don’t even have any knowledge of? No wait I’ll answer that YOUR WHOLE LANGUAGE IS BASED ON A ROOT THAT HAS LONG SINCE DIED OUT! Not to mention the vehicles of thought we borrow from the Ancients. Don’t even begin to start a question about the words I used to illuminate someone elses thought pattern, you don’t get to pick and choose what is culturally “acceptable” when it comes to discourse but then hold court on the horrible depravations visited upon women by evil mankind. You take it all or you sit down and SHUT UP. Welcome to the human race.

          • TaboriHK

            You are a real character, Alex.

          • TaboriHK

            I wasn’t aware historians worked in a corporate structure that you’ve worked under such a large number of managers. By historian do you mean you work part time at the library?

          • Alex

            Likewise Tabori, see you around in 20 years or so. Time is the only thing that will prove either of us correct.

          • TaboriHK

            I didn’t make any predictions. There’s nothing to be correct about.

          • Alex


          • Androol

            Alex, I know what etymology is. Thanks for answering your own question, though. And I appreciate the caps — you clearly respect my intelligence. But, if I may, you were the one who said, “I said you are on a Jihad, not a Jihadist,” thus raising the issue (or “beginning to start the question,” to use your eloquent words) of semantics, and I joined in on that point of discussion in what I thought was a rather innocuous way. But, to answer your question, yes, my kidding you right. And hey, thanks for the welcome!

          • Alex

            Androol, I suppose I deserve that…I appoligise for the caps. I don’t see the eloquence though, I just write as I have learned to speak, and that I learned through all I have read. Tabori, I have never worked in a library, but I have dug rather deeply into any available wherever I lived, and 2 Universites plus Fort Leavenworth. I was a kid for Leavenworth its true, but thats where you go if you have questions about US Military History.

  • Optimus Crime

    Alex you are out of your f-ing skull. You’re like every bad intellectualist stereotype rolled into one right now. *CHUCKLE*

    But really it’s very creepy and desperate that you looked into Tabori’s facebook.

    • Alex

      Optimus, its direct linked to his name. And I am not a Facebook user, which ment all that was there was (supposedly) pre-approved for public consumption. Same thing with his podcast. Its advertised right there.

  • C.J. Smillie

    What I find incredibly ironic about the comments is that they provide a perfect example of the point Jason seemed to be making: that everyone is blowing this way out of proportion.

    Businessmen are using sex to sell video games? Guys, this is not new. This has been going on since Duke Nukem entered his first strip joint. Like Jason said, movies and TV shows have used the same thing for decades and it has worked. Is it right? Not really, but that’s not about to stop them.

    And banning people who are actually trying to make some money from the event just because it offends some overly-sensitive people is going to do nothing but deprive some pretty girls of some much needed money. Businessmen will still use sex for advertisement and the games they’re advertising will still get bought.

    It’s not the sexy women at E3 that perpetuate the image of gamers being childish, it’s the gamers themselves that do that. And you guys coming on here, completely overreacting to certain posts like they’re personal insults and tossing around phrases like “jihad”…I ask you, who’s the more childish in that scenario?

    • Alex


  • MasterChick

    As a female (currently wearing a Lollipop Chainsaw outfit) I am very encouraged by this article and the thoughtful discussion that has ensued. I however do not see the banning of booth babes necessarily as a free speech vs censorship issue… more like an event or publication’s right to pick and choose content that would appeal to its audience. Is all editing an infringement on free speech then?

    And I am used to having sexy women sell me things. Heidi Klum sells me shampoo, Adriana Lima sells me brassieres and Jennifer Lopez sells me razors with slime on them. It happens to me all day, every day. Why do anorexic runway models sell me wrinkle cream and I accept it without flinching…but a booth babe with a large rack in my face would make me “uncomfortable” or “unwelcome” …all the while I have no problem playing the video game she promotes featuring a female character with an even larger rack that jiggles uncontrollably?


    Would “booth studs” make E3 more “welcoming” to me? Probably. At least be equal when handing out the eye candy and I’ll get the message that you’re trying. *says while sucking noisily on sucker*

    Guess we women have to work on our issues as much as you men have to work on yours.

    Speaking of issues, male lactation is indeed all too possible:

    Socrates-loving Alex: I am all too familiar with brilliant intellectual post-grad types such as yourself. I talk to them every morning as they’re pouring my Venti caramel macchiatto.

    • Andrew Dyce

      Bless you, madame. Bless you.

    • Death Metal

      Do you feel representative of most females out there, or saying that is a stretch? Honest question.

      • Androol

        I’d like to know that as well.

        • Purple Drink

          Why would her answer matter? I feel we’re going to bait the information she shared in her already awesome post to go one way or the other I’m this argument. Or maybe not!

          She already expressed herself in a clear manner- she’s representing herself, who yes, is a female.

          • Androol

            Just as a basis for extrapolation. I had a hard time parsing the second paragraph of MasterChick’s post, but it sounded like it contradicted my assumption that booth babes and sexualized female characters alienate prospective and extant female gamers. If that was the intent, then I’d like to extrapolate, if possible (which I guess it probably isn’t), whether that’d be a majority, minority, or extreme minority opinion among women.

            The frustration of this conversation has me wondering if I’m wrong, and trying to discern if it was worthwhile (i.e. looking for justifications to avoid similar exchanges in the future). If I could somehow establish/extrapolate that MC’s apparent indifference to the issue is something that would be shared by a majority of women, that’d be enough to convince me that this subject doesn’t require my attention.

      • TaboriHK

        I don’t know how she could possibly be, even if she feels that way. In the same way that none of us represent most of anything.

        • Androol

          I suppose that’s true. I’ve never felt “average,” but I’ve always kind of assumed that at least some people do. :p

    • AlexMech

      For clarity sake only MC, I took all of one semester in college, and found it a waste of time. And if any of those servers who so kindly pour your coffee every morning have any sense at all they will recognise their unique position to observe those they wait on and realize the same thing. College (mostly) is a waste, experience is the only true teacher.

      I never got the notification to your comment, so I never responded. Just cleaning out mail trash. Thank you for the insight. No thank you for the stereotyping.

  • MasterChick

    “Representative”? Of an entire gender or “most females out there”?


    • Androol

      “I’m an (ordinary/average) ___” is something that people have been known to say. It’s nothing to get facepalm-y about.

    • Death Metal

      Huh? What is there to “facepalm” about my question? From your first post I was expecting honest conversation rather than such a childish comeback.

  • MasterChick

    Look, Death Metal.. Obviously I can only speak for myself. Just like you, I am curious to hear more opinions from female gamers, female press and industry pros to hear the various schools of thought, and see if there’s a general consensus regarding this matter from actual E3 attendees..or even female gamers who are aware of the inclusion of booth babes at E3 through websites, such as this one.

  • greg

    i despise the anti booth babe crowd.i hate there guts.i see them as jealous,childish trolls who just don’t want good looking people matter how women were dressed the jealous folks would have a because they could never date these babes and women who could never be these babes.last year/2011 was awesome.great displays,pretty girls,great atmosphere.this year the trolls won.E3 was boring,toned down,there were few real babes and many girls who were hired were not seemed intentional.even if a girl is a single mother,if shes hot?lets not hire her.let her learn real skills like the winers who hate women prettier than themselves.many booth babes iv known are studying nursing,medical billing,etc…and are working there way through school.i guess all the silly jealous folks out there dont care if a model has a good heart and wants to make society a better place.if shes pretty?don’t hire her,i won’t go on because what i really want to say to the anti booth babe so called community wont be posted.THE INDUSTRY SHOULD GROW UP???????????ITS VIDEO GAMES FOR GODS SAKE

    • Lifer

      HELL YEAH!! Its like that South Park episode where wanting to have sex with different women is a disease. The board members are like “Why?” with that quick glance at the woman next to him. Why did he look after saying something? because he is looking for approval from her. He is doing the same thing, but trying to use reverse psychology. There is a word for guys who do that, P U S S Y ! !, Real men will know how to talk to a woman, and woman know what they want. How do they know? PRACTICE! Get some balls and get out there or keep fapping and let the girls work! They are good at it, it pays the bills, and they can still keep their dignity, Booth girl are no different than models. They are looking good to get your attention for a product. DEAL WITH IT!