Boobs and rubes

By Wagner James Au

Published May 24, 2001 7:01PM (EDT)

Read the story.

Read yesterday's "Boobs and rubes" letters.

It was interesting to see an article written by a man criticizing the booth babes. I was at E3 this year and I felt like a crackpot because I kept bringing it up to people who, while they seemed slightly embarrassed about it, didn't seem to think it was a problem. Since overt sexism tends to give me anxiety attacks, it's a darn good thing I didn't make it over to the GOD booths to see the strippers, but I did have to stand right next to the Wolfenstein booth for three days watching men stand in line to get their pictures taken with women in short shorts and red lace bras.

I don't blame the men though. I blame the marketing idiots who have decided for whatever reason that women don't like games. I'd like to state for the record that we do like games. I personally like them very much just the way they are. I've been a gamer for 20 years -- as a woman and a girl. And I believe more women would play games and come to events like E3 if it wasn't made so abundantly clear to us that we're not welcome, our money's no good here, thank you very much.

A generation ago, car manufacturers thought a woman's only input into the family car-buying decision was choosing the color. They wised up eventually. I hope the day will come soon that game marketers (most of whom are not gamers themselves) will finally start to get it. Until then, we'll just keep buying the games, and trying to ignore the strippers.

-- Peggy Wiltz

I cannot help but wonder what a person who so clearly does NOT understand the gaming industry is doing reporting on it? Perhaps he should have spent more time asking questions instead of making assumptions. Or do reporters not do that anymore?

Au casually condemns the computer gaming industry to "computer geekdom," as he puts it. He's so secure in his own righteousness that he can't conceive others might not feel the same way as he does -- unless, of course, they are a "social retard."

He actually does ask one of the women at the event how she feels about the "Booth Babes" and despite her insistence that she accepted it without a blink of the eye, he casually dismisses her opinion because it does not coincide with his own. Her response is his only evidence of how the women really feel, by the way.

Perhaps if Au had asked the girls involved, he might have found out that they enjoy it as much as the guys do. Perhaps because these "computer geeks," unlike certain Salon authors, aren't pretentious and self-righteous. Maybe it's a surprise to Wagner that women enjoy sex as much as men do, and they enjoy being adored, and cherished, which is exactly what they get from these "computer geeks."

What's more, if you ask these women, they really enjoy it because they don't feel threatened at these events, like they might in other arenas. They get to act wild, or sexy, and be free with their personalities and actually have other people be happy about it. They actually get to do this without pretentious authors condemning them for it.

-- Dark Spider

This was a funny article of the "no, really?" variety.

There is an overlap between the "porn industry" target market -- males between 15 and 35 -- and the "gaming" audience -- males 15-35. Add to this the Asian component of E3 (Sony, Sega and Nintendo are Asian-based companies) which lends a much more open view of sexuality than the American norm (one word: hentai) and the sex at game gatherings like E3 is a given. The writer also seems surprised that there was sex at a convention, though such gatherings have historically been male-dominated and sexually themed. Anybody remember Archie Bunker's convention with the stripper/hooker on "All in the Family"? Conventions have traditionally been held in Nevada for a reason. (L.A., Las Vegas: same thing.) What do you expect to happen at a convention held by and for adolescent males, many of whom have a strong Asian cultural leaning? Bible study?

-- Robert J. Emmerich

By Salon Staff

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