Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ahem, there are GIRLS in the room!

Oh, lord, I hate writing about this subject because the last thing I want to do is come off sounding like a shrill feminist. I personally am not fond of Feminazis, and I cringe when I see bumper stickers that say, "Think women aren't leaders? You're following one." Barf. No, effing barf.


The venerable Field & Stream has just posted its annual SHOT Show Booth Babe Roundup - a photo gallery.

In case you're not familiar with SHOT, it's an enormous hunting and firearms trade show where vendors pitch their products to merchants and media. Hunting and firearms industries being dominated by men, many vendors hire hot babes to stand there and make sure all the passers-by can see their abundant cleavage so maybe some of them will come in for a look-see. At the product, of course. Read more...
It's basic marketing. We see it a lot.

Personally, I don't get my undies in a twist about it. I know men are biologically driven to open their wallets more easily in the presence of nice tits.

But I'm a little irked with Field & Stream.

My problem is this: Hunting is not a men's locker room anymore.

While male hunters are losing numbers, the number of women hunters is holding fairly steady. And the number of girls ages 6-15 who hunt has nearly doubled since 1991, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's most recent National Survey.

What's my point? We know that boys and young men have traditionally loved hunting mags like Field & Stream. It stands to reason that this growing number of girls who hunt might also like and read such magazines and their associated websites. And if they subscribe to F&S's email newsletter, as I do, what they saw in their inbox this morning was something touting the Booth Babe Roundup as the top story.


Why does this bother me? It's about the messages this is sending. One is that this is what girls are supposed to look like. Of course, the rest of the media already shoves lots of bad messages down girls' throats, leaving them feeling like they must be rail thin and have a huge rack in order to be acceptable, leading to a whole lot of anorexia and - for those with money, anyway - boob jobs.

It just makes me sad that it's not only Cosmo and other fashion magazines where they're getting this message. They're getting it from a hunting magazine too.

Another message is that this is the kind of women male hunters want to see in their hunting mags. Well, of course it is - men like hot babes. I don't begrudge them that. But could we just remember that there are young female readers too?

It's not just F&S that forgets; I see this in hunting forums all the time. Last year some brain surgeon posted a joke in the "Campfire" section of an Internet hunting forum. The question was, "Why can't women work on cars?" The answer was a photo of a woman so incredibly busty that she couldn't roll under the front of a BMW.

Most guys wouldn't share that joke directly with a 12-year-old girl, yet they forget that there are girls in the room when the room is an Internet forum.

I expect that of the oafs on some of these forums.

I do not expect it from a venerable magazine.

End of tirade. I've got work to do.

© Holly A. Heyser 2010


Chad Love said...

I humbly direct your attention to this vox clamantis in deserto...

Eventually I just gave up, and not a peep was heard from me on that subject this year...

Holly Heyser said...

Chad, I remember that post well! And I certainly wouldn't lump you in with the folks who decided that this is an important annual feature.

Chad Love said...

Well, hell. The link didn't work. Mind if I cut-and-paste? I wouldn't bother, but damn it, I'm kind of proud of the phrase "boob-skin stretched to the absolute limits of elasticity"...

Two years ago this month, when I was but a lowly prole on the then-infantile Gun Nut blog, I penned my thoughts (long since lost to time and website changes) on the demeaning and ridiculous phenomenon of the SHOT Show "Booth Babes." For this I was criticized by those who appreciate the combination of firearms, streetwalker fashion, and boob-skin stretched to the absolute limits of elasticity.

Last year, realizing I was a distinct minority, I simply said this about product spokespersons who wear spiked leather corsets:

"As for the booth babes, there are a bunch of stripper poles getting cold somewhere."

And here we are again. I've never attended a SHOT show and I've never seen a "Booth Babe" live and in the nipped, tucked, super-sized, plasticized and nuclear-tanned flesh. Neither prospect interests me in the least. I don't know which would be worse: enduring such a high concentration of hook-and-bullet writers in such a small area or watching all those frozen-smiled women posing with products they know nothing about while hordes of portly gray-hairs try to cop a quick down-blouse peek.

I know every other industry employs the same tired formula for their trade shows, and has done so for pretty much forever. But that doesn't make it any less cheap and tacky. Is there anyone else out there who finds classy women much sexier than the ones who use Pamela Anderson (or whatever her last name is this week) as their template.

So if you're a female spokesperson at the 2009 SHOT Show and you're not sporting moon-sized cleavage I salute you. You may not know how to pole-dance for money but you know how to be sexy with style. And be safe in the knowledge that all those lecherous old farts probably couldn't score with a free throw at the basket, anyway.

Cat said...

WELL SAID. i know it's not much, but i can't really say more that would mean more.

Holly Heyser said...

Chad, I have no problem with you cutting and pasting here, but if you email me here, I'll give you the code for embedding links.

Unknown said...

So par for the course sadly. Can't think of one socially acceptable thing to say about the whole mess so I'll just refrain from wading into the deep end of analyzing it. I will however say that I agree and do hope for a better day when both men and women will take women more seriously.

Unknown said...

Just went back to the site and read the comments, then looked through all the pictures. You know what's really sad? There were real women in at least a third of those pictures who you could tell loved and used the product they were selling. Instead of highlighting that truth, by having the first couple of pictures be of the obviously paid models they missed a great opportunity to, at risk of sounding trite, keep it real. Very disappointing.

Matt Ames said...

I wanna be a booth babe!!

Anonymous said...

Sarah, You said something I wanted to say, and I'll add to it.
I wonder what its like for the ladies that were actually promoting products they have used in the fields, to be standing in the same room as the models. I would have been Pissed to see them there and felt totally disrespected.

The Hunter's Wife said...

I remember Chad's post as well and unfortunately this is a topic that will never go away. Twenty years ago the sex sells campaigns weren't as provocative as they are now. Sad to see some teenagers and young adults feel sex or being sexy needs to play a roll in all they do.

Also sad to see F&S allowing such degrading disgusting comments.

Holly Heyser said...

Oh my, just checked back in. The trogs have all gotten home and started logging into F&S, for sure.

What's worse was something I saw maybe a year ago on F&S: a photo gallery of women hunters. Nothing provocative at all: Just women in camo with the animals they'd just killed. Some average-looking, some pretty hot.

Well, good lord, some of the commenters were talking about what they were doing in front of the computer screens as they looked at those photos, if you get my drift, and F&S just let those comments sit there.

I stopped going to the site for a long time after that. By tolerating that kind of talk, they encouraged it. And I'm quite familiar with the law that applies to regulation of comments - you can't edit them without incurring extra legal liability, but you can delete them, and you can censure users - neither of which happened.


What I'd really like to see is some indication that F&S gives a shit that YOUNG GIRLS are their readers too. Is anyone out there?

Julia Lloyd said...

Well said Holly. I wouldn't mind the booth bimbos so much if they would also provide goodlooking, buff guys too. But I have been to the SHOT show and sure enough the men in these booths are mostly old, bald and overweight. If they have to have booth babes, why not hire a few buff booth dudes for us girls to look at? Heck, we have eyes too!

BAGC said...

One thing My husband and I agreed on tonite: Field and streams job is to sell magazines. The bimbo's job was to stand there and look good to attract customers. ITs all about money. Field and stream doesnt have to care about our children, and the bimbo doesnt have to care about field and stream.
What they both are doing works for their business.
What pisses us off as women who hunt/fish/ that there is severe lack of integrity. I would buy products from a half naked woman, if she could show me how the product worked, show me pictures of her using it, and compared it to the competitors product.
Does that exist?
I guess if my children were to see this type of advertising, at least let them see that the half dressed girl is educated.

Lindsay M.
(for some reason I cant log in to show my name)

Holly Heyser said...

True dat. And F&S made it clear its male readers are more important than we are - that it's worth pissing us off (and throwing trash in young huntress' faces) to keep pandering to a base that is dwindling.

Of course, we caught a whiff of that when F&S 86'ed its FS Huntress blog.

native said...

Never had a high opinion of F&S Holly, and I lost a tremendous amount of respect for them when they axed F&S Huntress.

This one just takes it right off the charts for me, and I don't even want my daughter getting even the slightest notion that this is how she is required to dress and act in order to be noticed.

Holly Heyser said...

Somehow I knew you'd feel that way!

Ofieldstream said...

Kudos Holly for making the stand; once again. I agree with all you said. I take personal the use of the word 'Booth' to describe these abused female trinkets. That is my surname. If there were a legal retort available, I would avail.

I do offer you one big criticism on one part of your article.

Why did you even bother to provide a link to the 'gallery'?

It's a horrid problem, with a simple solution straight out of grade school.

When you ignore the bully's aggression, the bully ceases being a real problem.

Oh, yeah. He/she might beat the snot out of you. But when you realize they have no real power over you; their threats are no longer meaningful and they become weak.

This foisting upon people of the notion that 'soft-selling sex' is either normal or acceptable is in fact a form of bullying. Social bullying.

It is overbearing. Those who are enamored with it are very quick to use intimidation against anyone questioning the use.

So, why even give it ground by gratuitous promotion through a hyper-link?

Bring the issue to the attention of your readers. Provide a platform for argument, debate and education. But you don't have to offer your readers an immediate douse into the swill.

I'm writing a POV on this in my O'fieldstream Outdoor Journal. If you care to read: visit in 24 hours.

Holly Heyser said...

I look forward to reading what you have to say!

But why did I link? Simple: I hope my readers will leave comments on that "gallery." That way I know F&S will hear from us. And there will be something worth reading in the comments between the unintelligible digital pantings of the teenage boys.

But, your point is well taken.

murphyfish said...

Hi Holly,
Just caught up with your post on this side of the pond, you don’t half know how to get a discussion going. It does seem an unfortunate fact of life that advertisers, for all manner of products, use this tried and trusted (trusted by them that is) method of drawing attention to their products. Now whether the majority of males’ key to their wallet is via their genitals may not be scientifically proven, the method does attract attention and turns heads. Unfortunately, as you point out, these advertisers do seem to forget (or just ignore) the affects that this manner of advertising does have on impressionable youngsters and can only add to pressure on them to look “normal”. The flip side of this is that “any publicity is good publicity” so perhaps in their eyes just encouraging folks to raise the points and comment on them is drawing attention too and raising the profile of their product? You’ve raised some valid points here Holly but I think that the only way sometimes to effect these situations is by voting with your feet. For myself if I don’t like the way a seller is promoting their product (no matter how good the product) I’ll walk. Another great and intelligent post Holly, keep up the good work.
Oh, and as for myself? The smell of steak and fried onions gets me into a seller’s stall every time, I guess that I’m just weak…..



Kirstie Pike- CEO Prois Hunting Apparel for Women said...

Bravo, Holly!
While I am a huge fan of F&S, I am quite frankly surprised this topic is found to be worthy of their pub. Alas...who's to say.
After returning from SHOT this year, I was shocked...again(and you know that is hard to do). While I saw women who were, might I say, scantily clad (a uniform I personally don when I am thinking about hunting or tactical maneuvers) representing products for some of the world's elite companies. I am amazed that the industry can fall backwards into the neandrethal thinking that this images is what will actually sell a rifle scope. Seriously. While limited to the confines of my own booth, I frequently saw booth babes roaming the aisles. I had NO idea what they were selling, but hey, it's Vegas and you can legally sell virtually anything in Nevada. Don't shoot me, but I find it actually funny and a little bit sad. I for one, will not visit a booth if a scantily clad female is trying to demonstrate the finer points of a military grade sniper's rifle. Color me crazy.
Funnier yet...I witnessed the booth babes frequenting many booths and gaining free gear everywhere. I am curious...where will they use those VERY high-end binoculars anyway?
Color me crazy!

Kirstie Pike
Prois Hunting Apparel

Phillip said...


I was going to comment last night, but after following the link back to the "Gallery", I got distracted and forgot what I was gonna say.

Personally, and yeah, I know I'm a man so maybe my opinion here doesn't count, but I'm not too worked up about the booth babes. As far as my experience at the Show, they certainly don't offer much incentive for me to peek into a booth and see what it's about... any more than the appearance of celebrities in the booths has done. But yeah, I occasionally turn my head.

But, it's a part of the business as it has been for ages. It's changing, slowly, as the demographic of our sport and industry changes. Compared to the SHOT Shows my grandfather and uncle attended 20 years ago, booth babes and alcohol are tiny components of the marketing strategy today.

But again, I don't care if the manufacturers want to trot out the eye candy, or use any other gimmick to get folks to slow down and take a look. They're just trying to make a buck.

But it does sort of bug me that a publication like Field and Stream would give it the level of coverage it has received in the last couple of years. Sure, I enjoy Dave Petzal's ironic drooling commentary about said, "babes". It's funny knowing that he realizes he's just another of the grey-haired, balding old reprobates who have about as much "chance" with one of these girls as I have of walking on the moon.

There's nothing funny though, about presenting a photo gallery of these women for open commentary in an open forum. It goes beyond tacky to disgusting... especially when you realize that at least some of the women represented in that gallery actually DO know and use the products they're endorsing. But even the "empty-headed bimbo" deserves more respect than this.

Field and Stream, you are NOT Sports Illustrated? Don't drag us all down there with you.

SimplyOutdoors said...


I'm right there with you on this subject. And I'm no prude, and I can certainly appreciate a woman's beauty, but these magazines have to realize how much the demographics are changing, and adjust accordingly.

I certainly wouldn't want my daughter enjoying F&S, seeing these particular girls, and thinking that is the standard that she will be judged by.

Hopefully F&S realizes the error of their ways. And they need to also realize how many girls are getting introduced into hunting - it isn't a male-dominated activity anymore.

Holly Heyser said...

John: The interesting thing is that the only advertiser on the F&S website is F&S - and there's one big ad at the bottom for all Bonnier Corp. publications (thank God Saveur doesn't do this! I love Saveur). So unless someone clicked through from my post and decided to subscribe, F&S didn't make a dime from my link.

Kirstie, I thought of you as I was writing this, remembering how you managed to get plenty of attention at your booth with two real women ... who actually hunt. You seem to be doing fine without the babes.

Phillip, wasn't it interesting how Sports Illustrated was their justification? I don't much care with the SI Swimsuit Issue either. But I don't read SI.

The interesting question is are babes necessary to make sales? I work a lot with a certain waterfowl association where they are well aware that raffle ticket babes are NOT family friendly - I have one friend who won't go to those dinners because he doesn't want his kids to see that - but they're afraid to cut the cord and go babeless. I believe they've even tried it a few times and found that less money comes in. Yeah, I've seen how some of the drunk a-holes slobber on those girls at those dinners.

I shudder to think what SHOT was like 20 years ago, because I've heard what the duck dinners were like...

Hil said...

I'm not sure booth babes will ever go away. I don't begrudge a woman her hot body and pretty face, but those of us who are actually out there and KNOW WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT and don't have our boobs hanging out do tend to get a little irritated about this subject.

Our magazines' Web site ran a similar "Hot at SHOT" photo gallery last year. Traffic to our sites skyrocketed, which we're in desperate need of. I kept my mouth shut and brushed it off as "boys will be boys," but interestingly, the MEN here decided not to run the gallery this year. I was pretty darn proud of them for making that decision without me even mentioning it.

Holly Heyser said...

Hil: Wow, kudos to them - that's gutsy to give up traffic.

Having been a politics editor and reporter and a bunch of newspapers, I can tell you how much it discouraged us that our stories about the stuff that was really important - things that would affect lots of people's lives - got way fewer clicks than any BS little item about Michael Jackson or Britney Spears.

Greg Damitz said...

Field and Stream is not ignoring women. They're catering to their far majority customer just as the vendors at the shot show are. Most of the outdoor magazines are just rags now anyway. Why even buy one or go to their website.If you want a magazine to read support the NRA, CWA, DU, NWTF, CR&P, Pheasants Forever, Quail Unlimited or one of the other fine pro hunting or firearm organizations. You'll get a membership, help the organization, and get a magazine. Less than 10% of the duck hunters in California belong to California Waterfowl. THOSE 90% ARE THE REAL BOOBS!

Holly Heyser said...

LOL. I support almost all of those: NRA, CWA, DU, Delta Waterfowl, NWTF, RMEF (and I've written for three of their mags). I have LOTS of reading material in my house.

Greg Damitz said...

I figured you support those. The comment was directed at others that read your blog. It's a shame how many partake of a resource and do nothing in return whether it be supporting an organization or volunteering at a refuge.

Josh said...

Great post, Holly, and a great reminder about the responsibility that comes from the freedom of the internet.

I am reminded of something a friend of mine told me. She used to work for a national PR firm for organic products, and would attend the annual trade shows. On her way to one, I asked her what it was like, and she made some funny comments, including:
There is always somebody trying to put hemp into something new;
There are always the embarrassing, bikini clad models selling everything from hemp underwear granola, to a treadmill.

And, I'm sure the percentage of feminist women (not to mention men) was considerably higher at these shows than at SHOT.

These things always bother me for the young men and boys, who are told and shown that men really don't want intellect, we want eye candy. Also, they are taught that their purchase decisions SHOULD be determined by boobs. Which, they are. Just not the anatomical ones.

Tovar@AMindfulCarnivore said...

Hey Holly -

Tons of good comments have preceded mine, so I won't go repeating what others have said...except to say "great post."

I understand the marketing psychology. I believe it works. And I find it offensive, both in the messages it conveys about you as women and in it what it assumes about us as men.

I think it's too bad that "feminism" -- of which I'm a staunch supporter -- has become a dirty word in some quarters. Sure, there are extreme, belligerent people in any camp (in the hunting camp, quite a few people come to mind). But the basic message is the one on a pin I used to have: "Feminism -- The Radical Notion That Women Are People."

People. Hunters. Readers. Not booth ornaments.

Holly Heyser said...

Josh and Tovar: Wicked good last lines there!

Tovar: My cringing comes from having been around a fair number of women who are still fighting the battles of the '70s. Women have come a long way since then - the issues aren't the same. IMHO. I know I didn't face even a tiny fraction of the battles my female predecessors faced in newsrooms.

Deb Ferns said...

Having attended SHOT Show 2010 our booth was right next to one of the 7' banners highlighting a beautiful (and breast bountiful) woman laying on a motorcycle with a rifle strapped across her stomach. I had the big banner moved down the lobby hallway as it was not only a traffic problem; it also set a bad precedent for what we offer in our ladies handgun camps (avg. camper age is 44 and enhanced breast size not needed to attend.)As Holly suggested it's important for F&S to embrace women of ALL ages and ALL sizes! From my marketing perspective I'd rather ENCOURAGE all women to be interested in shooting sports, hunting and fishing and not make "booth babes" the example of what they need to look like to be involved. Giving Victoria Secret more $$$ for the WonderBra seems counterproductive compared to marketing for a woman to get more fishing gear or a new rifle.

And for the record I love the title of "Booth Babes" if only the photos would reflect the hundreds & hundreds of women who attend SHOT Show and are involved in the industry in a way that is pro-woman & pro-gun and has nothing to do with the size of your bust. I understand the motto of "sex sells" but I thought that should be limited to porn sites?

Hil said...

Greg's right, F&S is just appealing to the huge majority of their demographic. Our readership is something like 97% male and I would assume F&S's is not far off that. I wish we had more female readers, but the reality is that we just DON'T and the percentage isn't like to change anytime soon, judging by the evidence that women hunters are not growing in numbers like we all wish they were.

So business-wise, it's kind of a no-brainer to run something that will appeal to 95% of your readership. Who cares if it pisses off the measly 5% who will probably keep reading anyway? From a finance standpoint, anyway. Might not be the most socially responsible thing to do, but in the age where all magazines are struggling to even survive (and F&S is no exception, they've had a bloodbath of layoffs this past year), you follow the dollars and the traffic. Sad but true.

Holly Heyser said...

Oh, Deb, Babes with Bullets had to be next to THAT? Man, had I been there, I would've written about the tragic juxtaposition. "We're teaching women to shoot" next to "we're using women to get your attention." Sigh.

Hil: Women my age are holding steady, but the "baby boom" of female hunters is constantly graduating into our ranks - I believe when the next USFWS National survey comes out in 2013, we will see growth among the women hunters. And while I've said it before, I'll say it again: I give huge credit to dads taking out their little girls. I'm sure moms who hunt do too, but sheer numbers tell us that dads are a major reason for this increase.

It's pretty exciting. And that's the point I keep making to guys: We don't just pretty up the hunting community - we're going to save the damn thing from extinction!

Stacey Olson said...

Well said Holly.. thank you

mike hanback said...

Funny, when I posted my 2010 SHOT review at my Big Deer Blog a few days back I mentioned "I noticed fewer scantily clad, large-breasted" ladies manning the booths this year than in years past, "not that I was looking." Hmm, maybe I was wrong and they were still out there in force peddling their wares... Anyhow Holly, good job, love your blog voice.

SJB Imagery said...

Well stated, Holly!

Holly Heyser said...

Thanks Stacey and SJB!

And Mike: I wasn't at SHOT this year, but I did notice that the F&S gallery contained shots of women who looked like they might actually really work for these companies.

For the benefit of folks here, click here to see Mike's blog about SHOT.

And Mike, I was really glad to see that photo of Tred still kicking. I was so bummed to hear about his stroke. He's a crazy man and I'll probably never do a fraction of the "hard way" things he does, but I respect him a lot.

Phillip said...

Damn, the more I read this thread, a thought occurs to me that I wish had occurred last week, when I had my barely used camera bouncing over my shoulder...

I could have done a REAL booth babes piece. I mean, think about it...

First of all, there's Kirstie of Prois, the ladies at SHE Safari, and the beautiful ladies behind Foxy Huntress. These ladies aren't just show floor decoration... they're making the industry better.

Then there are the ladies of the Olympic shooting team... Kim (who was everywhere this year), Corey, Amber, and Haley (although I didn't see Haley this year?). Again, these are pretty faces, but so much more... they're real assets to the shooting sports.

And more... Babes with Bullets, The Texas Divas (I get a kick out of them), Camp Wild Girls, etc.

And even behind the scenes, the folks hustling in the Marketing and PR organizations, like Karen Lutto of Hunter Outdoor Communications, the young-but-knowledgeable ladies from Chevalier (representing Taurus and Winchester Ammo, among others), and Linda Powell from Remington.

Man,what a slideshow that could have been... and much more meaningful... even if everyone was fully dressed.

Ah well... missed opportunities. Maybe next year.

Julia said...

Well said, and great and thoughtful comments in response!

We had a F&S subscription for years at our house. As serious hunters, we BOTH felt that we didn't want to continue to allow that kind of dribble and sexism in our home.

As a female hunter and recovering anorexic, I find what F&S is doing to be not only deplorable but also wilfully damaging to the women who hunt (and their daughters).

When I first started hunting, the last thing on my mind was how glamorous I looked while out in the field. Now, I'm wondering, is that what male hunters want? I can guarantee my husband would rather have a well-outfitted, well-prepared female hunting companion instead of a busty, manicured, high-heel-clad bit of arm candy traipsing along side him in the woods.

Beyond offensive that they think that any female hunters can respect the fact that they use "babes" to sell male hunters their crap. Obviously, F&S doesn't care if they have female customers.

Sue Melus said...

Hi Holly,
I love the post. I am one of the PR women of the shooting, hunting and fishing industry. I spent three days working hard at SHOT this year with my new client Columbia Sportswear. I have several other women friends in the industry who know equally well how to run a computer, communicate and a skin a deer and blast birds. Overall, I think most men in the industry do respect us for that.

I pretty much ignore the booth babes at SHOT. But it did piss me off last year after the F&S editors, many of whom I am friends with, didn't go the extra mile to edit the downright nasty comments left by some of the ignorant @#$holes who read the F&S blogs. Duh. You may get some more women readers if they aren't offended off the site.

Pick it up a level this year, F&S! Edit the comments at least.

DarrenM said...

I have nothing more to add than what's already been so eloquently said here already... other than to say a) that Hooter's outfit HAS to go (or get updated) and b) what the hell was she doing at the SHOT show anyway? Seriously?

Do You Come with the Car? said...

I'm an auto show "booth babe" who experiences this kind os skeeviness from men every day, in person. If you're interested, check out my blog DoYou Come with the Car - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Blessed said...

I've been in and out here - I haven't commented yet because I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into coherent sentences.

Booth babes irritate me. Not the "babes" themselves, but the concept - for all the good reasons other people have left here and for one more thing too... I intend to teach my son to respect women, not view them as a piece of desirable meat to drool over. I realize he's a boy, he'll be a man, he'll be attracted to boobs - my husband looks, I get it - I don't go into jealous fits of rage over it or anything crazy like that - but my husband has a whole lot more respect for a woman who knows how to skin a deer than he does for a woman who knows how to show off her cleavage - because his Momma taught him to respect women and tried to shield him from this type of nonsense when he was young. - Yes there are GIRLS in the room, but there are also BOYS in the room who are much more interested in the gun or the knife or the hunting video than they are in the scantily clad woman in the room. Let's let them be boys and learn to respect women and girls - rather than teaching them to lust. They have plenty of other places to pick up on that - why promote it in our hunting and fishing magazines too.

OK - that's a rant, but thanks for this well written article, it's got me to thinking and writing and re-writing... and I'll be following up soon.

Anonymous said...

HH, you've hit the target dead center once again...I just sent this on to a guy who writes an auto blog and had a post about a tire maker who puts out a risque calendar every year...latest one was two models wearing a single tire....I'm sure consumers looking for a safe ride for their families must appreciate that kind of flexibility....

Holly Heyser said...

All right, well, I'll post this separately too, but to all you commenters, check this out: F&S invited me to write a sort of "op ed" for their Field Notes blog. Click here, and prepare to enjoy the comments (which I braced myself for...).

Hil said...

Wow Holly, the comments over there are getting vicious. You are a stronger woman than I for wading into that mess!

Holly Heyser said...

Yep, saw that coming. Nope, don't enjoy it. Strength? I'm sure I'll find it somewhere.

BTW, my post about the post (geez, like a house of mirrors, isn't it?) is here.

Edward J. Palumbo said...

Ms. Heyser:
You write intelligently and I've bookmarked your site to stop by occasionally and read more of your material. Perhaps Mr. Licata will provide you with more opportunities to discuss hunting topics.

Mr. Love:
I'm disappointed that your viewpoint was developed at the expense of the women employed by the SHOT Show exhibitors and vendors. If they're attractive or provocatively dressed, I have to assume they were assigned that dress code by their employers. Why not direct your ire at the vendors? Comments about "streetwalker fashions" and "a bunch of stripper poles getting cold somewhere" do not make you appear supportive or respectful of women; they demonstrate a presupposition and rush to judgment that I find disappointing.
Instead of developing a perspective I can identify with, you appear to express yourself in much the same frame as the neaderthals you criticize.
By the way, I am 63 years old and have been happily married for 27 years with two grown youngsters, one of whom is a 24 year-old young woman; the other is a Navy enlisted man.
Edward J. Palumbo

Anonymous said...

I said on the F&S blog and I'll say it here. You should really pick your battles. I do not now nor have I ever patronized the F&S booth babe pics. After all the brouha about them, I checked it out. Aside from one or two women who were either richly blessed by their creator or had good plastic surgeons, most of the women were tastefully dressed. I have seen 12 and 13 year old girls such as you referred to at the mall dressed like street walkers and wearing less clothes than some of the women pictured in the booth babes.
Maybe the point should be taken with Sports Illustrated concerning the swimsuit edition; after all what do swimsuits have to do with sports as discussed in Sports Illustrated. A product should sell itself on its own merits and not have to lean on the looks and persuasion of a young lady. That said, if a company wants to employ women to attract attention to their products and said women are properly attired, it's the company's business and not mine.
JohnR from F&S blog.

Holly Heyser said...

John, thanks for coming by. I don't usually pick battles like this, but I thought it was important to say.

It's also important to note that I've said in three places now that my quarrel is with Field & Stream deciding this was important content for its audience, not with SHOT (private show) or the vendors (I don't have to patronize them).

I can't elaborate more than that because it's time to go hunting again. But if that message hasn't gotten through yet, I just don't know what else I could say about it anyway.

Anyway, check out the blog and you'll see that most of my topics are pretty different from this. This happens to be the only one F&S has asked me to write about for its website.

Anonymous said...

My wife is an attractive and intelligent woman; she also works in the outdoor sports industry. I accompany her to trade shows and she and I have a wonderful time critiquing the "booth bait" as she refers to them.

My wife has never once been threatened by the "babes". She has been intimidated and thoroughly peeved by the way many of the men in the booths treat her. "Hey Sugar", "Honey you need what I have,”Wolf Whistles, "Hay baby I'd like to do business with you..." The comments go on and on. She does an excellent job in defending herself and usually does not want me to say anything. She also won't do business with many of these buttheads. But, on occasion she will introduce me as her husband. 6'2" inches of disgruntled husband looking down his nose at the idiot of the moment usually provokes a quick apology. This is the side of the shooting sports business that many folks don't know about.