[mnw.pm] Booth Babe rant

Sarah Burcham sarah at pound.perl.org
Fri Jul 7 13:09:04 CDT 2000

Booth babes really bother me...  moreso that the same marketing ploy on
billboards, tv, magazines, internet banner ads, etc.  I think some of my
reaction pertains to women's issues in general (This is what the cs field tells
me I should look like and value) and part of it is the pure hypocrisy of
having technical fields express concerns about gender ratios and how to improve
them only to go to technical conferences and have the predominant message to
women be "you are a sex object" and are useful for selling stuff to the Real Men
who run the show.

It's true that most of the major players here actually ARE men.  I'm not
claiming otherwise.  And I admit that I do my fair share of blanket
objectification, (cough, my recent A/C repairman) but c'mon... let's check
that at the registration desk and at the doors to our offices for that

The message to women seems to be:  we want women to work side by side 
with us at internet startups working 17 hour days but only if they're
wearing heels and the latest greatest in makeup and surgical sculpting,
and have a smashing modelling portfolio?  I know from personal experience
that this isn't the case.  I've had great work environments and been highly
regarded by my male peers and the powers that be.  But I certainly don't feel
that respect from the industry as a whole when I step onto the conference room
floor.  Thank You Marketing Majors!

Am I being sensitive?  Yes. Of course. I have feelings and issues and all that
good stuff.  But, it's true that women (and MEN) are sensitive about their
bodies.  I think technical women are a special breed that can look beyond
the booth babes and see the swag.  But if we're trying to push the envelope
on attracting smart vibrant talented women into computing, I think the booth
babes only serve to alienate a sizeable portion of your population.  People
are sensitive. If you say "well screw them, they weren't made out for it"
you're being a boys club that discourages diversity and evolution of
the computing culture.

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