Domain name specialist NetRegistry has come under fire for using women dressed as nurses to promote its services at Australia's largest trade fair CeBIT this week.
One of the controversial nurses (Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet.com.au)
Throughout today a number of members of Australia's ICT and marketing communities used the Twitter social networking platform to flag their belief the use of what many described as NetRegistry "booth babes" was demeaning to women, comments that came after discussion had initially appeared to take a lighthearted view of the marketing technique.
Social media expert Stephen Collins wrote: "Association of sexist imagery with women in
the ICT industry is ipso facto degrading. Perception = reality" and
was answered soon after by US-based Aussie Jo White who said: "It's more than that
too. It suggests the company doesn't have a product/service that is
worth looking at on its own. Cheap tactic".
"The idea of 'booth babes', no matter how they are dressed, has
had its day. Professional people, professional image," added Collins. Said Perth-based web designer Taa Brennan: "I put it to you that more women are starting up
online businesses than men. This is a trend. You don't want them
Bloch said the nurses' uniforms had only come into play
because of NetRegistry's medical theme — the nurses had been asking
passers by about the health of their websites. He insisted that
there had also been male nurses and doctors. "There would have been
female doctors if any of our sales people were female — but they're
not," he told ZDNet.com.au.
I think it's political correctness going gang busters
NetRegistry CEO Larry Bloch
He also pointed out that women who were manning other booths
were showing considerably more flesh than the nurses. "They are
deliberately not wearing what one might call ultra-sexy outfits,"
According to Bloch, the costumes really had all been about the
medical theme — a little fun — and were not supposed to have been
offensive. "I think it's political correctness going gang busters,"
The thick and fast tweets drew annoyance from former Linux
Australia president Pia Waugh, who currently works as a political advisor for Senator Kate
Lundy, although Waugh didn't seem annoyed at the nurses' uniforms,
only that people's admiration or disgust at the marketing ploy was
clogging up the twitter tubes with related tweets.
"Imagine the 'nurses' at CeBIT are big hairy and Victor-esque
men and perhaps we can all get back to interesting topics :)," she