Here's my thing about booth babes at an event like PAX. I've already said my piece about how their presence reflects on my own standing there. And there's a ton more I could say about how the use of "babes" ticks me off as a woman developer. It's an issue that I could (and probably will) address further in the future, but there's another aspect to the use of "booth babes" at PAX that I also find really bothersome.
But the use of "babes" is also an issue that really really bugs me as a gamer - and quite frankly I can't understand how others don't see this as well. As gamers, I think we should be really PO'd at the companies that use "babes." Any company that hires a booth babe is telling YOU, the person coming up to their booth, that they don't believe that you can have an interaction with a reasonably attractive person of your own volition. They're perpetuating this awful stereotype that we as gamers are social miscreants who can't interact with or even attract the attention of conventionally "hot" or "interesting" people on our own. Instead, these companies tell us that they're happy to PAY one of these people to tolerate our presence for a few minutes (I won't even get into all the other assumptions that the use of "babes" makes about gamers as a community).
Now, if it really were true that we needed a third party gaming accessory company to pay a hot model to hang around with any of us, PAX wouldn't exist. It's obvious from the sheer number of attendees as well as all of the relationships forged there that we're all social beings, and for the most part we have our shit together.
In my panel, "The Other Us" I talked about how the presence of booth babes discredits my own presence as a professional in the industry. I'd like to add here that it also discredits all of us as gamers, geeks, and games enthusiasts. If you are as disgusted as I am by the use of these human props* feel free to write directly to companies that you witnessed using them. Feel free to tell them that at a gaming convention their product should be able to stand on its own merit, not rest on the T&A appeal of a hired model.
**also, someone mentioned at my panel an incident where someone groped me at E3 b/c they thought I was a hired promoter like a booth babe. That moment sucked - hugely - and I can't imagine how much it sucks for other women on the floor at shows - booth babes or otherwise to have their space violated like that. I'm not a huge fan of the concept of booth babes, but they deserve a safe space, when used, on the convention floor too.