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Was the Asus tweet extraordinarily sexist?

  06/06/12 00:19, by , Categories: Rant

This was a tweet from Asus at Computex 2012 in Taiwan.

The rear looks pretty nice. So does the new Transformer AIO. #Computex2012 pic.twitter.com/ajafmuDk

And here is a sampling of the responses and reactions to that tweet.

Outrage and Pitchforks!

Was the Asus tweet a display of sexism? That depends on whether you think objectifying someone is sexism.

Either way, I don’t see any reason to be offended by the tweet. Well, not more offended than you would be by the existence of “booth babes” in the first place. These scantily clad women are hired purely for eye candy. They don’t provide anything to the gadget exposition other than a female form to gaze at. Unless you believe that women are just naturally better at holding gadgets than men; but that would be sexist, wouldn’t it?

Never mind that NVIDIA had a woman dressed in a fairy bikini (complete with wings!) presenting their new graphics card. Don’t bother reprimanding Corsair for hiring a woman to stand near their products wearing a skin tight racing suit without the pant legs. At least these companies didn’t mention that their employees were attractive!

I’m not saying that I approve of what Asus did, I’m just saying that they don’t deserve to be singled out in such a fickle manner.

If someone has a problem with objectifying people to sell products, that’s commendable. But I would hope that they would take their reproach to its logical conclusion, not just boycott and/or reprimand Asus. Take the moral indignation to all of the companies that use sex to sell.

This entry was posted by and is filed under Rant.


Comment from:
Jeff Cutsinger

I think part of the reason for how strongly people reacted is that the tweet is really sleazy. Your characterization of it as “mention[ing] that their employees [are] attractive” is misleading. If the text had been “Wow, our booth attendant is very attractive!", it probably wouldn’t have garnered as much attention. As it is, Asus’ tweet is reminiscent of sexual harassment. I’m sure if I ever made a similar remark at work I’d get in huge trouble, maybe fired.

I also think that to some degree we allow ourselves to believe (true or not) that the booth babe phenomenon is “what is done", and as such is not necessarily approved of by the companies participating in it but rather thought of as a necessary evil. Asus’ tweet shatters this belief/illusion and makes explicit that the company approves of the phenomenon.

And while I think perhaps the response is disproportionate, this _is_ bad, worse than just the plain existence of booth babes. I’m not really sure what the benefit of pointing out that the mere existence of booth babes is also offensive. I’m offended by that; but even more offended by Asus’ tweet. You’re also not presenting anything actionable. OK, we agree that the phenomenon of booth babes is bad, but what should we do about it? Boycott the industry as a whole? At least putting pressure on Asus shows that we care to some degree about women being treated as people.

Of course I wish more people were generally aware of and angry about women being used as objects to sell other objects, and it’s definitely good to get that message out. I just don’t think it’s a bad idea to be especially angry at Asus right now.

06/06/12 @ 14:01
Comment from:

You make some good points. I did (wrongly) tone down the message of the tweet to try to make my case. It was misleading and I apologize.

You’re right, the tweet is sleazy. But I am not more offended by it than by the existence of booth babes. They are there to appeal to untempered sex drives and the tweet just shows that they are having the desired effect. It is shattering an illusion. That is why people reacted.

I guess my point is that people need to examine why they reacted badly to the tweet. It was because they disagree with the objectification of women. In my eyes, saying the booth babe has a nice rear is a side-effect of employing someone to show off their body for sex appeal.

People are ready to boycott Asus because one marketing guy made a crass remark. I think it’s ridiculous to stop there when entire companies employ women to parade around these shows in skimpy clothing.

06/06/12 @ 15:21

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