What are your thoughts on ‘booth babes’?

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Booth Babes
IT industry
During this year's International CES conference, a familiar issue arose...booth babes. While they attract users to a company's area and products, SearchCIO-Midmarket senior editor Wendy Schuchart says they don't align with what women are trying to accomplish in the IT industry: To gain respect amongst their peers. What are your thoughts on 'booth babes'?

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This is a good example of people taking themselves too seriously. Booth babes have been around since my first visits to Comdex and Networld/Interop in the early 1990s (and well before then I presume). The companies exhibiting at these shows are there to sell, even be outrageous, so they can gain some attention.

Whether you think it’s degrading or not, sex sells. It’s been researched and proven time and again and that’s why marketers use it. From what I gather, the booth babes are often aspiring models, speakers, and the like – not there to forge a career path to executive management in IT. They generally seem happy to be at these shows as well – no one forcing them to be there.

We humans like to control one another because we’re insecure and not happy with our own situations. I say live and let live. Let booth babes do their thing and we do ours. If we took the things that truly impact our well-being and lives more seriously (namely politics), I think we could all live and work in a much better world. But many people see that stuff as boring so the politicians go about waging their wars of political correctness and facilitating these very stereotypes we complain about.

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  • carlosdl
    I don't like the idea either.  I wonder whether those companies make some type of analysis that leads them to think that having those ladies will help them sell more.  It would be interesting to perform a study involving similar vendors with and without "booth babes", to see the real effects (positive or negative) of this practice. Coincidentally, today a friend of mine brought to my attention the fact that Samsung publicly apologized for some "entertainment" ladies that were dancing in launch of some of their new products at the Africa Forum a few days ago.  Here's the link
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  • Michael Tidmarsh
    Carlos, one of our editorial writers actually just wrote about a controversy surrounding Samsung and it's Galaxy S4 event. I don't think this looks good for Samsung at all.
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  • TomLiotta
    I am sympathetic to the thought that 'booth babes' are a probable negative factor in affecting attitudes about respect. There is plausibility. I'm not quite empathetic, though. Nor am I convinced that it actually is a negative factor as much as a symptom.   I see in carlosdl's linked article that Samsung's apologist was head of corporate marketing and communications, Michelle Potgieter, a woman. Also, any number of search results can bring advertising examples such as Top 10: Worst Male-Bashing Ads.   Men can be portrayed as bumbling fools in many ways. Examples familiar to many of us range from Ralph Kramden and Fred Flintstone to Homer Simpson and Peter Griffen. Adverising, marketing, TV sit-coms... take your pick. If any men could draw booth visitors, they'd be planted up front just for that purpose.   It's simply a human fact. A 'booth babe' does attract attention. It's valid to express being disturbed by it, though, if it has personal effect.   Tom
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  • Michelle Greenlee
    The length of time 'booth babes' have been used at trade shows isn't a valid argument for keeping them as a fixture at events going forward. As a woman working in tech, I don't approve of such a shallow presentation of associated high-tech companies or the objectification of these women. The sexualization of technology doesn't need to continue. Technology needs to sell itself on merit not because it was represented by the most visible flesh at the last trade show.
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