Summer is here, and with it, summer tech conventions, and with them, scantily-dressed women. Last week, the booth babe debate hit Brooklyn when a few women who billed themselves as New York’s “nerdiest burlesque dancers” performed a striptease at SummerCon. In response, technologist and digital rights advocate Amber Baldet, who does burlesque herself, “ragequit” the conference by walking out and penning a lengthy blog post.
“I simply did not want to be associated with something I found to be exclusionary, so I dipped,” she wrote. “As I walked out, I ran into the con organizer. I told him I had to ‘boycott this burlesque thing,’ and he threw up his hands and said, ‘Hey, you have a point.’”
Don’t know what a booth babe is? Just page over to e3girls.com, a site devoted to the attractive women who staff the gaming convention, or over to Examiner for “E3 booth babes exposed,” a 50-slide deck of the “friendly,” “interactive” promotional models who walk the floor often dressed up like video game characters. “At every big conference that comes along someone gets named and shamed for half naked models decorating booth space like some over-sized collection of tacky hood ornaments,” one blogger wrote.
The booth babe debate is not new. But now some bloggers are asking, “does it even work?” Writes Michelle K. in a challenge to booth babe buyers: “Show me that big ‘ole titties are more effective than an engineer who knows her shit. SHOW ME THE MONEY!”