Recently, there has been some complaining about those horrible, awful, draconian anti-harassment policies at conferences. In particular, the Skepticon policy was singled out as particularly wicked and counterproductive (by a certain individual whose nickname ends in “00t”), especially this clause:
Additionally, exhibitors in the expo hall, sponsor or vendor booths, or similar activities are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.
That seems eminently reasonable to me. It’s targeted specifically at ‘booth babe’ culture, where women are used as sexualized props to peddle commercial products. This trend is at its worst in the tech world, and the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas epitomizes the problem: a company put up an elaborate display featuring four women wearing nothing but body paint posing to draw in attention. (NSFW link, with photo of these women)
The women looked straight ahead with bored expressions, and were not allowed to interact with attendees. The company’s own Instagram feed described them as "fembots."
It was not immediately clear how this display was supposed to relate to the product in question, a hard drive.
It’s obvious! Men like to look at naked women, and only men ever buy or use hard drives. And when men are using their hard drives, they like naked women to plug them in. Duh. Just like only men are atheists and skeptics, and they like to imagine all their women naked and serving them little freshly peeled dollops of critical thinking.