Journalism standards in decline – the fault of journalists or the audience?

The Sunday Sport ‘journalism’ at its best…

Today, CVG has caused a hell of a hullabaloo with their article about the E3 booth babes of 2012 just after a week ago, Sarah Ditum wrote an article about how sexist the new Hitman trailer was (which I wrote about here). What adds insult to injury is the words that accompanied the booth babe pictures: “We here on CVG like to use a 10-point review system, but if you’re more simple-minded you could just settle with ‘would’ or ‘not with yours, mate'” The staff at CVG are starting to sound less like journalists and more like sexist pigs.

But whose fault is it? Just a quick scan of the comments will tell you most CVG readers seem to like these sorts of ‘articles’, so is the audience to blame? Perhaps the average teenage boy, young man, old geezer on the street wants to look at sexy ladies, giving the site hits and adding sales figures to the delightful Sunday Sport. However, lads mags are meant to be in decline so is this really want readers want? After all, CVG is a video games website, surely readers go there to read about video games, not the women who dress up to endorse them. If they want to look at sexy ladies, that’s what the copious amount of porn sites are for.

Why do they still have booth babes at these events anyway? It could be argued that most journalists are male, as are most video games developers so someone, somewhere in the PR department thought they could persuade journalists to talk positively about their game by pushing a cheerleader with a push-up bra in front of them. “Sex sells” people say but does it? It’s an old fashion view, that tactic might have worked in the past but now more and more men are thinking, hang on, this is getting a bit ridiculous.

You could say the same about all the celebrity news and nonsense that is constantly written about in cheap magazines – many complain about this type of journalism but these magazines sell, a reflection of the kind of society we’re currently living in. Perhaps we’re no longer bothered about ‘hard news’, we’re more interested in who Katie Price is now sleeping with…

I hope to be a games journalist someday and I would love to go to events like E3 but I would hope the booth babes saga was starting to fade out by then. This video by the BBC showed how uncomfortable women in technology felt at the CES convention because of all the booth babes. I would feel the same. It was bad enough during Eurogamer last year, some stalls did indeed have booth babes and as I was out with a group of mostly male friends, I felt uncomfortable. Some made jokes, some stared and I just wanted to play video games. It’s actually rather upsetting to be a woman and to be put in that situation. You might laugh at me and tell me I’m stupid but that is how some women feel and if you want more women in our industry like so many articles are going on about at the moment, companies and journalists need to change their attitudes.

Do game conventions alienate women?

Booth babes at E3

Game conventions, all video game nerds love them but largely they are designed by and for men. Mainly because of course, that’s their target audience but are women being forgotten about when it comes to these events?

Now I’m not saying women need special treatment because we don’t, what I’m really talking about is how women are perceived at these events. Yes, booth babes. Now don’t start moaning and groaning, hear me out.

It’s insulting to men and women.

*Giggles* “I’m going to flirt with you and show off my cleavage and legs, buy this game now please?” Is basically the tactic these stalls use to sell their game to you, which is probably utterly shite. Yes, nothing wrong with a pretty lady right? But it’s treating male gamers like they’re dribbling geeks who’ve never seen a semi-naked women (other than on the internet) before. That may be true of some teenage boys but the average gamer is in their 30’s. They’re not all sad, dribbling individuals, they’re adults, doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy a sexy lady but they’re not stupid. They won’t buy a product simply because a pair of breasts are resting on it, or at least, I like to think so.

Now women see these ladies and think: wow I don’t belong here. Not only does a lot of barely dress ladies say: This is an event for men. It also makes us ladies feel a bit inferior. There we are, in jeans and t-shirt, trying to relax and play some games but instead our male friends are pretending like we don’t exist and staring into the distance at these girls.

Sex sells apparently but does it really? Do you rush out and pre-order a game because a lady in hot pants told you to? Unlikely. I enjoy a nice-looking lady too but there’s a time and a place and at a game convention I want to meet up with friends and play some games. I don’t want to have to feel like I don’t belong there the whole time. I know lots of people would disagree but that’s my two cents.