I personally am one of the people that finds booth babes insulting, for one thing as a high spender on consumer and industry hardware I am often ignored by booth staff for the crime of being a woman. Even assuming that this weren't true often marketing staff at trade shows are hired for their attractiveness rather than their knowledge of the product that they're representing. It's antiquated sexist and all in all lazy marketing and I'd like to see less of it.
Events like the Penny Arcade Expo have put the question to its attendees directly in the past and now have a ban on Booth Babes. Marketers fight for attention through other means - competitions, giveaways, high tech installations and interactive displays and no one is worse off for it.
CEA president Karen Chupka offered the following
“What does the concept of the Booth Babe say about women? It says that women's place at any tech-related event can only be as an attractive decoration to sweeten the event for the men,” former Eurogamer.net writer Florence noted. “It says that women aren't truly welcome in that world, because the moment you objectify something it isn't part of anything. It's just there. It's just something else to be consumed. Fundamentally, it depicts a woman as a product.
"What does the concept of the Booth Babe say about men? It says that we objectify women to such an extent that we will think nothing of attractive women just "being there" while we watch. It says that we are exactly what a corporate entity believes us to be. It makes us a predictable, easily defined and easily manipulated stick-man on a company whiteboard. It cheapens us. It cheapens all of us. It cheapens the event, and everyone at it, male or female."
I will not lie this started a heated discussion on the #pax IRC channel but what I find positive is the number of men that feel as strongly about this as the women. What do you think? Sign the petition on Change.org if you'd like to see less booth babes at CES and start the conversation about removing them as a necessary part of trade shows.
Sign the petition to enforce a dress policy at CES on Change.org