China bans ‘booth babes’ from video game convention


The Chinese government has pressured companies who are attending the ongoing ChinaJoy Expo, a video game convention in Shanghai, to not use scantily clad women to help promote their products, reports Reuters.

The appearance of these women — known in China as “spicy girls,” or “booth babes” in the US — has the potential to violate China’s government directive against “vulgarity,” according to a report from Shanghai Daily. The newfound paranoia in the industry is said to have come from a recent government crackdown on video games deemed too vulgar.

That doesn’t mean no women are allowed to attend — though many ChinaJoy attendees were less than please to discover the new dress code, which allows no more than two-thirds of a girl’s back to show, and prevents the placement of logos in “sensitive positions” on the body, like the breasts or buttocks.

“To be honest, I came here largely for spicy girls,” said ChinaJoy attendeed, Xavier Du.

“I’m satisfied with the female models for this year’s ChinaJoy … I care more about them rather than only sexy clothing.”

The prohibition of booth babes from a video game convention may sound like the work of an extreme communist dictatorship, but it actually happened here in the US, first.

In 2006, the famous E3 convention in Los Angeles forbid vendors from hiring the semi-clad models for their booths —it had gotten to a ridiculous level by that year — and threatened to impose a $5,000 on any company that tried to break the rules, starting with 2007. As is the case in China, the change came primarily from pressure placed on the video game industry by Washington politicians who were hellbent on blocking violent and sexually explicit content from video games.

As anyone who attended E3 in 2007 knows, plenty of companies took the five grand hit, and the booth babe tradition stayed alive in the face of adversity. And in 2009, after attendance to E3 dropped, the convention organizers revamped the rules and reopened the floodgates of glitter-covered skin, which came pouring back in, for better or worse.

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