By now most of you’ve probably already read or at least heard about the ‘E3 Booth Babes’ article on CVG. I won’t link to it (you’re a smart cookie, find it yourself if you really want to), but I will talk about it.
Initially I didn’t actually want to write about the article, though, because there’s absolutely nothing positive to take from it. It’s the usual article about scantily clad booth babes, and it serves no purpose except to enforce the negative perception of gamers as wanking fools who – without giving it any thought – click on anything involving some sort of nudity.
But here I am, writing about this article anyway. Not because I’m a games journalist, who shrugs at CVG’s so-called games journalism, but because I’m a woman who feels violated. A woman who feels like beating some sense into the author, who obviously disregards women, and how they’re portrayed. I know it comes as no surprise that CVG would do this (they’ve done it before, even with the same author). In the end, however, this isn’t about showing pictures of booth babes wearing an absolute minimum of clothes, but it’s about how one article wrongly justifies sexism across an entire industry and ignores any previous attempts to do the exact opposite.
As games journalists we have the power to (or at least try to) educate our audience, and with that kind of power comes a certain responsibility. Despite our own preferences, we can tell our readers that it’s not acceptable to devour pictures of booth babes and objectify them the way CVG does. Some might say it depends on the individual website and whether or not they want to be responsible for educating their audience, but here’s a shocker: It doesn’t, not any more. Whether you’re an editor, the EiC or just a freelancer, it shouldn’t be optional to constantly think about how you can educate the readers through your articles, it simply is a mandatory part of your writing (or at least it should be).
However, this isn’t about how CVG manages to completely disregard any shred of professional games journalism and instead sickeningly manage to only care about page views while pleasing advertisers. This is about how it makes me feel as woman, and especially how it makes me feel like some sort of completely worthless piece of entertainment, who the readers can sexually objectify any way they like without CVG trying to intervene. When someone publishes an article like this, they instantly imply that it’s okay to treat booth babes (and every other woman) as some insignificant piece of meat who’s only purpose is to fuel their sexual fantasy.
I’m absolutely horrified that someone would think that it’s perfectly acceptable to publish several pictures of women as obvious sexual objects, especially when the article begins with the following sentence:
“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’.”
I don’t know whether the author (or even the editorial team who gave the go-ahead for the article) has a sister, a girlfriend, a grandmother or a mother, but I’d like him to proudly show them his work. I bet they’d gladly tell him to write more of this stuff, maybe even with one of them posing for the camera.