The tech show booth babes. They’re a nearly ubiquitous presence on the show floor, no matter what part of the world you’re in. And, in the male-dominated, insular world of tech past, they raised few reactions from the general public after the show (they may have raised some things during the show). But, with tech becoming more mainstream and being exposed to more intense media coverage, scrutiny has inevitably come along for the ride.
Last year, CES had booth babes wearing only body paint, which, in the United States of 2013 America, is so absurd for what purports to be a professional setting that it must have been someone’s hackneyed idea of a reactionary push against calls for less of the crudest (and, of course, most effective) marketing gimmick known to man. Well, there was definitely backlash against that, with CES tightening up their stance on what is and isn’t OK when it comes to that hallowed tradition.
Our own Zara Stone (one of the too few females at CES who were not booth babes, incidentally) took a different approach to the issue. Are those booth babes really there just to be eye candy, or are they valuable untapped wellsprings of information about high technology? Quick answer? Not really. The results are mixed, but not that mixed – most seem to shy away from tech questions more deftly than a French president dodges questions about his mistress.
But, there are signs that companies are starting to expect a little more from their models. After all, it seems like common sense to conclude that a pretty face with knowledge about what she’s showcasing is more advantageous than a pretty face without. Maybe that way, the presence of booth babes would be a little less cloying, taking the show from being a giant man-baby convention to a (prepare yourself) all-inclusive show celebrating technology for technology’s sake (and making a few sales in the process). Might be nice to make the women who are actually in the industry (ahem) feel a little more welcome, too.