Half naked 'Booth Babes' at CES 2013

(Via Cult of Mac)

Since Mashable journalist, Emily Price tweeted a picture of half naked ‘fembots’ at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the twitterverse went crazy with outraged responses. With social media giving more women a voice, and with women becoming increasingly equal to men, is it time for ‘booth babes’ to go?

Turns out since the 90’s, people have wanted to get rid of the ‘Booth Babes’ for good! Let’s just fill you in on a bit of history first… In the mid-60s they were originally called ‘CES Guides’ and were described as “the answer to handling literature requests, inquiries and telephones”. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, the women would stand next to products at trade shows wearing dresses with revealing cleavage. In the 80’s, the term ‘Booth Babes’ was becoming popular and one writer, Jonathan Gross, said, “the quality of the products was inversely proportional to the chest size of the booth babes handing out the literature”. So the ‘Booth Babes’ were becoming increasingly sexualized with less clothes and more cleavage.

By the 90’s, an interest in technology was growing due to the dot-com boom and a magazine called Network World wrote about how tired they were of seeing ‘Booth Babes’. They also said how useless they were in knowing the products and called for an end to the “pretty face handing out trinkets”. In the late 90’s CES hit back by educating the models and trade show attendees liked them again. The woman began wearing more revealing attire to trade shows, including bikini bottoms and revealing dresses. By mid-00’s the public began complaining about sexism and some rules were enforced at other conventions, but CES continued with their bikini clad babes.

Now in 2013, the babes are back for another year and are highly-sexualized, as well as being objectified, which is evident in the photo above. The painted women were from the HyperShop booth, which is a tech company that focuses on producing Apple accessories. With technology becoming more advanced and companies creating innovative products, surely the products should sell themselves without involving half naked women wearing paint? There are other ways to gain exposure to products besides undressing a woman.

TMB agrees with the twitterverse and the public who feel that it’s time for ‘Booth Babes’ to be put to rest. Advertising has come a long way and while women are still being objectified in adverts today, there are other ways of promoting a product without sexing up a woman or turning her into an object. More and more women are speaking up and are calling out sexism. Even tech, such as Twitter gave a platform for people to voice their opinions and disagree with the way ‘Booth Babes’ are portraying women. Times have changed, and it’s time for them to go for good.

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