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Blog Post By Harry Mottram

Sex, Sexism and Sign and Digital

We ran a story on the topic because so many people commented on the use of stand-girls. For those who are new to the industry stand girls are not surprisingly young women, often models. They are hired to occupy a company stand to lend a bit of glamour at a trade show. So far so good, as few would argue against the idea since exhibitions are about a mix of presentation and information – and of course sales.

At the Sign and Digital UK 2014 show there were stand girls is abundance but some wore what many referred to a skimpy outfits. Eye candy in effect for men – while others wore office or work style clothing which still looked glamorous but weren’t obviously sexual in style. Of course it is all in the eye of the beholder.

One media commentator however felt they should be banned and has suggested setting up a women’s group to campaign against sexism in the industry

The question is what is appropriate. The women I questioned about the subject used the word ‘tacky’ to describe the use of under dressed females and said although it didn’t offend them it created a laddish atmosphere rather than a professional one.

Plus there’s also the issue of using images of naked or semi naked women to promote products which have no relationship to the female form – something that is widespread across all industries.

Some men also had reservations as to the relevance of using this throwback to the 1970s and suggested it was the clothing (or lack of it) that created the wrong impression. Others (and possibly the majority of men questioned) didn’t mind or saw the girls as something to smile about. One media commentator however felt they should be banned and has suggested setting up a women’s group to campaign against sexism in the industry.

It’s hard to disagree with the words of our own Harriet Gordon on the issue: “I don’t have a problem with companies hiring promotional girls dressed in skimpy outfits, but I don’t think it’s a particularly good idea. It does seem outdated, and makes the stands in question look tacky and cheap. The bigger issue, however, is how it affects the wider environment of the show.

“I think it creates a ‘laddish’ climate, which shouldn’t really exist anymore, considering the amount of women that actually attended the event.”

Your views on sexism please to online_ed@signlink.co.uk


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