Home / Tech / Enterprise / Cheerleader outfits and weird looks: we went to the biggest tech attention discussion of the year for the first time, and it’s transparent CES still has a lady problem

Cheerleader outfits and weird looks: we went to the biggest tech attention discussion of the year for the first time, and it’s transparent CES still has a lady problem


CES 2018John Locher/AP

  • CES, an annual tech trade show, took place in Las Vegas
    last week.
  • Despite months of courtesy paid to passionate harassment
    and bungle in the tech universe and beyond, the show still
    featured “booth babes,” hardly clad women operative the
    parties, and 0 women giving keynote
    addresses. 
  • The male-dominated show has a lot of work to do in
    sequence to turn some-more thorough for women. 

we had listened the stories prolonged before we ever attended CES: the
“booth babes,” the hordes of men, and the parties where women
were asked to dress in revealing costumes.

But we suspicion things would be opposite this year. Since the last
CES, we’ve seen the arise of the #MeToo movement, which has
speedy women to share their stories of nuisance and
assault. Men in positions of energy at venture collateral firms and
tech companies have lost their careers over allegations of sexual
bungle and gender bias, and the business
universe — and over — is profitable closer courtesy than
ever before to suitable workplace behavior. The general
feeling newly has been, at slightest from where we sit, that treating
women badly will no longer be tolerated.

Because of all that, we suspicion the world’s biggest tech show
would have changed, too. I couldn’t have been more
wrong. 

Booth babes and cheerleaders

we arrived in Las Vegas on Monday, and when we walked into my first
CES eventuality that night, we saw groups of immature women in cheerleader
uniforms operative the party. There were no men in cheerleader
uniforms — actually, I’m not certain there were any men operative the
party at all. I attended the party with two male colleagues,
both of whom were equally appalled. 

By the finish of the night, groups of men were clustered around the
cheerleaders, and they didn’t seem to be asking them about the
free receptacle bags. The kicker was that when we walked by two of the
women articulate among themselves, the only difference we overheard were
“sexual harassment.”

When we arrived at one of the salon floors the next morning,
the first counter we saw was run by women in splendid blue,
skin-tight, off-the-shoulder dresses and soaring high heels.
They looked beautiful, but we can’t suppose they picked those
outfits out for themselves.  

On day two, we showed up to a product demo early in the morning.
In a parking lot full of about 30 startup engineers, we was the
only lady as distant as the eye could see. 

And of course,
there were the famous robot strippers. Vegas is Vegas, so the
fact that strip clubs are a pivotal tie of the landscape and that
they figure into the courtesy conferences that take place in the
city is not accurately shocking. But the weird CES captivate on
display at the Sapphire bar — exposed robotic women with screens
and cameras instead of heads — was the ideal essence of the
problem with the conference.


CES 2018John Locher/AP

And then there were the little things. The last year has finished me
hyper-aware of how men provide me in veteran situations, since
we satisfied — as we consider a lot of women did — that there’s so much
we brush off for the consequence of the careers. we vowed to compensate closer
courtesy to those little interactions and comments this year,
and there was no necessity of element at CES.

Take the name tag, for instance. All CES attendees are required
to wear name tags around their neck that contend their names. This is
useful in a lot of situations, but not when you’re a lady in a
sea of men. For women, displaying your name prominently like that
gives people permit to act like they know you. Strangers would
eye me up and down and contend things like, “Hey there, Avery” as I
walked past. 

Another day, we was operative in one of the media bedrooms when someone
approached me and asked if we was in the center of operative on a
story. we pointedly pronounced yes, but he abandoned me, then peered
directly down into my path where my name badge was dangling, and
said, “Oh, we just love your publication.” we handed him
my label in hopes he’d leave soon, and then he texted me several
times that night and the next day. 

He may simply have been an overzealous PR person trying to push
whatever product or company he represented. But that’s the the
problem with formulating an sourroundings where women aren’t treated
as equals — it’s formidable to sign what “normal” is.

Throughout the show, we would proceed men at their booths to ask
questions, and they’d demeanour at me like an visitor had just asked
them to explain their product. They wouldn’t demeanour me in the eye,
and they’d hardly shake my hand. we suspicion it was just me,
until  we ran into a crony on my last day. She was handling
PR for a company showing at CES, and as we sat down for a minute
to locate up, she incited to me and said, “Isn’t it so weird how
the men here don’t know how to provide women?”

If this past week taught me anything, it’s that the men of CES
were gentle ogling all the women, but they weren’t always
gentle treating us like equals. 

Work to be done

People may contend that CES has been around prolonged before we was even
innate — that decades of story precedes my 4 days there.
That’s true.

People may also contend that there are copiousness of men who work in tech
who attend shows like CES and don’t provide women badly or make
them feel uncomfortable. That’s loyal too. The infancy of my
practice over the last week were veteran and
pleasant. 

But the fact stays that for the second year in a row,
there were no women scheduled to give keynote
addresses at the show. There seemed to be significantly fewer
women covering the show than men. And despite months of attention
paid to the ways, big and small, that women are subjected to
indignity since of their gender, companies still trotted out
the counter babes and handed out cheerleader uniforms. 

So until all my practice at CES — and the experiences
of every other lady benefaction — feel equal and inclusive, there’s
still work to be done.  

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