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Subject: Why this Gamer Girl wont be going to GenCon in Australia rss

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Sarina
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At CanCon this year, GenCon decided to hand out flyers for the highly anticipated Australian convention. They are holding it in Brisbane, or somewhere North of Canberra later this year.

So, about halfway through the first day there, I notice this kind of lull in the noise levels, and a general stillness over by the Flames of War tournament area. So I take a look from the back of the Mind Games booth. I see two women (girls, whatever) wearing the tiniest shorts in desert cam print, long white knee socks, Caterpillar boots, white GenCon t-shirts knotted under their breasts, cammo bikini tops protruding from the t-shirts, little Army caps that match the desert shorts and oh, Lightsabres. (The expensive Master Replicas ones - I believe Luke Skywalker models)

Men all over the venue became throwbacks to cavemen. And from then on, I was pretty much fair game for comments like: "Aren't you a little bit overdressed Shebby?" and: "Maybe you would get more sales if you showed a bit more booty!"

They went up to my friend Pip (the only female entrant for FoW) and begged and cajoled her to pose for a picture with them, because they "needed more shots with girls." Pip was unimpressed. She had already been getting attention for being a girl, with many blokes feeling the need to advise/comment on her strategic moves. (This was noted by event organisers and they were made to stop)

So, even though I realise I will cop some flak for this rant, I just don't get why they felt like they needed to do it.

Why sell GenCon with sex? Is it that bad a convention that showing a bit of arse is going to make the big difference in attendance levels?

The GenCon girls hung around for the majority of the weekend. They really cheesed me off.

And thats the end of my story.
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Stew Woods
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Fair enough.
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Matt Davis
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This guy understands where you're coming from:

http://xkcd.com/322/

Sadly, EMP cannons can't keep people away from cons.
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Ben Boersma
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That sort of garbage is terribly dissapointing and probably the reason why there aren't more girls in gaming.

I'm sorry you had to put up with that **** shake

Ben.
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Thomas P. Felder
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shebby wrote:
(...)I see two women (girls, whatever) wearing the tiniest shorts in desert cam print, long white knee socks, Caterpillar boots, white GenCon t-shirts knotted under their breasts, cammo bikini tops protruding from the t-shirts, little Army caps that match the desert shorts and oh, Lightsabres. (The expensive Master Replicas ones - I believe Luke Skywalker models)(...)

Damn' it, I have to ask: Where do you get those Lightsabres???? wow
I presume the girls have been GenConSecGuards?
 
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Robert Rossney
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Good to see you've adopted one of our more egregious spelling errors, too.
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Tony Chen
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Quote:
"Aren't you a little bit overdressed Shebby?" and: "Maybe you would get more sales if you showed a bit more booty!"


lol did people actually say that to you?
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Robert Wesley
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shebby wrote:
Why sell GenCon with sex? Is it that bad a convention that showing a bit of arse is going to make the big difference in attendance levels?
blush They're 'catering' to the "lowliest-life denominator" with such, and yeah SEX does "sell", no matter what that involves, as usually it is the 'ones' who are bereft of it, that this appeals for the MOST abouts. They KNOW what that does, and unless enough folks complain with regards to keeping it away, then they'll continue to 'use' it no matter what!
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CanCon, BunnyCon...BorderCon!!!
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Yep I saw them there and shook my head before moving on.

In fact I looked at them for such a short period of time that I didn't even realise they were promoting GenCon.

I was too busy gaming.
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Tommy Dean
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If I may offer a counter point...

I was also in attendance at CanCon (in fact, I kept looking for you shebby but never saw you there!)
and I think that while the choice to use "glam girls" was misguided...it was far from "men all over the venue becoming throwbacks to cavemen". In fact, mostly what I saw was bored girls wondering why they were there. Most gamer guys aren't really all that when it comes to putting a move on some "hot babe"...I actually think it is more of a cliche to brand the men "cavemen" in the presence of sexy ladies more than the concern of a bog standard marketing technique being employed.

Mostly I saw a few careful glances...usually more envious of the Light Saber than any sexism...and back to the game at hand.

Besides...if it comes to "showing leg" shebby...I seem to recall being able to read your tat of your mans entire name due to socks being pushed down to "scandalous" levels in the Christmas summer season

GenCon will be well worth attending...but if you are concerned about hot chicks getting about in little clothes...best to avoid Brisbane altogether!



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Christian Cuello
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I think that, as a marketing ploy, is downright tasteless :/ If it was, say, a woman dressed up in some kind of fantasy gear, would only really be redeemed as decent marketing if there was some guy dressed up too. That would be kind of cute. Like Valeria and Conan, Han Solo and Leia, or something. Whatever, just something to actually do with games... and less with "booty".

What is this, a rap video clip or something??

In any case, I wasn't aware this was happening, as I've only actually received a flyer about it with a gauntlet holding some kind of sword.

I'll probably still be going, but you won't see me getting in any pictures with bikini clad girls... besides, my partner would kill me :s

Maybe you could try rallying some people together to say "this is crap and we don't want bikini girls promoting our events" :/ It mightn't even scratch the surface, but then again they might get an idea that we dont fall for that crap.
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CanCon, BunnyCon...BorderCon!!!
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ozjesting wrote:


Mostly I saw a few careful glances...usually more envious of the Light Saber than any sexism...and back to the game at hand.


Ah yes - the true test of Geekdom.
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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ozjesting wrote:
GenCon will be well worth attending...but if you are concerned about hot chicks getting about in little clothes...best to avoid Brisbane altogether!


I think the point is that if the management finds it suitable to advertise the convention with bikini babes, they probably aren't concerned about what it takes to make the convention friendly to women who are actually there to play games.

I've heard of a newspaper that, after years of complaints, finally adopted an ad policy stating that pictures of women in bikinis were only acceptable in ads selling the bikinis or (some property of) the women.
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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Intergalactic Games wrote:
Maybe you could try rallying some people together to say "this is crap and we don't want bikini girls promoting our events"


It would probably just serve to further advertise the presence of the bikini girls, and further encourage the attendance of that small subset of guys who scare so many of the women away.
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Sacha Spinks
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They gave me a Gen-Con promotional pen, that didn't even work, after telling me my day had just got better.

devil
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Tommy Dean
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Just to keep some honesty in reporting...they were not "bikini girls". The shorts had no arse hanging and the tied shirts were far less than you would encounter on any given day in Australia's heat.

I am not saying it was a good choice mind you...just not anywhere near the "formula one" girl idea.

I also think that it is a long bow to draw to suggest a few models would put off women attending a games convention. While it is again cliche...I think that given a poster of the combat girls that were there, versus say a poster of a squad of middle aged pot bellies wearing Napoleon caps...well...women of all description might be between the proverbial rock and a hard place finding a reason to show up

I think a better argument would be the food that was on offer...why no healthy alternatives??? Give me a fruit salad and some models over silly t-shirts and kranskys!



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Martin
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Well I wont be attending any Australian sporting events anymore. I went to one and look what I was exposed to:

IMAGE

Are they shorts or a G-string?! Do these people not know what kind of damage exposure to so much thigh may do to any children who see it?

Lucky no women are into this debauched sport.


Are you ever doing something else than ridiculing and abusing those who you don't agree with? Why even respond to the thread?
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Sean Dooley
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shebby wrote:


Why sell GenCon with sex? Is it that bad a convention that showing a bit of arse is going to make the big difference in attendance levels?


I will preface this by saying I completely understand and respect your opinion. I think it is an indictment of the present Westernized culture in general that women are most often sexerized (my own word) in order to sell a product.

News Flash.

Women as sex object are used to sell pretty much ANYTHING where males are the predominant gender. Case in point: Any car show, CES, any video game convention, ring girls for UFC, etc. That's how they first attract attention. At video game conventions, at least, I've found that these scantily clad ladies DO actually have product knowledge.

I hope you end up going to GenCon, as I'm sure it will be worth your while.
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Thomas P. Felder
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Excellent point, Sean, and I would have put that on, too.
You can go on with the list and include most sport events of any weight (hey, the number girls in boxing events have became proverbial).
 
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Ian Houlihan
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Hello All.

My name is Ian Houlihan, the organiser of Gen Con Australia.

From the get-go, may I say we meant no offence - to anyone. We did not have an intention to sell the idea of Sex = Gen Con. Far from it. I was there at the convention myself and felt that although a little under dressed than what I had originally envisioned, the clothes they wore were tasteful.

Prior to attending, we did conduct a bit of research regarding what would be deemed appropriate and what wouldn't. That also included consulting a number female gamers (one of which I'm married to and who is the co-director of our event management company). It also included family members and people in the industry. The reactions we got ranged from ho-hum to "looks great".

We knew that CanCon normally attracted a fair number of children who attend with their families. Tim Sleigh the organiser of CanCon, who is very much the family man, quizzed us thoroughly before we went ahead and did anything. After lengthy discussions with the promotions company director himself, he appeared happy. I also quizzed the organisers throughout the day to see if there were any complaints, and there wasn't. We were even approached by Phil Davies from Australian Games Expo who appreciated what we were doing and asked for the pormotions company as he wanted to use the girls for promotions at a later stage. So all in all, we felt everything was above par. But obviously, we offended one - which means potentially more.

Our intention was not to offend, it was only to send out the message that our event is coming. To do this, we used Gen Con Australia flyers. Flyers are a good marketing tool, but the delivery of that flyer is the key to the effectiveness of the message.

If we had left flyers at the front door, sitting on a bench, how effective would they be? Probably not very. I did that at Australian Games Expo with limited success.

If we had a "typical gamer" handing out flyers, we might have got the message out, but would people remember the message? I'd say a 50/50 cut there at best. I did this also at Games Expo with limited success - and even had my wife handing out flyers.

But if a good looking, friendly girl hands them out (remembering that statistically 90% of people who attend Games Conventions are single, males between the ages of 25 - 45) then the 50/50 success rate increases to somewhere around the 75-80% mark. Again, this is based on Marketing Statistics.

We always knew there may be some people offended. And obviously this has occurred. As for approaching your friend Pip who was apparently "begged and cajoled" for her to pose for a picture because they "needed more shots with girls", I must admit that this occurred. Why? Quite simply because there are not enough girls in the hobby and we want more.

If a female who "might" be interested in attending an event sees another female in a picture on the website of the convention, wether she be appauled by what she sees (i.e. the promotions model), she may actually make her mind up to go thinking that "Hey, there are other women who plays these games, so I might go". This is especially the case with Miniatures Gamers as there is an apparent glut of female gamers who are into Role Playing.

Again, we certainly did not wish to offend anyone, but felt that the use of promotions models was an experiment that had never been tried before in order to promote a games convention.

As a side note, the lightsabers were not our idea initially. What we wanted to do was provide a way to promote the exhibitors who were at CanCon and who were promoting (or who were looking at attending) Gen Con in July. Jason of Serenity Studios gifted the lightsabers to the girls for their assistance of which they were very greatful. Neither the promotions company nor Gen Con received either of these items. On the Sunday the girls brought their lightsabers to help promote Serenity Studios who was also promoting us. We also took photos with some of the other exhibitors and there was nothing but praise for what we were trying to do.

I also have to point out that despite the comment of "The GenCon girls hung around for the majority of the weekend", the girls actually only appeared for 3 hours Saturday (11am - 2pm) and 2 hours Sunday (11am - 1pm) - I know, I have the invoice.

As for the girls walking around looking a bit lost, all I can say is that the feedback we got from them was that they were generally interested in what they were seeing. They were surprised that the stereo-typical geeks that attend these sorts of events were quite normal and in some cases asked lots of questions of the gamers about the games.

By the way if anyone is interested in what the girls "really" looked like (Saturday Girls), you can go here:

http://www.genconoz.com/?m=175

It should be noted that using promotions model to do things is not a new idea. The concept of the "booth babe" has been done to death in shows across the globe from auto shows, to sexpo and to things as simple as Toy Fair. Airlines have been doing it for years with the use of fairly attractive hostesses (and that applied to both males and females). Basically people like to look at nice things. And if looking at nice things helps to sell a message, then I am all for it.

In closing we apologise if we offended anyone. If you legitimately were offended by this, and refuse to come to Gen Con Australia because of it, drop me a line at ian@genconoz.com and I will see what I can do to rectify your concerns.
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Ian Houlihan
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Oh, and to the person whose pen didn't work, send me your address to ian@genconoz.com, and I'll send you 3 to replace that one. I find them to be fairly good pens and apologise for it not working.
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shebby wrote:
So, even though I realise I will cop some flak for this rant, I just don't get why they felt like they needed to do it.


I don't blame you for being pissed off. Rant away! A real tour de force of stupidity from GenCon.

Matt
 
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I think its really good to hear the perspective of the Gen Con organiser. We sometimes get too caught up on these things without hearing the other side.

The girls aren't as scantily clad as many booth babes, so I think its a bit more positive. However I don't think you can say that you are not using sex to sell the event and then go on to quote marketing data that says more men go to the event than women, so you have to use women models. If sex wasn't an issue you would use a man and a woman or two men.
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Tom
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I agree with you that you should be upset but I think this kind of thing happens in many events where people feel the need to puff out their chest and brag. Being a white male I hear people talk smack about women, other minorities, and the like thinking because I am "one of them" somehow I will relate or agree.

However, I would like to disagree with your choice of not attending the conventions. I think you need to continue to go and try to create an alternative climate, not by political correctness but by finding others that agree with you and will treat you with respect. If you quit then men like these win.

You should find more women and men that agree with you and go to the conventions and demand respect by playing well and by explaining to people "would you like that if I said it to your mum...or your wife"? I think in these situations, active protests and political correct demands don't work, but it stops being funny to say these cat calls when enough people are demanding respect. Don't let the bullies represent the other people.

I am fairly sure that these men would hate unwanted and demeaning advances from men or women too.


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evan fitzgerald
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GenConOZ wrote:
But if a good looking, friendly girl hands them out (remembering that statistically 90% of people who attend Games Conventions are single, males between the ages of 25 - 45) then the 50/50 success rate increases to somewhere around the 75-80% mark.
83% of statistics are made up...just like your statement...and mine. I might believe 90% men in attendance (although that is higher than what I would say for Indy). I would believe the majority are single and that age range seems fine for a majority. But you clearly made up 90%. I would be surprised if 50% of the attendees are single males from 25-45.

Additionally, is you think any marketing strategy you employ is 80% successful (i.e. they attend your con, buy your product) you should be a professional marketer...not a con organizer.

I have no idea about the customs of Australia - but I can say that I have attended GenCon Indy for years now. Many booths in the convention hall have "booth girls" and many of the attendees (RPGers) dress is garb that I wouldn't let my daughter wear. So I guess that if Aussie GenCon is like Indy GenCon...and girls exposing themselves bugs you...you shouldn't go.
 
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