"Wouldn't with yours, mate"
Why asking readers to score E3 booth babes is a disservice to the industry
Another day, another Twitter outrage, this time as Future news site CVG posts a gallery of E3 booth babes and invites readers to "get their scorecards out." Bored of reading actual facts about the biggest games event of the year? Why not stop by and post a mean comment about a girl you've never met?
I've worked in games for seven years, and there have only been a handful of times I've ever felt like I've been looked down on because I'm female. And even then, like when a big name developer thought perhaps a girl might not be qualified to see their action adventure game, my employers at the time (Future, coincidentally) came out in my defence. It's an industry with amazing people, male and female, and one that, for all its nuns in fetish gear, is pretty equal opportunities behind the scenes.
"If your readers want to look at nicely distributed flesh they've got Nuts, Zoo or every possible inch of skin in glorious HD video just a click away"
And that's exactly why things like CVG's recent booth babes gallery and its grimy intro is so disappointing. Because the industry isn't like that and CVG is doing it a disservice to present it that way, nevermind a disservice to its readers by telling them that it's an acceptable way to discuss women. The CVG writers wouldn't walk up to a girl at E3 and shout 'would,' (and I know some of the writers, they're better than that) so why let your readers think it's OK to do it in the comments box?
If your readers want to look at nicely distributed flesh they've got Nuts and Zoo. Hell, it's the internet, they've got every possible inch of skin in glorious HD video just a click away. They're not coming to you because they want to see girls scored, they're only looking at it because, even with everything that happened at E3 and the great work your writers are doing in LA, you've decided that some breasts deserve a prime spot on your front page.
Yes, the women are paid to be there, and yes you're encouraged to photograph them by publishers hungry for exposure, but that doesn't mean you have to post the photos with the words "not with yours, mate." It's not just about principles or sexism or big Guardian style debates, it's about manners, and letting your female readers (or what's left of them after this) know that you like having them around, and you're not going to score their arses while they're trying to tell you what they think of Beyond.
And yes, it gets hits. Do you know what else gets hits? Porn. Kittens. GIFs of people falling over. The Daily freakin' Mail. The trick is deciding which of those things you think are worthwhile. The entire advertising budget for a games news site doesn't hang on one photo gallery, but its reputation just might.