Further compounding the issue was the presence of so-called Booth Babes. I didn't see any on the show floor myself (correct me if I'm wrong) but I saw two separate but blood-boiling instances on the outskirts of the Moscone Centre's various entities. They may have been promoting the products and services of Salesforce's partners or may just have been capitalising on the 100,000-plus attendees, most of which were men. Either way, shame on you for putting us back goodness knows how many years.
On my last day in San Francisco also the final day of Dreamforce I noticed a handful of women dressed for a night out. Their uniform: Knee-high boots, short, tight dresses. They were looking bored and handing out tech flyers.
Yes, the men stopped and drooled. Ask them now to name the company they were promoting or even 20 seconds later, and I doubt they'd remember. Money well spent there. Especially in a recession.
Everything changes except us
My colleague Nicole over at PC Pro wrote about this issue last year. And it seems, if anything, we've taken steps backwards rather than forwards.
Many of the comments on Nicole's article only served to further validate the points she raised.
Some of my 'favourite' responses (I've kept the spelling and typos intact) to Nicole's piece:
- "Objectification of women will always occur no matter what and to be honest some women like to be objectified"
- "Spend some time in a gym and next year babes wont bite so hard."
- "Oh don't be so touchy. If I went to a typically Woman's orientated show I don't know cake/chocolate exhibition or something I'm sure there would be hunky guys for the ladies. If you put any real thought into the 'booth babes' then you really should be concentrating on your job more."
- "What's the problem? Back in the 90's we used 'booth babes' as a way of evaluating the industry's financial health: Hired model loadsa cash. Girls from the typing pool times are hard. Year in, year out, this was a pretty accurate way of judging a companies profits. That, and whether promo floppy disks were freely available (or had to be asked for one at a time). Pens, paperweights, T-shirts etc or the absence of were also good indicators. But not as reliable as 'the quality of totty' on show."
- "I think people are missing the important questions here. Whilst these women are parading about who's cooking the dinner?"
- "Well im not surprised by this article AT ALL! would a man have come back and felt the need to bring this up? Nope would a woman walk about there and sucume to the classic "who's that B**tch think she is, sl*g!" Most women i have noticed over my years have bcome irational, moody and down right bit**y when in the compnay of a more attractive woman. Anyone else notice this trait? hmm thought so.. while it's an interesting report, and also helped to make me think about B**Bs when i wasnt (nice one) it's seems to me to be a counter productive. Had those woman not been there, then what would you have to write about, i thought you went out there to review Tech, not comment on the beauts on display, kudos for going thou, after all this is a mans 'domain' hehehe (all in good jest my freinds, all in good jest)"
- "I wish my employer would jet me off to Las Vegas in January. Must be such hard work, you certainly make it sound that way."
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Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.
Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.