It was interesting to see the Prime Minister weigh into the debate around sporting team’s attitudes to women, especially since there has been so much discussion of issues related to the treatment of women over the past few days:
“It’s very plain that it’s very important for sporting organisations across the country to show leadership in demonstrating proper respect towards women,” Mr Rudd told reporters.
In the light of this comment, and after discussing the (relatively tamely clad) NetRegistry nurses & some gender issues yesterday, I went for a walk with Jonathan Crossfield & Stilgherrian today. I was seeking out the other booths at CeBIT that I’d heard about with so-called “promo girls” who far outclassed the nurses in terms of scantiness of their attire.
The funny thing about this was that it was actually hard to find the booths in question because, while people could remember seeing the “promo girls”, nobody could actually recall the brand they represented nor the location of the booths.
Eventually a security guard was able to direct us to the correct locations. There were four booths that had women dressed in a sexualised fashion, making the nurses quite pale into insignificance. What I saw really did take me back to IT trade shows back in the last century. I had hoped we’d moved on from the objectification of women to promote technology. But clearly I was wrong.
There’s a bit of puzzlement on my part:
- I’m not sure why an IT exhibition is considered a place for women to dress in this manner?
- I’m not sure how many people would display images like this of women in the workplace?
- I really don’t understand how this actually worked as a marketing exercise.
- The fact that brand recall was so low that I had to ask a security guard indicates that it was not very effective as a marketing exercise.
- Perhaps the “promo women” encouraged some attendees to take brochures? I do wonder how was this linked to ROI?
Most of the exhibitors were happy to let their products be assessed on their own merits. Why did these four brands choose to take such an old fashioned approach? Did they think that women are not technology decision makers? Did they think that it was all in good fun? Would it have been in good fun if it had been well oiled young men wearing tight Lycra pants? In fact, why were there no such men in evidence? At least that would have indicated gender equity!
BTW: this article by Karen Willis from the Rape Crisis Centre is worth a read