Booth babes: harmless fun or shameful sexism?

Booth babes: harmless fun or shameful sexism?Scouting around the cyberweb for reports on this year’s Computex, you’re just as likely to stumble across, say, The best Windows 8 tablets as you are – and I’m really not exaggerating here – The booth babes of Computex 2012. Heck, there are even YouTube videos celebrating the girls.

We enjoy a good “babe” (if you absolutely insist on using that term) here at Mobot as much as the next blog, but there’s a fine line between having a laugh (see: our running joke about the lovely Christy Wyatt) and acting like a sexist moron. Last week, Computex 2012 parked its butt firmly on the latter side.

Unfortunately, the term “booth babes” is now fairly common when it comes to these trade shows. Far from being an eastern phenomenon, they’re also a firm fixture at the likes of Mobile World Congress (Barcelona) and CES (Las Vegas).

But, at the risk of opening a can of worms, I feel a tad more concerned for the booth babes out in Taipei, where girls are – I think it’s fair to say – a little more timid than their European and American counterparts.

While the western booth babes are comparable to, I dunno, air stewardesses (yeah, they look good - it's part of the job, but step out of line and you’ll get a well-deserved slap on the face), the scantily clad eastern girls are openly leered at, and at times look utterly bewildered. At worst, I’m reminded of that app review.

Booth babes: harmless fun or shameful sexism?Asus put its foot in it last week with a picture of a booth babe showing off a new product – taken from behind, and an accompanying tweet reading: “The rear looks pretty nice. So does the new Transformer AIO.”

I’m not completely devoid of a sense of humour, so I can appreciate why – on some level – that’s amusing, but – coming from the official Asus twitter account – it’s not very professional.

If that were to happen in an office environment, the booth babe would have pretty good cause for a sexual harassment complaint. Uhm, and she’d probably have a title other than “booth babe”.

Indeed, the post caused a bit of a media storm and was ultimately removed. Asus later crawled: “We apologise for the inappropriate comment on Twitter earlier. We will take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

The problem is that booth babes inevitably draw a crowd, so manufacturers – and this was particularly evident at Computex – end up going all out to produce the biggest spectacle, including elaborate dance routines, and outfits that genuinely wouldn’t look out of place in a strip club.

Russian manufacturer CBOSS went a little too far at this year’s Mobile World Congress. After offering delegates the chance of a “romantic dinner” with one their “famous girls”, they ultimately found themselves banned from Mobile World Congress 2013. (source)

Let’s not forget: “at the end of the day” (worst phrase ever), we’re talking about smartphones and tablets here. Is there really any place for semi-naked women around these products? Or maybe I’m being a little melodramatic.

I mean, these girls know exactly what they’re getting into; it’s not like they’re being forced at gunpoint to strip down and parade in front of big fat tech-loving businessmen in suits.

More importantly, they’re safe, and – hopefully – well paid. I guess you could argue that there’s actually a moral victory for the booth babes, too, as us drooling morons are ultimately lining their pockets.

And, let’s face it, the trade shows would be a heck of a lot duller without the smiles of the booth babes.

What do you think, guys? Was the Asus tweet out of line? Should booth babes be a thing of the past? Or did you abandon this feature after the first paragraph and immediately google “The booth babes of Computex 2012”?

Add a comment
36 comments

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 13:14

What do you think, guys? Was the Asus tweet out of line? Should booth babes be a thing of the past? Or did you abandon this feature after the first paragraph and immediately google “The booth babes of Computex 2012”?
1) Asus were out of line, people get pissy about such comments (it was funny, though)
2) "Booth Babes" aren't forced to walk around semi-naked, they know the job details before they sign up for it. There are far worse "professions" for young women to get themselves into. They're safe, accounted for and officially employed as 2Booth Babes", as long as nobody is forcing anybody else to do anything against their will, I don't see the issue.
3) I didn't stop reading your article, not sure if that's a good or bad thing...take it however you want.

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 13:16

I forgot to add; nice photo ;).

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 14:58

If every booth had a one-armed African-American with one ball hanging out, would we need to ask such stupid questions about obvious exploitation?
And Matt, "They knew what they were getting into"? Really? That is all?
Does that mean women who experience sexual harassment have to have their IQ tested before they can report the crime?

Ah, nothing like the 1950s shining through on a rainy day ;)

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 15:00

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1277/696572935_00ad2774af.jpg

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 15:13

If every booth had a one-armed African-American with one ball hanging out, would we need to ask such stupid questions about obvious exploitation?
And Matt, "They knew what they were getting into"? Really? That is all?
Does that mean women who experience sexual harassment have to have their IQ tested before they can report the crime?

Ah, nothing like the 1950s shining through on a rainy day ;)

I don't get your one armed black man comment, how is that relevant?

I never said "they knew what they were getting into", because that makes it sound sinister, wrong and implies someone is doing something illegal or immoral. Do those two girls in the photo Lewis found look unhappy or exploited to you? They don't to me, they look healthy, safe and in legal, gainful and voluntary employment. If you go out in town on a Thursday night you see plenty of girls wearing a lot less than those two are.

Where's the line between "Booth Babes" knowing they're taking the money of rich businessmen without having to do a thing, and young women being exploited as sexual objects? I'd say that line is crossed when the young women aren't any longer acting of their own accord.

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 15:14

Also, what's with your holiday photo ;)?

hicks12  Jun. 11, 2012 at 15:35

I think its people being prats/idiots, end of the day look at the UFC boxing etc oh they have babes to just do the round numbers... motorgp has all the girls around their bikes holding the umbrellas, you have things like local Calendar girls and then you have the Bennetts babes, im really confused how they are any different? Same as all things sexy things help sell and get attention.

The asus comment was very very tame, whats wrong with that ass? Come on anyone would make a comment if they were there, maybe not publicly but its a public appreciation is it not :P.

I can understand if the girls were wearing like next to nothing but really you see less on a night out, always see a few topless girls in the bars because the bartenders give them free shots if they do and they even give them squirty cream to lick off each others ****, surely that is more sexist type stuff thats wrong, these booth babes are timid!.

lcurdie / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 15:47

I can understand if the girls were wearing like next to nothing but really you see less on a night out, always see a few topless girls in the bars because the bartenders give them free shots if they do and they even give them squirty cream to lick off each others ****, surely that is more sexist type stuff thats wrong, these booth babes are timid!.

Where are these bars you speak of? Are they open on Mondays?

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 15:50

I can understand if the girls were wearing like next to nothing but really you see less on a night out, always see a few topless girls in the bars because the bartenders give them free shots if they do and they even give them squirty cream to lick off each others ****, surely that is more sexist type stuff thats wrong, these booth babes are timid!.

Where are these bars you speak of? Are they open on Mondays?


Nottingham, Thursday, Student Night...I'll leave it there.

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 15:53

If every booth had a one-armed African-American with one ball hanging out, would we need to ask such stupid questions about obvious exploitation?
And Matt, "They knew what they were getting into"? Really? That is all?
Does that mean women who experience sexual harassment have to have their IQ tested before they can report the crime?

Ah, nothing like the 1950s shining through on a rainy day ;)

I don't get your one armed black man comment, how is that relevant?

I never said "they knew what they were getting into", because that makes it sound sinister, wrong and implies someone is doing something illegal or immoral. Do those two girls in the photo Lewis found look unhappy or exploited to you? They don't to me, they look healthy, safe and in legal, gainful and voluntary employment. If you go out in town on a Thursday night you see plenty of girls wearing a lot less than those two are.

Where's the line between "Booth Babes" knowing they're taking the money of rich businessmen without having to do a thing, and young women being exploited as sexual objects? I'd say that line is crossed when the young women aren't any longer acting of their own accord.


Yes... sorry, how dumb of me.
I'm backwards, and not yet adjusted to a world where women have equal choices, and mostly work as surgeons, lawyers and corrupt lobbyists. And, blimey, yeah, given all those choices - well, they gotta be dense, or kinky....

Don't feel offended, Matt. Sexism is so common these days, people think it doesn't exist anymore. Woods. Trees. Perception, eh ;)

If you didn't get the "1 armed" reference, don't worry - it was for 'insiders' ;) :p

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 16:30

mostly work as surgeons, lawyers and corrupt lobbyists
That's untrue, most people, male or female, do not work in such high paying, professional careers.

And, blimey, yeah, given all those choices - well, they gotta be dense, or kinky....
No-one ever said Booth Babes were deprived of the chance to have a "better" job, maybe they like the attention, maybe they couldn't be arsed at school; who knows?

Don't feel offended, Matt. Sexism is so common these days, people think it doesn't exist anymore.
I never said sexism doesn't exist, it quite clearly does. I'm saying that these young women have made a choice to follow this "career" path, they could have become supermarket workers, police officers, office workers or any of the high-flying positions you suggested, but instead they decided to wander around, scantily clad in front of businesspeople and tech. geeks.

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 16:34

I scrolled down to the text entry box with my eyes closed.
I wonder, though - on a site with more than, ooh, 2 'female' visitors per month... would this discussion (?) be any different?
No carry on, smutlovers

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 16:38

I scrolled down to the text entry box with my eyes closed.
I wonder, though - on a site with more than, ooh, 2 'female' visitors per month... would this discussion (?) be any different?
No carry on, smutlovers

No, if your stated opinion is your true opinion, it shouldn't change dependant on your audience. People tend to make of themselves what they wish to make of themselves, if that involves wandering around scantily clad, so be it, that's their choice.

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 16:46

I scrolled down to the text entry box with my eyes closed.
I wonder, though - on a site with more than, ooh, 2 'female' visitors per month... would this discussion (?) be any different?
No carry on, smutlovers

No, if your stated opinion is your true opinion, it shouldn't change dependant on your audience. People tend to make of themselves what they wish to make of themselves, if that involves wandering around scantily clad, so be it, that's their choice.


Okay...

Another question:

Considering the current 'eCONomy' and all that... Lets pretend in 2 years your** daughter turned 18. Her only choice is between MacD and some sluts'R'us outfit that hires out 'eye candy' to corporate pimp events. What'd be your advice? (**Not just Matt's - general question. I'm just curious. No judging...)

But as a PS: consider that practically every single corporation has been caught red-handed providing the 'more important' clients with more than eye-candy. Even family friendly, humanitarian Microsoft.... Yep, the low-life endusers get 'eye candy' - the corporate customers get the real deal... So, the chances of a promotion are there...

Treab  Jun. 11, 2012 at 16:48

As someone smarter than us once said "sex sells" and these are professional models so no i don't see an issue with this they are happy and often proud of their job and why not we may enjoy a sexist joke but these girls have made a choice and chances are Will live with more money than they ever would at a 'conventional job'

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 16:53

As someone smarter than us once said "sex sells" and these are professional models so no i don't see an issue with this they are happy and often proud of their job and why not we may enjoy a sexist joke but these girls have made a choice and chances are Will live with more money than they ever would at a 'conventional job'

How liberal. And tolerant.

Treab  Jun. 11, 2012 at 16:59

As someone smarter than us once said "sex sells" and these are professional models so no i don't see an issue with this they are happy and often proud of their job and why not we may enjoy a sexist joke but these girls have made a choice and chances are Will live with more money than they ever would at a 'conventional job'

How liberal. And tolerant.


Im trying to work out if sarcastic...

Still are you a man who thinks women should be in the kitchen Jan?

jaybear88  Jun. 11, 2012 at 20:52

Matt has got to be right here. These girls haven't been tricked into modeling on these premises, it was a career choice that was there and they took it. If you want to stop women making choices because they are women, it makes you the oppressor.

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 21:17

Matt has got to be right here. These girls haven't been tricked into modeling on these premises, it was a career choice that was there and they took it. If you want to stop women making choices because they are women, it makes you the oppressor.

I know where you're coming from (not something I can say about Treab :p )
But the issue is a little bit more complex. We'd love to believe the 'liberated, comfortable-with-sexuality' bull that a multi-billion industry throws at us. Because, as someone already said, sex sells. Only, repetition doesn't make truth.

If you get over the porn-is-now-cool, and the-future-queen is smoking-hot stuff, there are some facts:
- suicide rate amongst porn stars is rampant.
- alcoholism and drug addiction - rampant...

etc etc.... I'm neither a prude, nor some backlasher. (Ridiculous assumption, Treab).

But I'm fed up with the bigotry. Every day 4 women get murdered in the US alone. Every 18 seconds a US woman is battered - requiring medical attention.
The are more sex-industry slaves today, than there were slaves during, well, slavery.
Than we have push-up bras and thongs for 10 year olds. Hell, we have 10 year olds who proclaim they want to be pole dancers when they are grown up...
In Britain one in every 4 women WILL experience some form of 'sexually motivated' violence in their lifetime. 1 in 4! How many people do you know? How many women?
Well, more than 4? Better buy that 'get well soon' Hallmark Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer...

And while we talk about the choices, women still earn less for equal work; they get no promotion; they get worse grades in Uni for better work (peer reviewed! Fact).
And while judges still tell rape victims they shouldn't have dressed slutty/gotten drunk/blah blah blah, rapists get ridiculous sentences. Heck, in the US just last week a 19 year old who assaulted a woman was given the choice of prison or army.

And meanwhile we sexualise kids for a better bottomline?

And @Treab

The "liberal/tolerant" comment was sarcasm. Tolerance is a dangerous 'value' to symbolise progress and 'liberal virtues'. Tolerance, these days, more often than not means: "Why not?" It has become a lame euphemism for indifference.

The feminist "bra burners" were an invention by a NY tabloid fashion photographers. The term "post-feminism" was coined by a man. And Golden Girls, ffs, was cancelled for being too feminist!

And Matt, what if that was my holiday snapshot? :p ;)

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 11, 2012 at 21:36

And Matt, what if that was my holiday snapshot?
Just that it was off-topic, holiday pictures should have their own thread :p.

Treab  Jun. 11, 2012 at 22:07

well Jan all I can say is prude just because its not a choice you would choose doesn't mean noone should and because men give something a term doesn't make it anyless true

jaybear88  Jun. 12, 2012 at 11:48

Sorry Jan but, while I agree with the sentiment, I'm not sure I agree with your approach (totally agree with the remarks on sexualising children however).
Banning sexuality itself seems like a strange concept as it is part of what we are as human beings, especially when the people you refer to are actually deviant examples of the norm. Suicide rates/alcoholism/addiction are rampant in all celebrity life. Especially in Rock music, but we don't consider discouraging playing the guitar.

Of course sexism exists, but it really bugs me when people simply adhere to the sterotypical political correct viewpoint. Sexism works from both sides of the fence, but it's only unacceptable if it's from the male side. The above article topic will obviously hit a nerve with quite a few people, but I wonder how many of them are just as up-in-arms about movies like Twilight? In which one of the main characters stands around topless for no apparent reason. I wonder how many of them laughed at the story about the Russian lady who beat up a burglar and held him as a sex slave for 3 days by drugging him? I wonder how many thought it was funny when a man was caught cheating so while he slept, his wife cut off his **** and threw it in the garbage disposal unit? Have you ever seen Loose Women or The View???

This guys a bit aggressive and a bit over the place but he has a few bits of material that saves me the effort of tracking down individually http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JA4EPRbWhQ

For the record, I am blatantly against "womens rights", "gay rights", "black rights" or any other form of "rights" that specifies one group over another. Equal rights should be the only term that anyone considers.

Sorry, if my rant is a bit weak but I'm seriously sleep starved right now.....

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 2, 2012 at 21:54

jaybear...
Sorry, I missed this reply.
In a perfect world I would agree with you.
But here's the thing: you're wrong. It's not your fault though. A billion dollar industry and it's paid for politricians seem to support your pov.

In the US every day 4 women are killed by men - mostly their (ex) partners... every 18 seconds a woman is battered to the level of requiring medical treatment. How many don't go to a doctor? Lets not even go there.
In the UK 1 in 4 women WILL experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
The UN (!!!) helped cover up DynCorp's involvement in organised sex trafficking in former Yugoslavia. DynCorp provided the USA's "peacekeepers"! Does it get darker?
A 2000 study by the US VA shows 40% of US women soldiers were raped. In the army. By their fellow soldiers. Dark enough? Those people are supposed to have each other's back in deadly serious situations. But hey, lets rape her first.
Sex trafficking experts leave little doubt that nowadays there are more female sex slaves than there were slaves during slavery times... Progress?

I could go on. Fact is: yes, there are those women you mention. Psychopathy and/or desperation lead to many crazy acts. But those acts are statistical blips compared to the
exploitation and abuses of and crimes against women and girls.
Trust me: once dozens of men get raped every hour you will know, and then your argument will make perfect sense. Because then the laws will change and reflect the severity of the pandemic. And then judges will stop belittling the victims.

Black rights? Are you talking "reverse discrimination"? Ah, yes - since the USA paid reparations to Africa and the descendants of slaves... oh, wait, they didn't.

Equal rights should be the only term that anyone considers.
That, unfortunately is NOT good enough. Peer reviewed studies have proven again and again that bias leads to catastrophic discrimination against girls, women and ethnic 'minorities'. The exisance of "equality laws" does not rid us of that bias. In many of these studies the tested 'authority figures' felt they were extremely fair-minded, pro-women etc etc. Many were devastated to realise they too were judging certain people unfairly without any intention.
Human psychology ain't that easy to regulate.


Sorry... this is really stretching the scope of Mobot.

I appreciate the effort you put into your reply, and the honesty. :)

Treab  Jul. 3, 2012 at 03:18

You mention the stat of 1 in 4 women will be assaulted. Agreed thats terrible but theirs the other side for example did you know the abuse of male partners by their wives/girlfriends are going up and the fact is most men won't report it as the police won't believe it.

The usa army stat is terrible if true. but remember that study was of a small group of women within the forces and the reality is we never know the true statistic in the same way we don't and never will know how many women are raped.

but this is irrelevant to this topic after all we are discussing hiring models for new releases of electronic goods to increase the advertising potential... so jan you went dark old boy... really dark.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 3, 2012 at 10:39

You mention the stat of 1 in 4 women will be assaulted. Agreed thats terrible but theirs the other side for example did you know the abuse of male partners by their wives/girlfriends are going up and the fact is most men won't report it as the police won't believe it.

The usa army stat is terrible if true. but remember that study was of a small group of women within the forces and the reality is we never know the true statistic in the same way we don't and never will know how many women are raped.

but this is irrelevant to this topic after all we are discussing hiring models for new releases of electronic goods to increase the advertising potential... so jan you went dark old boy... really dark.


I went "dark" because of jaybear's comment, not because of Lewis' troll-bait.
But that is the thing - and you know it: one thing leads to another. If there wasn't the potential for dark, Lewis wouldn't have asked the question.
And I AM amazed. I 'get' that I'm older than most of you, But if you all think you don't know a 'girl' who was raped, you are all sadly deluded. If YOU all think you don't know a guy who's bashed a 'girl' you are equally deluded.
But hey...

I will stay out of this now. There is no point to debating this. Not here.
I'll even sum it up: all people lie. Minorities just want stuff. Hookers are happy. Moreover, they are 'born' hookers. No learning curve or conditioning. All just free consumer will. Yay.
Nice chattin'. Now lets log into some war and watch how nobody gets killed, torured or raped...cause hey... it can't be.

Email:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.

Comment: