The Weekly Geek: The anti-Booth Babes


It’s a tough world out there for geeky girl bloggers, but we have a few tidbits of encouraging news. First up, the Geek Girls Network is back in business. After almost a half-year hiatus, the popular (and awesome) site is being updated once again — a post dated June 17 announces the re-launch (or un-pausing) of new content.

From the post: “With the official re-launch underway, GGN is making some bold new changes in the way we delivery the geeky girl goodness to our readers. And we are looking for a few amazing and talented women to join the party!”

So far there haven’t been any new updates (I assume that’s what they need new staff for), but I’m certainly anticipating their re-launch. They’ve always had a nice mix of nerdy news across gaming, pop culture and science/tech, and their podcast was always awesome. Good luck and congrats to the ladies over there!

In the post-E3 universe, there’s been quite a bit of encouraging rhetoric in the game-specific space about “booth babes” (In case you don’t know, these are scantily clad women who promote games/tech stuff at conventions), such as Kotaku’s recent post on the subject and this now-classic treatise on the subject from xoJane. This was written back in March, but it’s even more relevant now, after Nintendo’s little stunt at the show, where they actually tethered WiiU controllers to women.

Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty

From the post:

As Lesley pointed out in her GDC diaries, when the bulk of the women one sees in a male dominated space are there as nothing more than human props or marketing tools, it’s easy to make the leap that all women staffing booths are there for the same purpose. For women like me, who are present to discuss the games we’ve worked on, this provides several challenges and also makes the convention floor an unwelcome space for us.

Don’t get me wrong — I’d love to see more women at each con I attend. I just want them to be there as actual attendees or developers, not being shown off like human props.

The use of booth babes in my industry bothers me because it discredits my own presence at conventions and creates situations that compromise my professional integrity. I also just don’t appreciate the way this type of “marketing” denigrates the community that I participate in and make products for.

Amen, sister. It’s wonderful to see so many outlets (including such mainstream sites as Kotaku) taking a real stand on the subject, and always refreshing to see smart women who actually work in the industry weigh in on the “babe problem.”