Wednesday 3 October 2012

Let's all go to Eurogamer and feel exploited and degraded

I've thought long and hard about writing this: it was reading this post on Eurogamer that made me decide to do so.

I've been to Eurogamer for 4 years now. The first year I went for all 3 days, I enjoyed myself - I met some lovely people, played lots of games and hung around with friends. At times I felt a little exposed/uncomfortable/vulnerable, but that goes with the territory - I'm not your typical gamer. For starters, I'm older than most attendees - old enough to be their mum, I'm also a woman and I'm disabled, noticeably so. I struggle to play lots of games, as the controllers can be too hard for me to use. Most of the time though, that's OK, I just get on with it, but occasionally I feel it, largely dependent on the environment I'm in and who I'm with. 

The second year I went, I did pretty much the same stuff - and interviewed a few devs with Lewie and Willeth - David Cage, Chet Faliszek, Terry Cavanagh and the Hello Games guys. I hung out with some very lovely people, played Rock Band in the basement and generally had a fun time. I also met some amazing blokes from Special Effects who were developing controllers for disabled people to use so we could play more games. They were impressive.

The fly in the ointment was Nvidia. Their booth consisted of two blokes in their late 20s/early 30s, clearly the PR blokes, plus two lycra clad, scantily dressed booth babes, both young, pretty, slim women with lots of flesh on view. They were promoting the Nvidia 3D graphics card. I've already commented publicly on the conversation we had with the blokes, and the follow-up conversation we had with Eurogamer. By Saturday morning, the booth babes had covered up: well done Eurogamer.

Last year, I could only go on the Sunday; Lewie had planned a route for me to minimise walking and maximise fun, and I really enjoyed myself.

At this point, I feel I should point out that I go to other gaming events - most recently PAX Prime. I'm a seasoned Con attendee. I know a cosplayer when I see one, in fact almost wore a Dalek dress to PAX, but ran out of time making it.

This year, again I could only attend on Sunday, but I was really looking forward to going, its fun playing games, talking to devs, meeting up with friends.

Almost the first thing I saw was the Virgin booth. I was appalled to see their booth babes.  Who at Eurogamer could not see that young women almost wearing hot pants with QR codes on their bums was offensive, demeaning and degrading to women? This was Sunday - Eurogamer had had Friday and Saturday to deal with this but had failed to. Then I went over to Hello Games for a chat and a play of Joe Danger 2: The Movie and then headed over to the indie section, and walked past another 3 young women dressed like the Virgin booth babes, but with slightly more fabric in their hot pants. Again, this was Sunday; had all the Eurogamer staff gone round the expo with their eyes shut? 

Rupert: you say you don't want booth babes at Eurogamer I have no evidence of this at all. You had the opportunity on day 1 of Eurogamer to say "This is wrong, take your promotional staff away until they are dressed appropriately". You failed to do so. You took action over the Nvidia booth babes, I absolutely do not understand why you failed to last weekend. Your lack of action actually condones the use of booth babes, and tells me that Eurogamer is a place where you're only welcome if you have a functioning penis that gets excited looking at semi naked women. Did you not notice the numbers of women attendees? How do you think we felt? How would your mum have felt if she had come to your show? 

You only have to read a few excellent blogs like Julie Horup's or look at a few websites to see the consequences of booth babes at conventions - E3 is particularly awful, and there have been many recent posts from women about how men feel they own us, can behave inappropriately towards us simply because we are women. Read here, or here or look for yourself. Or read John Walker's article on Tropes vs Women. Even the Guardian gets it.

The only redeeming thing I feel towards Eurogamer right now is that you've printed Rab's comment.

I don't know if I'll be back.

No comments:

Post a Comment