Women at Cons: Where are we at?

As someone with some background in marketing, I wonder if Philippine gaming, toy, and comic book stores have managed to profile their buyers. Are boys and men still the leading buyer of geeky merchandise? Have the girls caught up, if not actually taken over in terms of contributing to sales? If so, shouldn’t there be official con activities that allow girls – real girls – to play?

For those who have just realized “OMG, REAL FEMALE GAMERS EXIST?!” – for reference–

girl-gamers
Now you know. Moving on.

This is from some observation – having volunteered and organized for cons over the last few years. Lights Out, later renamed Blush Con, a convention for females, have had consistently high attendance over the last few years. GeekFight, a geek trivia night I have been a part of for over a year, has an even number of males and females per teams. If on the small scale, the female buying power has been proven substantial over and over again. So why hasn’t it applied to bigger events – such as the public conventions?

Think I’m kidding? Toycon, one of the most popular local conventions, still had the Gosingfiao girls as one of their main attractions. A number of booths still had booth bitches. The main attraction for the up and coming Laro.Ph gaming con is an FHM model in cosplay.

1071480_406804022762440_1923235112_o
Alright, she’s hot, but does she play? Picture from the Laro Convention facebook

Con organizers, have any of you taken note of what girls do at cons? Aside from cosplay and shopping, they also conduct meet-ups with their fan groups. If you haven’t already noticed, a number of handmade fan merchandise are made by and sold by female fans, which bring in even more fans. These same girls carved out the time to go to your con, crawl down EDSA on a Mega Sale weekend, wait twenty minutes in line to pay for a ticket, and spend up to the thousands or more on fan merch. We are not the minority. We are a sizable audience.

Where are we in your event line-up?

(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)
Please follow and like us:
Mia
A co-founder of GGG, Mia is still coming to terms with her shadow. For now she adults but is a fangirl at heart. Favorite games: Persona 3 and the Phoenix Wright DS series. Unapologetic filthy casual.

10 comments

  1. I understand how you feel!!! I have the same issue with promo girls in tech fairs. I regularly go to tech fairs and I get so frustrated at how:

    1) condescending at how some of the salespeople with girls/women inquiring about their products (yes, I know what a motherboard is, I wouldn’t be asking how much it is if I wasn’t interested buying it)
    2) the vendors objectify women by making their promo girls wear skimpy clothing. And I eventually found out that they were “encouraged” to be provocative when they present their products (pressing the item against their breast as they present it to a potential buyer)
    3) some of the promo girls sometimes know absolutely nothing about the product. They were really just hired to stand there and look pretty.
    4) there’s no eye candy for us girls in those events.
    Here’s the extended version of my rant. I know there’s not enough space in the comments section for this: http://www.wailingsofawham.com/why-are-tech-events-unfriendly-to-women/

  2. I’m sorry but the “MAIN ATTRACTION” in Laro 2013 is the international level MTG tournament worth Php 300K, which is the biggest MTG home-grown tournament in the Philippines. We understand your concern but that is just ONE booth in our convention.

    1. Hi Marco, thanks for clarifying. I have raised my points in the Laro Convention thread regarding Christine Marquez, and also positively acknowledged the MTG tournament and other activities for both guys and girls. I was under the impression that Christine Marquez was the main attraction since it first caught my attention as a promoted post on Facebook’s news feed. I have yet to see the other activities and events promoted that same way.

      It is only one booth, much like how the Gosingfiao girls had all of an hour or two at Toycon. But there have always been “just” one or two booths at the bigger cons, or one or two hours with some scantily-clad busty girl meant to draw in a “bigger” (male) crowd. As I also pointed out on the Facebook thread, it doesn’t make female gamers feel welcome to that con. It’s bad enough that they’re stared at when they stock up on gaming dice and their MTG cards at hobby stores (4 out of 5 girls attest to this happening, by the way), then compounded with that kind of objectification in a large, public space.

      I had written up the article in hopes that future con organizers would pause and rethink the way they market their cons to gamers, so they may create an environment where everyone can play safely, and respectfully.

      Thank you for contributing to the discussion, and as said, I wish you luck with LaroCon’s future endeavors.

      1. Hello Mia,

        We actually have an open audition for Magic the Gathering cosplayers to send us photos of their Magic related cosplay. Here is the first one we’ve approved and we’re actually going to be flying him in from Cebu. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151697953872422.1073741999.104499962421&type=3

        Please if you have any friends be they male or female to send in their photos of Magic related cosplay, and if we deem their work to be of a certain level that we may deem worthy of being of booth “babe” (we mean the word babe here in a gender neutral way) quality. Then we would welcome them to our booth at the convention.

        Christine is a professional model and a personal friend of Marco (The event organizer). Considering the fact that most local cosplayers choose either American comics, movies or Japanese anime as subjects really limit our options. We decided to hire a professional model and left it for the con audience to decide to pick a character for her.

        On another note. We at Neutral Grounds would love to have a female writer for our website. We don’t really pay a huge sum, but do pay in terms of a modest store credit. If you would like to write for us regarding girls and the games we carry. We would love to have you on board.

        1. Oh on another side note. Though we may sound a bit defensive. We are actually very grateful for you calling us out on something which some sectors might find offensive. We did initially try to get in as many gamer/cosplayer/MtG fans out there for this project but couldn’t get a decent number of responses. But really, thank you for calling us out on this, and would really like to have a nice person to person chat with you, so you can give us your inputs. Let’s say over a cup of coffee. 🙂

          1. Hi Freddie, thanks for the positive and productive response. 🙂 We’d love to see how we can help out some how or some way. I can be contacted at myachi at gmail dot com, hope to carve out some time to sit down and meet up, see how we can help out.

            Terribly sorry for the delayed response too, as weekend is offline time. 😮

    1. Money, interest, and a group of trustworthy organizers that won’t kill each other when things get tough. 🙂

Leave a Reply