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Jan 11 2013

How ’bout we stop this trend in its tracks?

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.

195 comments

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  1. 1
    Pteryxx

    Women (we’ve never seen any male booth babes) chosen for their looks are paid to hang around a company’s booth and attract the mostly male, mostly older attendees.

    This injustice has been overlooked for far too long! WHERE ARE THE MALE BOOTH BABES!

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    Because nothing screams your respect for prospective customers like having booth bimbos.

  3. 3
    jba55

    I’m surprised that this is even an issue at Skepticon. I understand the concept for trade shows (disclaimer, understand not condone), sex sells, men are the predominate people there, blah blah. But at a skeptic conference? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    @1: I agree! Equal opportunity objectification! I’ve half a mind to show up wearing a thong and with “Reason!” painted across my chest. Although I’d probably get thrown out. And rightly so.

  4. 4
    TX_secular

    The easiest form of advertising is to use sex to sell the product. I always see promotions using sex to sell as a lazy campaign for companies that do not want to take the time to actually convince their customers to buy their products based on the attributes of the product itself.

  5. 5
    chigau (違う)

    “hard” drive.
    *snicker*

  6. 6
    sc_179e0292fa077e16a32f6cf994e62895

    PZ–I realize you probably have no control over this, but FTB, and this blog, frequently feature ads with bimbos in T-shirts. Irony alert.

  7. 7
    PZ Myers

    It isn’t an issue, yet. But these conferences are all growing. This is a preemptive guide.

    I do not understand the concept for trade shows — I was being sarcastic at the end of my post. The linked article reveals that I’m not alone, since many people are wondering what the hell a tableaux of naked women does to sell hard drives. Also, ask yourself this simple question: why are men the the predominate target of this marketing? They are not the only consumers of electronics, and I did not make my recent purchase of a 4tb drive on the basis of the attractiveness of the breasts on the ads.

    The marketers who assume that this kind of exhibit is the way to sell gadgets are probably the same fucking idiots who when they do decide to market to women, just paint their gadget pink.

  8. 8
    Louis

    [Large sarcasm, possibly as much as 3 kiloDougs]

    I wonder if we could make other equally “interesting” human displays to attract viewers/buyers to our product and booth. Hmmmm I know!

    Hard drives are hard working right? Wanna know who else works hard and does whatever you tell them? Slaves. So let’s have a display with lots of black gentlemen and ladies chained together miming work relentlessly. Because you know the overwhelming majority of people who work in tech are white, right? And some white people used to keep black slaves and black is a very tech colour, it’s entirely appropriate! Yay! After all who could find such an innocent reference and attractive expression of our product’s work abilities to be in any way problematic? Hey it just reflects reality, amirite?

    [/Sarcasm]

    Louis

  9. 9
    Jackie

    Scblahblahbullshit,

    What exactly makes a woman in a T-shirt a “bimbo”? You do realize that those website sell T-shirts to both men and women? You also know that they frequently depict a bearded man in a T-shirt too, right? Is he also a bimbo? Oh, that’s right, only women can be denigrated as such.

    Someone is projecting their sexism on others, I think.

  10. 10
    PZ Myers

    There is a lot of discussion in our back channel about the ads — they suck, we know it. They’re so bad that they don’t generate much revenue with click-throughs, either. I know it’s a priority with Ed Brayton to get better, more appropriate ads in place, and he’s busily researching away on the topic.

    But man, we don’t have a lot of choice right now.

  11. 11
    chigau (違う)

    Oh the irony!
    bimbos people wearing t-shirts to sell …. t-shirts.

  12. 12
    Matt Penfold

    To me it just suggests the company’s real message is “Our products are not very good and/or are over-priced but since men have short attention spans here are some tits to make you forget how crappy our products our”.

    It is a message that is demeaning to women, and to men.

  13. 13
    pentatomid

    sc_whateverthefucknumbercrap,

    You’re of course entirely correct in that PZ has no control over the adds, so why did you bring it up? Also, if it’s the t-shirt adds you’rre referring to… Yeah, how strange that adds for t-shirts show models, you know, wearing t-shirts… The only irony here is in your head.

  14. 14
    michaeld

    I`m consistently baffled that those two lines are so often misrepresented as some sort of attack on what attendees can wear. It just defies basic reading comprehension.

    Can we maybe stop calling the models bimbos?

    And if FtB had more control over its ads probably see less astrology, guns, knives, body armour, christian apologetics etc.

  15. 15
    anne mariehovgaard

    The easiest form of advertising is to use sex to sell the product. I always see promotions using sex to sell as a lazy campaign for companies that do not want to take the time to actually convince their customers to buy their products based on the attributes of the product itself.

    It’s not even particularly effective. Research (unfortunately I saw this in a book and can’t find a link) suggests that sexy stuff makes people notice ads and remember them… but it’s so distracting they’re less likely to remember what the ad was FOR :p

  16. 16
    Akira MacKenzie

    Pytrexxx @ 1

    Remember when the film version of “Watchmen” come out a couple of years back? In my slice of geek culture, it was largely hailed as a good film (I agree, it was horribly underrated) until…

    “…Except that blue guy running around naked, man! I didn’t want to see his dick the whole movie! I’m not a meat gazer…”

    That’s the reason why there are no nude men at these expositions. Like the visage of the gorgon is supposed to turn the unwary to stone, the sight of a penis is supposed to turn a red-blooded heterosexual male gay.

    It makes me wonder how these idiots can watch porn.

  17. 17
    Louis

    I also find it interesting, by the way, that a sceptical conference would have a segment that needs scantily clad attractive ladies to sell stuff. I’m not for a moment suggesting the conferences should be stuffy affairs, but the last chemistry conference I went to, for example, had a remarkable lack of exposed breasts and taut bikini briefs and body paint.

    Granted, I, a heterosexualish male and thoroughgoing sexual deviant (class one, purple cluster, many tours of duty), found that lack to be a terrible crisis for me. I had to imagine benzene rings as areolae and carbonyl groups as lady’s special areas (okay, I’ve just creeped myself out…impressive)…oh no wait I didn’t. Even the pharmaceutical booths, not renowned for their stellar adherence to ethical best practise (ahhhh my industry. Making the shenanigans of homoeopaths look childlike by comparison), had a conspicuous titty-lack. How I managed to engage with the reps and various salesfolk I shall never know.

    There was this one woman, remarkably attractive as it happened who I SPOKE to. Like a PERSON about her product. I know! Political correctness gone mad. Obviously I should have encouraged her to take off her professional work suit and slather herself with honey and sprinkles whilst gyrating to Madonna’s Beutiful Strange….okay I’ve gone somewhere else now what was my point? Oh yes, booth babes (I’m not a fan of the word bimbo, at least their bimbosity has not been established) entirely unnecessary. Fanfare, lights, attractive PRODUCTS, knowledgeable staff, handouts, professional production these things I find attract me to a product. Weird. But then I am a lefty liberal feminazi thought policeman who has this strange idea that women might well be people with their own ideas and not necessarily eye candy for me. Oh and they seem also to be equal participants in my industry, at least as good and productive as I am. Strange…how do I reconcile this with having fun?

    [/snark]

    Louis

  18. 18
    jba55

    @PZ: Sarcastic or not, what you said is unfortunately too true for far too many people. It’s a cheap sales tactic, relevance isn’t the goal, it’s to draw in the rubes or whatever they’re calling customers these days. What I do find encouraging is all the negative press these types of tactics are getting now, it’s hopefully a sign that things are changing. It’s something that’s been going on for decades without anyone batting an eyelash, but now people are starting to wonder wtf is going on. A step in the right direction at least.

    I’ll have to find the source, but I read a few months ago about a gaming con that actually banned booth babes. There was an uproar, but the con was still packed.

    “The marketers who assume that this kind of exhibit is the way to sell gadgets are probably the same fucking idiots who when they do decide to market to women, just paint their gadget pink.”

    I would bet you’re right.

  19. 19
    Nicole Glynn

    I’m a web designer and this is an issue that has blown up in the design community lately, too. There has been some backlash about web design/dev conferences having speaker line ups that are composed entirely of white males when the industry is about 25% female (well, 25% female for design, only 9% for development) according to a 2011 survey.

    The comment has been made that the speakers are all men because women don’t want to speak/don’t attend conferences – the flip side of which is that many women in the web industry don’t speak or don’t attend conferences because of the speakers and events being male-dominated.

    The whole thing has a lot of parallels with what’s been going on in the skeptic community.

  20. 20
    Nicole Glynn

    Oh, and there was this: Diversity? That’s for racists.

  21. 21
    Matt Penfold

    I’m a web designer and this is an issue that has blown up in the design community lately, too. There has been some backlash about web design/dev conferences having speaker line ups that are composed entirely of white males when the industry is about 25% female (well, 25% female for design, only 9% for development) according to a 2011 survey.

    I don’t know if it was specifically about web development, but I recall a conference was cancelled recently because the organisers got criticised because every single person they invited to speak was white and male. Rather than go away and have a re-think they cancelled the whole thing.

  22. 22
    Bronze Dog

    Yeah, going all the way to body paint instead of clothing really makes it that much more disturbing. I don’t know the scale of the booth babe thing, but when it’s that explicit, I’d feel dirty from being in the vicinity. I think being more aware has kind of put me off the idea as a whole, anyway. If I went to some convention and booth babes were heavily involved, I’d feel insulted, like the advertisers were assuming me and my fellow geeks were all hopeless virgins starved for the most remote prospects of sexual contact.

    I suppose it’s kind of like Linkara and over-sexed comics: If he wanted porn, he’d get porn, not a comic book. If I wanted to look at scantily clad women, I’d go to a strip club, not a convention.

  23. 23
    devnll

    Booth babes at technical conventions is such a mish-mash of sexism and pandering to stereotype by marketers _both ways_ that I have trouble deciding which reason to hate them for the most. You drape half-naked women over your gear to sell to geeks, because obviously all geeks are spotty bespectacled nerds who would never talk to an actual woman, so you deliberately manufacture the appearance of a fake captive one for them to safely talk to, which will presumably send them into such a tizzy of excitement that they won’t notice that your hardware is crap.

    Bah. Any real geek will be buying hardware or software because of its specs, which they have researched, and nothing else. I honestly think the booth babes are sexual plumage for the marketing folks – their way of showing off to the other marketing folks, not the customers. It’d be interesting to see a study done on whether thay have any effect on sales. Personally, I see naked ladies draped over your hard drives and my first thought* is: “Wow; wonder what they’re trying to hide. Bet those drives _suck_.”

    *About the drives anyways. It may be beaten to the punch by “Wow; their job sucks.”

  24. 24
    jamessweet

    I used to think a lot of this pushback had to do with not understanding the context. I can totally understand how a provision restricting the dress of conference exhibitors would seem onerous at first glance, but in the context of the “booth babes” phenomenon it seems both necessary and proper (and also serves to reassure that someone who is dressing the way they want and not being exploited is unlikely to have this clause enforced on them just because somebody else doesn’t care for the way they dress). To be perfectly honest, when I first heard of those sort of “dress code” provisions (like a year ago — this will become important in a moment) I was like, “Wait, that doesn’t sound right…”, then somebody said “Booth babes”, and I was like, “Oh, yeah, sure, that makes perfect sense.”

    So yeah, I used to think the people pushing back just didn’t get the context. But surely thunderf00t knows the context by now, so that’s no longer a valid excuse. Well, if it was ever a valid excuse, that is. But it surely isn’t now.

  25. 25
    screechymonkey

    michaeld @14:

    I`m consistently baffled that those two lines are so often misrepresented as some sort of attack on what attendees can wear. It just defies basic reading comprehension.

    True. And it should hardly be a surprising concept that a convention would set different, stricter requirements for exhibitors and speakers than it would for attendees. I expect that any skeptic convention would allow young earth creationists, Bigfoot hunters, etc. to attend as long as they aren’t disruptive — but wouldn’t give them speaking slots, and probably wouldn’t let them set up booths.

  26. 26
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    OK, perhaps we can take as a lesson of how entrenched sexism is in our culture the way the fact that many immediately called the booth babes or for that matter the t-shirt models bimbos. We know nothing about these women. For all we know, they could be taking this “modeling job” as a way of earning cash to pay for med school so they could be a fricking brain surgeon.

    Yes the objectification of women to sell merchandise is tacky, but the women are not the authors of the tackiness. They’re just punching a time clock wearing their particular work uniform. Can we at least treat them with respect they deserve as human beings?

  27. 27
    Gregory Greenwood

    This ongoing trope within advertising that “sex sells, and so it is OK to treat women as barely human props” is disgusting, but probably not quite as disgusting as some of the comments on the linked article.

    Seriously, in the interests of not sending yourself into a terminal spiral of despising your own species, don’t read them.

  28. 28
    Gregory Greenwood

    Akira MacKenzie @ 16;

    That’s the reason why there are no nude men at these expositions. Like the visage of the gorgon is supposed to turn the unwary to stone, the sight of a penis is supposed to turn a red-blooded heterosexual male gay.

    I wonder if they all keep mirror-shields handy for that purpose, or would such high-sheen equipment be just a bit too fabulous for those Real Manly Men(TM)?

    It makes me wonder how these idiots can watch porn.

    They probably do the one thing that can make most mainstream porn even more problematic than it already is – state that:-

    “Real men only watch the ‘girl-on-girl’ stuff.”

  29. 29
    jazzmac251

    These are grown women fully capable of deciding for themselves if they want to get paid to stand around naked. They don’t need you or any other “knight in shining armor” riding to their rescue to inform them of how persecuted, marginalized, and/or disrespected they don’t realize they are. In fact, the whole trope popular in the current feminist movement (implied in this post and outright stated by Rebecca Watson) that women sometimes need to be “educated” or “informed” about how under-the-thumb-of-men they are is patronizing as hell. It’s built on the implied premise that women are incapable of making decisions about appropriate relationships with men (business or personal) on their own thus are in need of someone to do it for them.

    I am not convinced of he notion that the actions or decisions of a single woman (e.g. serving as a naked-lady prop to sell merchandise) can and should reflect on the entire gender gender as a whole. Put another way, I think stripping is degrading to strippers, not necessarily the entire female gender.

    This is just concern trolling.

  30. 30
    SnowyBiscuit

    michaeld:
    Can we maybe stop calling the models bimbos?

    Agreed. For models it’s a job. Back in college, I did a number of modeling gigs because they paid way better than retail and took up far less of my time.

    I did not magically become stupid because I was wearing something skimpy. Still a geek, still loved computers, still had that 3.8 GPA….just was wearing a bikini.

    Whether or not I lost feminist cred might be another story. But to be honest, I didn’t care. I paid my tuition with my money that I made legally.

  31. 31
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    Put another way, I think stripping is degrading to strippers, not necessarily the entire female gender.

    Why should stripping be degrading to strippers?

  32. 32
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    This is just concern trolling.

    No, clueless cupcake, that’s reaching too high. You’re just wanking and expecting all of us to watch. Eww.

  33. 33
    Nick Gotts

    jazzmac251,

    Well, at least you admit you’re just concern trolling. But you evidently didn’t read either the OP or the comments with any comprehension at all.

  34. 34
    Rob Grigjanis

    This is never a problem at Apathetic Misanthrope Skepticons.

  35. 35
    ronsullivan

    But What About the Menz?

    Where da naked menz at?

  36. 36
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Why should stripping be degrading to strippers?

    I was wondering that too. The first part of that pointless wank post is to use the bigot buzzword ‘whiteknighting’ and declare that women make choices that should be above any reflection, criticism or thought because WHITEKNIGHTING! REBECCA WATSON!

    And then, suddenly, he turns on a dime and declares the exact same thing he was just telling us it totally okay because women chose to do it, is demeaning to that one hypothetical stripper,and only that one hypothetical stripper, because everyone knows there’s no such thing as “society” or “culture” or “history”

    makes perfect sense, right?

  37. 37
    Kevin

    It’s probably a “razor” of some sort that the more indistinguishable your product is from the competition, the more you are forced to use sex to sell it.

    Eg, “godaddy”.

  38. 38
    jazzmac251

    What the fuck? I meant that PZ’s post was just concern trolling. Do you not understand that or are you making some pathetic attempt to “turn my own words against me”?

    @Nick, why don’t you explain it to using a thought-out argument instead of making a dismissive comment. I read the OP, I’ve been following this issue, and I side with Thunderf00t.

  39. 39
    chigau (違う)

    Rob Grigjanis

    This is never a problem at Apathetic Misanthrope Skepticons.

    That’s ’cause you never invite Rebecca Watson.

  40. 40
    Nick Gotts

    jazzmac251,

    @Nick, why don’t you explain it to using a thought-out argument instead of making a dismissive comment.

    Because you’re a fuckwit who’s not worth more than a dismissive comment.

    I’ve been following this issue, and I side with Thunderf00t.

    That’s because you’re a fuckwit.

  41. 41
    jazzmac251

    @nightshadequeen, as far as taking your clothes of for money can be seen as degrading, I think the degradation stops at the people performing the act and does not extend to all members of the gender. If you don’t see stripping as degrading, that’s fine by me.

  42. 42
    chigau (違う)

    What the fuck? I meant that PZ’s post was just concern trolling.

    Caught one!

  43. 43
    jazzmac251

    @Nick Gotts

    Fuck off, buddy. Grown-ups are talking.

  44. 44
    roland

    I don’t get it. I thought people should be able to wear whatever they want without being harassed, but now you can’t wear something that’s too revealing?

  45. 45
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I read the OP, I’ve been following this issue, and I side with Thunderf00t.

    Prima facie evidence you can’t comprehend the issue.

  46. 46
    zekehoskin

    My favorite pair of signs:
    DO NOT ENTER IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY NUDITY
    PROPER DRESS REQUIRED

    My take on using near-nude models at a trade show: in the context of a society where people ARE offended by nudity, it’s offensive. In the context of a society where men are encouraged to go into a rampant frenzy at the sight of a nipple, it’s endangering to the women present. In a society free of sexual predation and nudity hangups (bring it on!), it would be pointless.

  47. 47
    erikthebassist

    umm, ok, ignoring jazzmac the troll for a moment….

    Ok I detest using sex to market products that having nothing to do with sex as well, but I’m sorry, I’m looking at that picture and I’m not thinking sex, I’m thinking art.

    It’s not particularly good art, but I see at least an attempt at making an artistic statement using the human form. I don’t see this as a cheap attempt to use sex to sell.

    Putting aside the asthetic quality of it all, which I think sucks, I just see something I might also expect to see in a modern art gallery.

    Am I all alone on this? I know intent isn’t magic, but I really think the intent here was art and not sexualization.

  48. 48
    athyco

    You can decide if you want me to pay you to stand around naked, jazzmac251. It would be in my backyard, however, because if I were to organize a conference, I’d have other goals in mind than admiring the curve of your flank.

    Atheist/skeptic/freethought conventions and conferences have inclusion as their goal. The harassment policies as they regard the individual attendees focus on consent in interaction and responsible consensual behavior in public. The harassment policies as they regard the organizer, vendors, staff, and venue concern the atmosphere and presentation. You think that the upcoming North Texas Secular Convention (with Camp Quest) will be messaging “We’re inclusive!!” with six vendors competing for the least clad booth babes?

  49. 49
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Fuck off, buddy. Grown-ups are talking.

    Which certainly doesn’t include you, cupcake, so you can stop pretending you have any standing to tell regulars to fuck off.

  50. 50
    jazzmac251

    @Illuminata

    Where did I use the term “whiteknighting”? How is that bigoted?

    @erikthebassist

    Not trolling, just offering a dissenting opinion. So far everyone is just attacking me personally rather than offering up any actual argument for another perspective.

  51. 51
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    Jazzmac:

    Would you like to defend or reject this statement?

    I am not convinced of he notion that the actions or decisions of a single woman (e.g. serving as a naked-lady prop to sell merchandise) can and should reflect on the entire gender gender as a whole. Put another way, I think stripping is degrading to strippers.

  52. 52
    poxyhowzes

    I can make this really simple: the rule at conferences is:

    “No member of the Vendor’s staff shall appear in any conference venue and/or at any time during the conference displaying less flesh than the least-clad member of the Vendor’s staff displays during exhibit hours. In implementing this rule, baldness shall not be counted as a display of flesh.

    pH

  53. 53
    athyco

    Jazzmack251, you said:

    “knight in shining armor” riding to their rescue

    Shorthand for those 8 words is “white knight.” Stock literary character.

  54. 54
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    What a surprise, this wanking troll is a dipshit..

    Here, let me quote you: “They don’t need you or any other “knight in shining armor” riding to their rescue to inform them of how persecuted, marginalized, and/or disrespected they don’t realize they are.”

    That’s WHITEKNIGHTING! bigot buzzwording. And, seriously, if you don’t understand why that’s bigotted, you need to go the fuck away. You are in over your head here.

  55. 55
    Nick Gotts

    Fuck off, buddy. – jazzmac251

    I’m not your buddy, scumbag.

    Look, fuckwit, I’ll explain the point to you. The clause is not there because nudity is considered degrading either to the naked individual or to women as a whole. It’s there because a lot of people, including men, and indeed including men and women who enjoy looking at naked women in some contexts, do not consider a sceptical or atheist conference an appropriate context for the creation of such a “sexualised environment”. Since there are plenty of places those who want to can go and look at naked women, no attendee loses by it.

    Got it yet, shit-for-brains?

  56. 56
    athyco

    It’s not particularly good art, but I see at least an attempt at making an artistic statement using the human form. I don’t see this as a cheap attempt to use sex to sell.

    Putting aside the asthetic quality of it all, which I think sucks, I just see something I might also expect to see in a modern art gallery.

    Am I all alone on this? I know intent isn’t magic, but I really think the intent here was art and not sexualization.

    Then why not a life-size poster or large-screen video, erik?

  57. 57
    jazzmac251

    @athyco

    Thank you for presenting an actual argument!

    I think that it would be up to the event staff to only allow in vendors they feel reflect their event appropriately. All of these rules are unnecessary, I think. Has any skeptical event had a booth that featured “booth babes”?

    The problem with these rules is that they are overly broad and subject to abuse. What EXACTLY constitutes “sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment”? If a vendor at TAM, for example, has its booth staffed with pretty girls that chose to wear flashy “going-out” attire (which is often quite sexy) to get the attention of passers-by, are they going to be harassed by event staff demanding they cover themselves to the coordinator’s liking? If not, why not? It’s not like there are definite parameters around what is and isn’t sexual, especially at an adult event like TAM.

  58. 58
    michaeld

    Jazz

    The idea is if you grow up in society you internalize a lot of the messages it spreads both the good and the bad. You often don’t think about them unless they are challenged.

    To pick an example closer to atheism someone in small town Texas might think:
    Why shouldn’t the town hall meeting start with a prayer if the members are all church goers and it’s been going like this for the past 40 years? Besides who’s it harming any way its just some words people can just ignore them.

    As you may well know there are actually reasons why this kind of behavior is wrong both legally and in the ways it others minority members of the community. However someone who has grown up in such an environment may not realise the problems unless say an atheist explains them to them. Even if the person is an atheist they may not know of say the constitutional problems unless someone educates them on it.

  59. 59
    erikthebassist

    Athyco, you’d have to ask the artist I guess, or apply your own interpretation.

    In fact, looking at this it’s conceivable to me that the artist might be trying to make a statement abut the objectification of women. The women here are canvases, unthinking, unfeeling canvases, objects…

    Maybe it’s a poorly done but at least respectable attempt at making a feminist positive statement at a tech conference where booth babes are the norm? Is there any room for a benefit of the doubt here?

  60. 60
    Gregory Greenwood

    jazzmac251 @ 38;

    I read the OP, I’ve been following this issue, and I side with Thunderf00t.

    Wait – you know what Thunderf00t has said about sexism, and you still agree with him?

    Talk about damned out of your own keyboard…

    @ 42;

    Fuck off, buddy. Grown-ups are talking.

    You know no one is going to take you seriously when you say things like this, right?

    You have just stumbled into this forum from the wilderness of the internet, smelling strongly of MRA sites, and done the equivalent of squatting down and defecating liberally on the rug. You are somewhat lacking in credibility to be making any pronouncements at the moment, doubly so when you tell a well known regular to leave because the ‘grown-ups are talking’ when your level of understanding of the issues would shame the average three year old.

    At this juncture – now that the ”it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt” ship has well and truly sailed for you – I strongly advise you to bear in mind the first rule of holes.

    Stop digging.

  61. 61
    jazzmac251

    @Illuminata

    The phrase “knight in shining armor” in this context refers to someone riding to the rescue of someone else, being their champion, you know, like knights in fairy tales. I was saying that PZ is misplaced in his attempts to ride gallantly to the rescue of these damsels in distress, because the damsels in question are, in fact, not in distress at all.

    How this is is bigoted is beyond me. “Bigot” is a very extreme label. You shouldn’t be so quick to label strangers with it based on a single comment that you clearly misunderstood.

  62. 62
    jazzmac251

    @Gregory Greenwood

    “You know no one is going to take you seriously when you say things like this, right?”

    Did you not see what this was in response to? He said to me:

    “jazzmac251,

    That’s because you’re a fuckwit.”

    Comment #40

  63. 63
    Nick Gotts

    jazzmac251,

    Jesus wept, you’re stupid. The point of having the rule is to provide guidance to both event staff and exhibitors. Of course the rule requires interpretation – like most rules, including actual laws – but potential exhibitors are warned by it that if they intend to staff their booth with “pretty girls” in sexy attire (you meant, of course, women – or maybe you’re thinking of the pedophile market), they should check with the organisers that what they intend is considered acceptable.

  64. 64
    Pteryxx

    The problem with these rules is that they are overly broad and subject to abuse. What EXACTLY constitutes “sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment”?

    are they going to be harassed by event staff demanding they cover themselves

    you not only side with Thunderfoot, you repeat his misrepresentations near-perfectly.

  65. 65
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Jizzmac251,
    I don’t think you get it. Using female sexuality to sell to men is degrading to both men and women. It operates on the premise that women have nothing to offer men–no persuasive power–other than their sexuality, and that men have no rational ability to control their sexual desire. Do you see that this insults both men and women by trivializing human interactions?

  66. 66
    athyco

    Conferences are not free. Even Skepticon involves travel and lodging expenses. The rules–KNOWN to the attendees ahead of time–are necessary so that the pool of attendees is not limited by uncertainty of their acceptance, their enjoyment, their safety.

    And as for an organization like American Atheists banning “booth babes,” I’m almost positive that the subject has never come up because any vendor they’d choose would be likely already to have clientele who’d find it offensive. And why do you care what EXACTLY constitutes your quoted material? That’s between the convention and the vendor. If a vendor–who decides what the booth babes wear, not the women–puts them in clothing that the organizer thinks oversteps, then the ORGANIZER tosses out the VENDOR. The women aren’t harassed.

  67. 67
    jazzmac251

    @Nick

    First of all, you need to learn to talk to people. I make a dissent comment and you’re calling me a stupid fuckwit and now this bullshit about pedophilia almost right out of the gate. What the fuck with wrong with you people? Is it possible to have a conversation here without immediately stooping to the lowest level possible?

  68. 68
    Gregory Greenwood

    jazzmac251 @ 62;

    That’s because you’re a fuckwit.”

    With your every post this seems an ever more accurate assessment.

  69. 69
    Nick Gotts

    He said to me:

    “jazzmac251,

    That’s because you’re a fuckwit.”

    A simple statement of fact, as you’ve proved a number of times.

  70. 70
    erikthebassist

    jazzmac,

    You aren’t the first clueless anti-feminist to stumble in here unawares. The commentariate here has no patience for your type. Your arguments have been addressed here, thousands of times and have been shot down repeatedly and convincingly. You reek of being an MRA / slymepit troll.

    The treatment you are getting is the result of 2 years now of history going back to elevatorgate of mysoginist fuckwits coming here and making clueless arguments, and so far, you fit the bill perfectly.

    But I suspect you know this, and that’s why did, and still call you a troll.

  71. 71
    athyco

    Maybe it’s a poorly done but at least respectable attempt at making a feminist positive statement at a tech conference where booth babes are the norm? Is there any room for a benefit of the doubt here?

    My benefit of the doubt involves (1) the likelihood of it being a feminist positive statement, (2) the venue and vendor and their history of booth babes versus feminist positive statements, and (3) a noticeable dichotomy between past booth babes and this example in order to be an effective feminist positive statement. (I don’t find that in–hey, booth babes were scantily clad before…let’s go for not clad at all!

    My room for a benefit of the doubt is teeny tiny henincy, as my favorite aunt used to say.

  72. 72
    Nick Gotts

    jazzmac251,

    First of all, you need to learn to talk to people.

    I adapt my style to the person I’m talking to.

    I make a dissent comment and you’re calling me a stupid fuckwit

    That’s because it was a fucking stupid comment.

    now this bullshit about pedophilia almost right out of the gate

    A response to your infantilization of women.

    What the fuck with wrong with you people?

    A year and a half of dealing with MRA fuckwits leaves many of us with very little patience for one more.

    Is it possible to have a conversation here without immediately stooping to the lowest level possible?

    Well, you could have tried doing so, but you didn’t.

  73. 73
    unclefrogy

    I do not see the reason for the controversy or the discussion to continue indefinitely. If the organizers of any event in response to their intended attendees feel that they want to set up some kinds of rules for attendees and any presenters and marketers that are compliant with all laws and regulations that is their right and their decision. No?

    I see the ban on booth babes as a “No Pimps” rule
    but that is just me.

    uncle frogy

  74. 74
    SallyStrange

    Jazzmac agrees with Tf00t when he says that conferences shouldn’t have harassment policies, because anything that’s really serious, the police can take care of?

    Well, Jazzmac, Tf00t is a lying, sexist idiot. So when you say you’re on his side, that means you’re allying yourself with a lying, sexist idiot. You should not expect to get anything more than contempt and scorn in return.

  75. 75
    erikthebassist

    athyco,

    My room for a benefit of the doubt is teeny tiny henincy, as my favorite aunt used to say.

    Mine is as well. I think given the context, history and current debate about booth babes in general, this is in poor taste and does nothing to advance a feminist positive message, again, even if that’s intent.

    I think it might be, but intent isn’t magic as we know. The result is what counts and reading the comments on mashable, few people, if any, groked that intent or read it in to the imagery. Doods saw boobies and think that’s just swell, and women who have self respect saw women being used as objects, yet again, to sell a product to those doods, with no consideration that women might actually be interested in the damned thing too.

    So, I withdraw my concern that we may have a misguided but well intentioned artist here.

  76. 76
    athyco

    And I’d like to call your attention, jazzmac251, to the fact that erikthebassett and I are disagreeing about something in the OP. We’re made statements without inferring the intent of someone else. We’ve asked/answered questions. I may be persuaded; erik may be persuaded; we may let the conversation drop.

    I have answered you mildly because I’m less battle scarred, just as a factor of time spent commenting. I don’t disagree with anyone who’s called you a fuckwit because there are other idiots who have jumped in that I have called far worse.

  77. 77
    cactusren

    jazzmac:

    I think that it would be up to the event staff to only allow in vendors they feel reflect their event appropriately. All of these rules are unnecessary, I think.

    Yes, and the conference needs to make clear to those vendors what is appropriate at their conference, which is exactly why the rules are necessary.

    A different, but somewhat analagous situation: At a recent Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting, there was a vendor selling, among other things, vertebrate fossils. The society’s code of ethics is that the sale of vertebrate fossils is not to be encouraged. Armed with that, one of the organizers of the conference talked to the vendor, and those fossils were quickly taken off display. But if there were no rule or precedence for that, it could have been a much messier incident.

    The point is that making clear what is considered acceptable within a given conference, up front, is always a good idea. If you choose not to go to conferences that restrict the use of sex to sell you shit, you’re perfectly free to not go. But some of us prefer those kinds of cons. (And for what it’s worth, there are no booth babes at SVP, and the vendors seem to do quite well.)

  78. 78
    athyco

    Ha! Shoulda refreshed before posting about erik and me. :)

  79. 79
    jazzmac251

    You know what, you people are disgusting. Some valid points were made here and there, but it is impossible to even address them due to overwhelming urge to address every hateful, ludicrous personal insult first.

    For the information of anyone interested, I’ve been following PZ for 5 or 6 years. It’s surprising that this is what his blog has become. You people are so insular it’s ridiculous. A person can’t even present a dissenting opinion without immediately being called every name in the book. I’d like to keep talking about this issue, but it seems like hardly any of you know how to talk to someone you disagree with without being INCREDIBLY offensive.

    This just goes to show why nobody should ever join a “movement” of any kind. The big names of any movement have ideas that are appealing enough, but the rank-and-file are almost universally awful at reflecting the values their movement holds dear, meaning a sizable percentage of the people within the movement are people you wouldn’t give the time of day to. Atheist, Skeptic, Theist, Democrat, Republican – it doesn’t matter. The rank-and-file is rife with shitheads. That will likely never change because being shitheaded is a common human characteristic that no movement will likely ever cure.

    Enjoy your insular environment. This is one long-time subscriber that is gone for good. If a blogger is only as good as the people that follows them, then I look forward to him leaving FTB.

  80. 80
    erikthebassist

    Well, I wasn’t actually concerned from the beginning, just thought I’d get the line of argument our there and dismiss it in case any lurkers might have been thinking the same. =)

  81. 81
    SallyStrange

    No no no, athyco and erik! You’re doing it alllll wrong! You’re supposed to descend into a vicious circle of personal insults and acrimony until one or both of you get banned!

    Oh wait, you’re not bigots trying to justify bigotry, you’re two rational people trying to work out how best to apply the principles of equality and humanism in real life situations.

    Unlike jazzmac.

    Carry on, then.

  82. 82
    chigau (違う)

    Now I’m trying not to picture Paleontological BoothBabes.

  83. 83
    SallyStrange

    A person can’t even present a dissenting opinion without immediately being called every name in the book.

    You lie, just like your pal Thunderfoot. Right here in this thread, there was an example of a person presenting a dissenting opinion without being called every name in the book.

    It was the content of your opinion, and the disgusting combination of ignorance, prejudice, and arrogance behind it, that led people to insult you. Rightfully so.

  84. 84
    Louis

    Jazzmac,

    I wonder if you get the point behind my #8.

    Louis (One of the “YOU disgusting people” I imagine)

  85. 85
    chigau (違う)

    For the information of anyone interested, I’ve been following PZ for 5 or 6 years. It’s surprising that this is what his blog has become. You people are so insular it’s ridiculous. A person can’t even present a dissenting opinion without immediately being called every name in the book. I’d like to keep talking about this issue, but it seems like hardly any of you know how to talk to someone you disagree with without being INCREDIBLY offensive.

    Why do they always end up saying this?
    It’s like there’s a script.

  86. 86
    screechymonkey

    Uh-oh, everyone. We’ve driven away jazzmac and his valuable contributions!

    Let’s all take a moment to think about what we’ve done.

  87. 87
    SallyStrange

    Let’s all take a moment to think about what we’ve done.

    I’m thinking hard… We really have improved the atmosphere around here! Great job, everyone! High fives all around.

  88. 88
    erikthebassist

    Trust me Jazzmac when I comfortably say I speak for most every one; we really really truly hope you stick that flounce.

    If you’ve been following the comments here for 6 years as you say, then you are even more clueless than we’d imagined. How could you think that vomit was going to go over well in any sense?

    Not for nothing, if you were truly interested in the debate, and really were familiar with the culture here, you would have stuck with the substance and ignored the invective. Instead you result to tone trolling, which you should also know is not respectable in this culture.

    I think you’re lying, you haven’t been following this blog for 6 years or you would know these things.

  89. 89
    cactusren

    For the information of anyone interested, I’ve been following PZ for 5 or 6 years. It’s surprising that this is what his blog has become.

    It seems like you might not have been paying much attention. Look, I don’t comment here as much as some others, so I’m not so weary of explaining the same damned concepts over and over. But if you really don’t understand why people here are angry with you, try reading any of the threads dealing with sexual harassment, and you’ll start to see why the regulars are tired of this bullshit.

    Here, I’ll explain one thing for you: White-knighting is offensive because it plays off the trope of the damsel in distress who needs a man to swoop in and save her. See how that makes women into passive objects, and trophies to be won by knights, rather than, you know, autonomous people?

  90. 90
    athyco

    Folks like jazzmac251 do baffle me with their inconsistency. He’d be among the first, with the Tf00t viewpoint, to say that there should be booth babes–you have the FREEDOM not to look at ‘em because you don’t have the right not to be offended.

    But when they come to argue and admit that there are good points being made against theirs, they are totally incapable of not looking at posts they find offensive in order to address them.

  91. 91
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    A person can’t even present a dissenting opinion without immediately being called every name in the book.

    Translation: I’m a lying, ignorant coward, why didn’t you worship my completely pointless wanking? Thunderdouche likes my wanking! I’ll go wank there!

  92. 92
    Nick Gotts

    This is one long-time subscriber that is gone for good. – jazzmac251

    Promise?

  93. 93
    abear

    What the fuck with wrong with you people? Is it possible to have a conversation here without immediately stooping to the lowest level possible?

    What’s wrong with these people? They don’t have an honest argument to make so they resort to childish name calling. Got it you fuckwitted cupcake?
    Notice they don’t call out Skepchicks for their nude calender or PZ for sexually harassing that woman on stage at Skepticon 3? It’s the “others” that are gender traitors and MRAs.
    If you came here expecting a fair debate you came to the wrong place.

  94. 94
    cactusren

    chigau:

    Now I’m trying not to picture Paleontological BoothBabes.

    I think they’d look like this: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12879921

  95. 95
    screechymonkey

    Dear sweet FSM, abear just about filled my Bingo card in a single comment. That’s some cliche-dense trolling there!

  96. 96
    Grumps

    Lurking for 6 years and yet calls women girls…… Now that’s some stupid right there.

  97. 97
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Why do they always end up saying this?
    It’s like there’s a script.

    I think they see it as a powerful statement (losing popularity) against PZ instead of a “tell” for the source, and hence the dismissal of what was said.

  98. 98
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Shorter abear: I hate bitches! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!!

  99. 99
    chigau (違う)

    cactusren
    Pink!!!
    I was picturing something a little more … fossilly.

  100. 100
    athyco

    Rob:

    This is never a problem at Apathetic Misanthrope Skepticons.

    In the flurry, I missed this! It made me immediately think of the fake French accented Meg Ryan saying, “My ass is twitching. You people make my ass twitch.” Ha!

  101. 101
    cactusren

    chigau
    Well, I guess if you want a booth babe who will just stand there and not interact with anyone (and who doesn’t have clothes, or even skin or muscles) you could always bring a cast of Lucy.

  102. 102
    Nick Gotts

    abear,

    Notice they don’t call out Skepchicks for their nude calender

    Another fuckwit who proves it with their first comment. There is no objection from those who oppose MRAs like you and jazzmac251 to nudity, or to sex: the objection is to sexism and misogyny, and in the particular context, to conference environments that make many people, particularly but not only women, uncomfortable.

    or PZ for sexually harassing that woman on stage at Skepticon 3?

    And a liar, too. Because, of course, that didn’t happen; simply, thunderfart dishonestly edited the video to misrepresent harmless banter between PZ and a volunteer, in which the latter was an active and quite evidently willing participant.

  103. 103
    cactusren

    But when they come to argue and admit that there are good points being made against theirs, they are totally incapable of not looking at posts they find offensive in order to address them.

    QFT. Furthermore, these are generally the same people who would say, “oh, THAT’S not sexual harrassment. You just need to be less sensitive.” But as soon as anyone says something mean about them, that person is a bully and everything is so unfair!

  104. 104
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    abear:

    Care to make an cohesive and evidenced argument here?

  105. 105
    chigau (違う)

    cactusren
    Lucy in a bikini.
    Just what I had in mind.

  106. 106
    SallyStrange

    Notice they don’t call out Skepchicks for their nude calender

    The lie here is that opposition to sexism is opposition to sex and sexiness.

    or PZ for sexually harassing that woman on stage at Skepticon 3? It’s the “others” that are gender traitors and MRAs.

    The lie here is that PZ sexually harassed a woman a Skepticon 3. There is also the lie that opposition to sexual harassment is opposition to talking or joking about sex.

    If you came here expecting a fair debate you came to the wrong place.

    Protip: Lying is inconsistent with a “fair debate.”

  107. 107
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Abear is a chronic hit and run troll. The troll will just make one inflammatory comment , usually not at all truthful and not bother to back anything up.

    Do not expect abear to say an other word in this thread. Just expect an other point post in an other thread.

  108. 108
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Shouldn’t you be down with PZ’s “sexual harassment”*, abear?
    I mean, he was just exercising his right to FREE SPEECH.

    *I know what the situation was and what is wasn’t, but there’s just no reasoning with some people.

  109. 109
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Abear is a chronic hit and run troll.

    Ahh, so we can add pants-pissing coward to his list of lovely attributes.

  110. 110
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    That would be “pointless”, not “point”.

  111. 111
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    jazzmac:

    You know what, you people are disgusting.

    I know you are, but what am I?

    (what can I say…the quality of that post was grade school, hence my response)

  112. 112
    noastronomer

    Holy crap on the CES photo. As a software developer I’ve been to a few of these types of events, and I admit that I’ve spent an in-appropriate amount of time talking to females with low-cut tops and/or high-cut skirts. I have never seen anything like that photo though. That’s even insulting to me.

    (and just so I’m clear I whole-heartedly applaud the removal of all ‘booth-babes’, not just the ones I can’t talk too)

    Mike.

  113. 113
    calladus

    As an electrical engineer, I’ve seen my share of “booth babes”.

    You know what REALLY attracts my attention to a booth? It contains a product that I’m interested in knowing more about.

    Secondary: Booth treasure. I must have 3 Rubik’s Cubes and another 3-4 mini-Etch-A-Sketches. Plus a huge poster of Robby the Robot from “Forbidden Planet”.

    I prefer getting free In-Circuit-Debuggers though.

  114. 114
    Inaji

    Wow, that photo. “Fembots”. Way to go on emphasising the whole women = objects front.

    Yikes.

  115. 115
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    To me, that display looks like a piece of art (I guess, given the live people involved, I’d classify it as performance art). However, given the general atmosphere of a conference like that, and the prevalence of the traditional (and very sexist) booth model phenomenon, not the right context for it (at least not if you don’t want your company to come off as objectifying women in a loutishly sexist way). And “fembot”? Yeah, definitely over the line.

  116. 116
    abear

    Illuminata; Thanks for making my point. You just proved that all you can do is misrepresent people and call them names. You and your toxic pals do more to hurt the feminist cause than all the real misogynists in the worst recesses of the internet.
    Are you for real or are you undercover recruiters for the MRA movement?
    I am a long time supporter of gender equality and fair treatment for women, you are just a whiny keyboard jihadist that likes to make pissy comments to make yourself feel like you fit in with the other purist “true” believers.

  117. 117
    Rowan vet-tech

    Thanks to abear at 116 I got a BINGO! What prize does we gets, preciousssss?

  118. 118
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I am a long time supporter of gender equality and fair treatment for women,

    Citation needed, along with an attitude adjustment. The only reason for you ‘tude is trolling, lying and bullshitting.

  119. 119
    Inaji

    You and your toxic pals do more to hurt the feminist cause than all the real misogynists in the worst recesses of the internet.

    I’m sure it makes you feel better to think so, dear. You really should come to the realization that your fantasies aren’t reality.

    I am a long time supporter of gender equality and fair treatment for women,

    Well, no. All we have to go on are your posts here, and going by that, the above statement is a lie.

    you are just a whiny keyboard jihadist that likes to make pissy comments to make yourself feel like you fit in with the other purist “true” believers.

    “Jihadist”, eh? Goodness me, and you want to whine about words. You’re quite the assclam. You could try the one thing which might work – stop whining and make an actual, valid argument. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

  120. 120
    Inaji

    Also, abear, try answering Sally Strange @ 106. She addressed your post, line by line. Try for an actual, evidence-based response.

  121. 121
    chigau (違う)

    I am a long time supporter of gender equality and fair treatment for women

    and I am the Queen of Sheba.
    [Nerd, don't you dare ask for a citation. I have spoken typed!]

  122. 122
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Illuminata; Thanks for making my point. You just proved that all you can do is misrepresent people and call them names. You and your toxic pals do more to hurt the feminist cause than all the real misogynists in the worst recesses of the internet.
    Are you for real or are you undercover recruiters for the MRA movement?
    I am a long time supporter of gender equality and fair treatment for women, you are just a whiny keyboard jihadist that likes to make pissy comments to make yourself feel like you fit in with the other purist “true” believers.

    So… Instead of answering any of the questions towards the factual matter of your last post, you just go on to misrepresent and (try to (you’re not very good at it)) insult people.

    Yes, that will certainly sway some people, like known idiots who agree with you already.

    Go back to whatever pit you came from please.

  123. 123
    SallyStrange

    Lies, lies, and more lies, abear. You already lied several times, as I showed. So why should we believe you when you say you support women’s equality?

  124. 124
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    It’s hilarious that when trolls like abear stroll in and shit all over the chessboard, and some people respond with well thought-out arguments, and some respond with (deserved) insults, said trolls only respond to the insults, and conveniently ignore the arguments presented against them.

  125. 125
    Inaji

    TerranRich:

    said trolls only respond to the insults, and conveniently ignore the arguments presented against them.

    Naturally, they don’t have an actual argument. Just whines about all the uppity feminazis and manginas.

  126. 126
    chigau (違う)

    I, for one, am deeply appreciative of the Deep Rifts that are opening between us and those who have Always Supported Gender Equality And Fair Treatment For Women.

  127. 127
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Abear, diddums, you have no point. We all know that. You’re also a hypocrite. While you whine about people insulting you, all you’re doing is insulting others. So, exactly why you expect us to care what a whiny, lying, hypocritical pants-pissing bigot has to say, is a bit of a headscratcher.

    Ah, wait – is there such a thing as a megaolomanical pants-pissing coward?

  128. 128
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    So, there are Deep Rifts™forming between those who think that I am human and those who don’t.

    *attempting to summon a fuck to give*

    *Error: cannot find a fuck to give. Does not give a fuck.*

  129. 129
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    I, for one, am deeply appreciative of the Deep Rifts that are opening between us and those who have Always Supported Gender Equality And Fair Treatment For Women.

    I’m still not sure what we should use them for though. Acid storage, alligator pond or lava-lakes?

  130. 130
    Inaji

    Chigau:

    I, for one, am deeply appreciative of the Deep Rifts that are opening between us and those who have Always Supported Gender Equality And Fair Treatment For Women.

    Aye, me too. Especially when their notion of incisive commentary is this sort of crap:

    I broke my leg 8 years ago. I blame the patriarchy.

  131. 131
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I, for one, am deeply appreciative of the Deep Rifts that are opening between us and those who have Always Supported Gender Equality And Fair Treatment For Women.

    co-signed. Mr. Ron Lindsay asked everyone what can be done to heal the divide (paraphrasing here because i can’t remember his exact wording and I’m too lazy to look it up), I say, why should we want to?

    if you’re interested in atheism being more than “i’m so cool, I don’t believe in jesus!”, and you understand that diversity is inifinitely stronger than homogeny, then what good are the “bitches: fuck ‘em” crowd?

  132. 132
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Ah, now I see erikthebassist made the same (somewhat dissenting) observation as I. And yet, no one’s called me a fuckwit.* Fancy that.

    *The day’s still young. Please, people, if I say something fuckwitted, call me a fuckwit so I can figure out what’s wrong with what I’m saying. Thanks.

  133. 133
    athyco

    Ibis, erikthebassist and I thrashed that one out, without no cussin’ atall. He was even nice enough to let slide that I misspelled his name. :)

  134. 134
    screechymonkey

    TerranRich@124: “It’s hilarious that when trolls like abear stroll in and shit all over the chessboard”

    Yes. I’ve always been told that abear shits in the woods.

    Sorry. I’ll show myself out.

  135. 135
    Inaji

    Ibis, well, that would be because neither of you are fuckwits. I could see a performance art piece utilising body painted people, however, context is the monarch here. If you look beyond the women, there are men, sitting, standing and kneeling, openly ogling and taking photos. This wasn’t a performance piece in a gallery or show setting, expressing, say, objectification.

  136. 136
    Rob Grigjanis

    athyco @100: Sorry, OT, but the Meg Ryan quote reminded me of another exchange involving Kevin Kline:

    Otto West: Apes don’t read philosophy.
    Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

  137. 137
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    Dammit, I should’ve gone with that imagery instead! Either way, it’s shit. What he has to say, that is.

  138. 138
    A. Noyd

    1) Gosh, I love it when folk show up, display their total lack of understanding on a subject, and then whine about how intolerant we are here of “dissenting opinions.”

    2) Paleontological booth babe.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    erikthebassist (#47)

    Ok I detest using sex to market products that having nothing to do with sex as well, but I’m sorry, I’m looking at that picture and I’m not thinking sex, I’m thinking art. …I really think the intent here was art and not sexualization.

    I don’t see how the one implies the lack of the other. But ask yourself this: If it’s just meant to be art, why do you never see things like this with naked men at trade shows? And why don’t those same reasons apply to art with naked women?

  139. 139
    athyco

    Those are all mistakes, Otto jazzmac251 and abear. I looked them up.

    I don’t see how that’s OT at all!

  140. 140
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    *sigh*

    This is my first big convention, so booth babes are a new thing to me. They work, and they work well. My personal favorite is the Windows Mobile sales girls that were stationed by the escalators, especially the dark haired one. I didn’t catch their names, so I’ll call her Mary. Mary is an expert flirt. She engages you in conversation, looks you right in the eyes, and then moves just a little closer to you, just slightly closer than Casual Acquaintance Laws allow. That was so “I’m about to kiss you” distance. As a socially stunted geek my first impulse was to back away. I managed to suppress that so that I could enjoy the proximity just a little longer. Microsoft sooo has my contact information for sales purposes now. They’re good.

    At some level I know that it’s all fantasy and there’s no attraction there (at least on her part), but I choose to ignore that at the conscious level. At least enough that I keep thinking about her but not so much that I engage in any activities that might be considered stalking.

    Mary can’t possibly exist. She’s one of those women that are too perfect, too hot to actually exist. Nature just simply doesn’t allow it. Long flowing brown hair, beautiful face, perfect body, about 5’4” and slightly dark skin. She makes a business suit look good.

    My second favorite was a shorter girl who worked at the Live Office booth. She got just a little too friendly on Monday evening after (I assume) she’d imbibed more than a vendor probably should have. I like friendly women.

  141. 141
    roland

    ‘..Should not use sexualized clothing’, what does that even mean? Sounds rather puritan to me. Isn’t the whole point that you can wear whatever you want without being harassed?

  142. 142
    athyco

    Nicole Glynn @19:

    The comment has been made that the speakers are all men because women don’t want to speak/don’t attend conferences – the flip side of which is that many women in the web industry don’t speak or don’t attend conferences because of the speakers and events being male-dominated.

    Parallels and crossover with the skeptic community, too right. And I salute your working in the midst of it since the web/tech industry does already have a “booth babe” history while the skeptic community would be harder pressed to find reasons to institute one and should…provided we can quiet the roars of unevidenced outrage…have less trouble avoiding it.

    The article from your #20 provided far more tangible proof than I thought it would. Wow, how in-you-face privileged can you get?

  143. 143
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    I like the T-shirt ads!

  144. 144
    chigau (違う)

    A. Noyd #138
    re: Paleontological booth babe.
    I don’t know what you’re selling but I’ll take a dozen.

  145. 145
    athyco

    ‘..Should not use sexualized clothing’, what does that even mean? Sounds rather puritan to me. Isn’t the whole point that you can wear whatever you want without being harassed?

    Roland, Roland, Roland. There are 140 comments before yours that discuss that. Can you be bothered to read them?

  146. 146
    erikthebassist

    Keep reading A. Noyd, I thought about it, there was discussion, I changed my stance, which I later admitted was really just thrown out there to address the line of thought, I was playing devil’s advocate in a way.

    I agree that in this context, it’s sexist objectification.

    You wouldn’t see naked men at tradeshows because most men get in a tizzy if they have to look at a schlong when it’s not porn or their own for some reason, like the upheavel over the giant blue pecker in the Watchmen mentioned upthread.

  147. 147
    Nick Gotts

    Roland, why not try reading the fucking thread? Or even the bleedin’ policy it’s about, as described in the OP. It in no way restricts what conference attendees can wear, but is aimed at preventing commercial exhibitors from creating an environment which would make many attendees uncomfortable.

    Did that penetrate the concrete, roland old fruit?

  148. 148
    Nick Gotts

    Sheesh. Tag-teaming fuckwits.

  149. 149
    cactusren

    A. Noyd #138
    re: Paleontological booth babe

    Wow…that is…ummm….

    I’ll just say I’m glad there are no booth babes at paleontology conferences.

  150. 150
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    It makes me wonder how these idiots can watch porn.

    The mainstream porn I’ve seen is all close ups of just the penis and whatever hole it’s being shoved into and the woman preening over the penis. There’s no really seeing the man so it’s easy for the guy watching it to pretend it is his penis in the shot.

    Which is why I hate and don’t watch porn anymore. I’ve seen enough and quite frankly don’t get the appeal.

  151. 151
    roland

    Why would it be different for a commercial exhibitor? You’re right though, I am not reading all 140 comments.

  152. 152
    mythbri

    I don’t understand the reasoning behind people who are against anti-harassment policies – even ones that set a tone for the specific events by not allowing vendors to employ “booth babes” to cover up the fact that they are, at the very least, extremely unimaginative marketers.

    The “Against Anti-Harassment Policies” people think this will get rid of fun and sexiness. (Not true. They simply provide recourse and support for people who receive persistent unwanted attention, and make it clear that such behavior is not tolerated at the specific event.)

    The same people will tell a woman that it’s hypocritical of her to not want to be subjected to unwanted sexual attention if she’s publicly engaged in consensual activities that have a sexual connotation (for example, the Skepchick calendar).

    So yes – the point is to provide an atmosphere free of harassment. Having “booth babes” creates an atmosphere of objectification, which can and does transfer from the expo floor to the rest of the event.

  153. 153
    Matt Penfold

    Why would it be different for a commercial exhibitor? You’re right though, I am not reading all 140 comments.

    Why do you think ?

    And admitting you are willfully ignorant is not going to win you friends here. If you had time to comment, you had time to read the comments. Or is not time so much as you cannot understand them ? If that is the case, is there an adult who can help you with the big words ?

  154. 154
    John Morales

    erikthebassist, those women have their genitals covered, so the male equivalent would not be showing “a schlong”.

  155. 155
    Matt Penfold

    Roland, one other thing. If you had read the comments you would find your question had already be answered. Which makes you rather stupid for asking again I would say.

  156. 156
    athyco

    What do YOU care if it’s different for a commercial exhibitor? The convention chooses the vendor. If the vendor employs scantily clad models, that means that the women aren’t getting to “wear whatever they want.” Also, as employees, they don’t get to do whatever they want in case they drive away a customer. So the odds are pretty damn good that they have to put up with more happy assholes than you’d want to meet in one working shift. Let’s say, like one who monopolizes time by asking questions that are answered in the brochure he was just handed rather than read it for himself.

  157. 157
    Inaji

    Roland:

    You’re right though, I am not reading all 140 comments.

    Until you do, shut the fuck up.

    Idiot.

  158. 158
    dontpanic

    the Meg RyanJamie Lee Curtis quote reminded me of another exchange involving Kevin Kline

    FTFY. That’s a mistake, Rob. I looked it up.

  159. 159
    chigau (違う)

    Even if a person doesn’t want to read all the previous comments, control-f is still available.

  160. 160
    dontpanic

    Ooops, sorry Rob. I misread what you were referring to; I missed the reference. Yes, indeed the original quote was Meg Ryan.

  161. 161
    Nick Gotts

    Did that penetrate the concrete, roland old fruit? – Me

    Evidently not. Really, that mixture of stupidity and sexism would make an excellent material for the construction of nuclear bunkers.

  162. 162
    Rob Grigjanis

    dontpanic @160: That’s OK. I’m still an ape, and loving it!

  163. 163
    athyco

    I lost my mental bet, though, Nick. I was almost sure roland would complain that you said fucking thread and bleedin’ policy then implied that he was a concrete head. And why, therefore, he would ask, should he read what would obviously be full of abuse in the other comments.

    The blatant “I ain’t gonna and you can’t make me” was a bit of a surprise.

  164. 164
    A. Noyd

    erikthebassist (#146)

    Keep reading A. Noyd, I thought about it, there was discussion, I changed my stance, which I later admitted was really just thrown out there to address the line of thought, I was playing devil’s advocate in a way.

    I agree that in this context, it’s sexist objectification.

    I was trying to bring up a slightly different point, which is less to do with objectification and more to do with double standards and the fact that art is not somehow outside sexist culture. I don’t assume that nakedness or sexiness in art are necessarily objectifying*, but it is still hugely problematic for such pieces to only ever use only women’s bodies because men’s bodies would scare consumers away. In art, women’s bodies are considered safe and appealing, and the multitudinous reasons for that are not separate from the reasons why the same thing is true in porn. Capitalizing on the different treatment of male and female bodies, not to subvert or criticize it but to sell crap, is part of what makes the presence of “booth babes” such a problem, even when the models are not excessively sexualized.

    …….
    *Given that the models were not allowed to interact with viewers, there happens to be a lot of objectification going on in this case.

  165. 165
    erikthebassist

    A. Noyd – Ahh I see, good point. Hadn’t thought of it that way.

    JM – The question that was posed to me however was “why do you never see things like this with naked men at trade shows?” not “why do you think we don’t see men dressed exactly as these women are?”, so you see, I answered the question I was asked and not the one you made up.

    Do you find schlong offensive JM? Why the scare quotes? Are you an anti-semite? Do Yiddish slang terms make you uncomfortable or something? ;-)

    I do think A. Noyd’s 164 is sufficiant to answer hir own question and better than the one I offered.

    With that folks I am off to celebrate my 40th birthday, which doesn’t actually make me feel like celebrating so much as getting fubar’d. =(

  166. 166
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    I am starting to think that DUDZ like abear and jizzmac really don’t see the difference between sexy and sexist. They’re like the band in Spinal Tap who see nothing wrong with a woman on a leash sniffing a gloved male hand. I really don’t know whether to despise them or to feel sorry for them.

  167. 167
    Inaji

    Erik:

    The question that was posed to me however was “why do you never see things like this with naked men at trade shows?” not “why do you think we don’t see men dressed exactly as these women are?”, so you see, I answered the question I was asked and not the one you made up.

    Even if you applied the men in the same exact situation, they’d most likely be in tight banana hammock thongs, which a whole lot of hetro men object to, ’cause you can see all the bits outlined, clear as day! *gasp* Schlongs, outside specific contexts, makes most men mighty uncomfortable.

    Have a happy birthday, Erik! You youngster, you.

  168. 168
    John Morales

    erikthebassist:

    JM – The question that was posed to me however was “why do you never see things like this with naked men at trade shows?” not “why do you think we don’t see men dressed exactly as these women are?”, so you see, I answered the question I was asked and not the one you made up.

    So what? I’m noting the women aren’t naked.

    Do you find schlong offensive JM? Why the scare quotes? Are you an anti-semite? Do Yiddish slang terms make you uncomfortable or something? ;-)

    They’re not scare quotes, they’re literal quotation marks; the reason is I find your usage quaint and measured.

    (Why not dongs or pricks or cocks? ← rhetorical)

  169. 169
    chigau (違う)

    Happy Bday, erikthebassist.
    I’m old enough to be your mother.
    Don’t stay out too late and call if you need a ride.

  170. 170
    Inaji

    Chigau:

    I’m old enough to be your mother.

    Technically, so I am I. Eeek.

  171. 171
    abear

    127
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    11 January 2013 at 3:37 pm (UTC -6)

    Abear, diddums, you have no point. We all know that. You’re also a hypocrite. While you whine about people insulting you, all you’re doing is insulting others. So, exactly why you expect us to care what a whiny, lying, hypocritical pants-pissing bigot has to say, is a bit of a headscratcher.

    Ah, wait – is there such a thing as a megaolomanical pants-pissing coward?

    Ill; keep throwing the tantrums and the insults. It’s sad that is the best you have.
    I don’t wish to lower myself to your level, bye bye

  172. 172
    Rob Grigjanis

    chigau @169: “I’m old enough to be your mother.”

    He’s young enough to have his ass kicked. Forty-year-olds got no respect, I tells ya, especially when they whine about turning forty.

  173. 173
    chigau (違う)

    and another one bites the dust

  174. 174
    No One

    Looked at the picture of the painted nude women in the link. My mind made an odd jump to the Cheech Marins’ carnival barker type character in the movie “From dusk till dawn”, hawking “it” on the doorsteps of the nightclub. His repeated use of the word pussy is interspersed with cheap sale slogans like a used car salesman. An indictive caricature of “sex sells”.

  175. 175
    chigau (違う)

    my #173 was for abear
    —-
    Rob Grigjanis
    Sometime around my 50th birthday, I described myself as ‘old’ to a 75-year-old friend.
    She laughed and laughed and laughed.

  176. 176
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ill; keep throwing the tantrums and the insults. It’s sad that is the best you have.
    I don’t wish to lower myself to your level, bye bye

    What’s sad abear is temper trantrums ala the Slymepit™ is all you have. Your level is below the Slymepit….

  177. 177
    abear

    What’s sad abear is temper trantrums ala the Slymepit™ is all you have. Your level is below the Slymepit….

    Citation please, illiterate glue huffer.

  178. 178
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Well, at least some of the Slymepitters have worked out how to blockquote…

  179. 179
    Inaji

    Stick the flounce, teddy bear, stick the flounce.

  180. 180
    =8)-DX

    WHERE ARE THE MALE BOOTH BABES!

    I’d have gone for that, but sadly no one wanted me… IT’S DISCRIMINATION!
    No. Just realize guy, how sexist your culture is.

  181. 181
    chigau (違う)

    171 abear
    11 January 2013 at 6:55 pm (UTC -6)

    …bye bye

    177 abear
    11 January 2013 at 7:15 pm (UTC -6)

    …illiterate glue huffer.

    shortest flounce
    evaaaaar

  182. 182
    Rob Grigjanis

    chigau @175: “She laughed and laughed and laughed.”

    Yeah, I have friends like that too. Those 70 pluses got no respect either. Fuck them. Don’t tell ‘em I said that.

  183. 183
    SallyStrange

    If it were equal parts men and women in speedos and bodypaint, it might be an interesting statement on the relationship between human bodies and technology. But, since it’s just women, it becomes something else. It falls into the traditional male artist/gaze vs. female model/object.

    So close, and yet so far…

  184. 184
    cicely

    This injustice has been overlooked for far too long! WHERE ARE THE MALE BOOTH BABES!

    The Booth Beef, as it were.
    -

    I’m still not sure what we should use them for though. Acid storage, alligator pond or lava-lakes?

    Lunghana breeding pools.
    -
    Happy birthday, erikthebassist.
    -

  185. 185
    athyco

    Me, too, on the birthday happy thing, erikthebassist. (Another old enough to be your mother.)

    So…a “How ’bout we stop this trend” brings out one challenger who gets huffy about the nasty words, another who says he won’t read nuffink what don’t come after his specific questions, and a bear who poops in the pool.

    Do you think that this part of the issue, being cut and dried as we can print out those harassment policies and plonk ‘em on the table, is going to be dropped? I don’t expect Tf00t to make a retraction, but could it become one of those arguments that the big young earth creationist groups tell their members, “Shhhhh….don’t use that one anymore. Everyone will laugh at you”?

  186. 186
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Yes, I demand to know: Where’s the beef?

  187. 187
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Citation please, illiterate glue huffer.

    Every post you made on this thread. Nothing but bad attitude. QED

  188. 188
    glodson

    he flu.

  189. 189
    glodson

    Oh goddamnit. Complete post fail. No more trying will doped up on Nyquil.

  190. 190
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Notice they don’t call out Skepchicks for their nude calender or PZ for sexually harassing that woman on stage at Skepticon 3? It’s the “others” that are gender traitors and MRAs.
    If you came here expecting a fair debate you came to the wrong place.

    Given their chronic inability to differenciate between sexy and sexualized, between flirting and harassment, agency and objectification it makes you fear for any sexual encounters they ever had…

  191. 191
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    or PZ for sexually harassing that woman on stage at Skepticon 3?

    Yawn, old news, discussed in a thread from Dec. 13, 2012. So we know who it was, and that permission was given, and the Slymepit tells lies and bullshits to itself.

  192. 192
    shockna

    Notice they don’t call out Skepchicks for their nude calender or PZ for sexually harassing that woman on stage at Skepticon 3? It’s the “others” that are gender traitors and MRAs.

    Now, the nude calendar one is just a garden variety failure to grasp that nudity doesn’t inherently equal sexuality, but the bolded portion boggles the mind.

    For someone who claims that the regulars have no argument, this is possibly the most pitiful grasping at straws I’ve ever seen in an internet debate.

  193. 193
    Rob Grigjanis

    Nerd @191: I’d never seen that before. Scandalous! The way Americans pronounce ‘PZ’ I mean. I bet his nickname in school was ‘Easy’.

  194. 194
    Stacey C.

    Am I the only one who clicked on the image and thought…’Sigh, at least they have a black woman?’ I hate sexist/racist culture.

  195. 195
    Timothy Clark

    This is my first time commenting on any of your post PZ. I’m a huge fan and supporter. I’m glad there are male feminists who address sexism in society especially sexism in the atheist/skeptic community. For a long time I avoided the atheist community cause it kept forcing me to choose between being an atheist and being a feminist. Glad that’s no longer the case. I love your posts. Keep fighting.

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