In a major blow to the expectations of cryptographers around the world, the RSA Conference has announced a ban on certain items of clothing meant to discourage the attendance of “booth girls.” The email, which was sent out to all exhibitors listed specific banned attire exclusively aimed at women, including “tops displaying excessive cleavage, miniskirts, shorts and Lycra (or other second-skin) bodysuits.”
According to Bill Brenner, a professional in the digital security industry, one of the main supporters of the ban is Zenobia Godshalk, CEO of ZAG communications, a technology PR and IR services company. On her Twitter profile she claims to be a “mother of two gorgeous bab(i)es.”, parentheses added, and most interestingly “a diehard #Stanford & #49ers fan (once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader)”.
Godshalk’s LinkedIn profile lists Stanford University as her alma mater and membership as a cheerleader with the Jam Pac’d Dance Team. “We pride ourselves on being the only allfemale group, representing various ethnic/cultural backgrounds coming together to celebrate and embrace diversity and female empowerment,” reads a description on the club’s Youtube page. Here’s a video of a recent performance from the group:
These dancers can really move and should be able to showcase their hard work. Pelvic thrusts and synchronized movements are permissible ways to celebrate the feminine spirit, yet highly paid models in shorts are not appropriate for tech firms to use as metaphors for a particularly efficient encryption protocol, or to personify the beauty of a new software platform, or more likely to garner the attention of photographers to promote their brand. Why would a lifelong cheerleader support scantily clad women cheering guys hitting helmets and tackling each other, yet decry the same for Gavin Andresen and other heroes of the web?
The effectiveness of booth babes at a tech conference is questionable, but the decision should be left up to vendors. Another interesting question is where are all the booth bros?
[booth babe photo via V-R Zone]