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MSFT Sorry for Having Bikini Girls at Conference

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 133 comments

Oh dear, Microsoft has found itself at the center of a wee bit of controversy for hiring women in gold bikinis to man its recent TechEd event in Australia.

Image credit: SMHImage credit: SMH

Beautiful women are practically part of the furniture at technology, sports and car shows. The rule of thumb is that if the target demographic is predominantly male, there will be booth babes there to brighten the place up and maybe talk about what they happen to be promoting. At a recent TechEd conference, Microsoft decided to keep things local by hiring some of Gold Coast's Meter Maids. The Meter Maids launched themselves in the sixties as a way to combat the bad image created by parking meters that had been installed on the tourist strip. The girls would stroll up and down the strip, feeding meters with coins and leaving calling cards under drivers' windshield wipers. This would all be done wearing a shiny gold bikini and a tiara.

So, a crowd of these girls was present at TechEd, as Microsoft no doubt tried to bring a little of the Gold Coast to the conference. Unfortunately, not everyone at TechEd was delighted to see the girls and some of the 2,700 attendees at the event complained that their presence was objectifying women. This may or may not have had something to do with the fact that one of the key conferences at TechEd was on 'Women in IT'.

"It seems that there are still marketing and promotional folks in the IT world who consider objectification of women to be ok," the Sydney Morning Herald quotes IT worker Kate Carruthers as saying.

"Sadly this issue has detracted from Microsoft's long history of supporting and encouraging women in IT and from their workshop that is part of the conference today."

While apologizing to attendees and indeed its own staff, Microsoft initially tried to pass off the blunder as ignorance, claiming they didn't know what the girls would be wearing until the day. However, chief meter maid, Roberta Aitchison said this was not the case. In fact, she says Microsoft spent as much as three weeks choosing what outfits they wanted the girls to wear.

"The garments were chosen specifically by them over a period of 2-3 weeks of them looking at photographs of the girls," she told the Sydney Mo.

"They came back to me by email stating which garments they would like the girls to be wearing."

Aitchison added that she didn't know what all the fuss was about, as the Meter Maids were just as attentive to the women as they were the men.

"The meter maids are an icon of Surfer's Paradise and I believe Microsoft knew what they were doing. It would be a very small minority of women I would say that had anything negative to say, because my girls are so polite and attentive towards the females."

Read more on SMH.

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Top Comments
  • 51 Hide
    Spike53 , August 28, 2010 4:22 AM
    Non-issue.
  • 40 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 28, 2010 4:57 AM
    i bet the complainer applied job, but couldn't fit into the bikinis
  • 37 Hide
    sabot00 , August 28, 2010 4:28 AM
    , booth babes for all!
Other Comments
  • 51 Hide
    Spike53 , August 28, 2010 4:22 AM
    Non-issue.
  • 33 Hide
    plznote , August 28, 2010 4:28 AM
    ^+1
  • 37 Hide
    sabot00 , August 28, 2010 4:28 AM
    , booth babes for all!
  • 31 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 28, 2010 4:53 AM
    Notice how the complainer was a woman. If they fought the bad image of parking meters successfully they can combat the (supposedly) bad image of MSFT too.
  • 40 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 28, 2010 4:57 AM
    i bet the complainer applied job, but couldn't fit into the bikinis
  • 32 Hide
    calmstateofmind , August 28, 2010 5:04 AM
    eklipz330i bet the complainer applied job, but couldn't fit into the bikinis


    You mean she was fat and jealous. Lol.
  • 34 Hide
    crabsncancer , August 28, 2010 5:10 AM
    Microsoft, ignore the fatty and please have twice as many gold bikini girls at next year's Tech-ed, thank you.
  • 29 Hide
    aliened , August 28, 2010 5:13 AM
    Why does woman always have to complain of a chick just for being hotter than them? Envy.... pure envy... I bet that if all those complainers had the same kind of "attributes" as the booth babes they would keep their mouths shut.
  • 29 Hide
    JackNSally , August 28, 2010 5:23 AM
    Objectifying women? If they are so objectified why are women doing it?
  • 33 Hide
    proxy711 , August 28, 2010 5:23 AM
    As long as women continue to take jobs like these the feminists can choke on it.

    If a woman chooses to become an "object" out of her own freewill then there's no problem with that.

    Now if the industry was fueled by slave labor that didn't give these women a choice in the matter then there's a problem.
  • 4 Hide
    adamboy64 , August 28, 2010 5:45 AM
    "This may or may not have had something to do with the fact that one of the key conferences at TechEd was on 'Women in IT'..."

    I can see where people would come from with this, if they were talking about the role of Women in IT and then all this happened. Still, probably not a big deal as it is made out to be.
  • 20 Hide
    ricardok , August 28, 2010 5:47 AM
    Spike53Non-issue.
    Agreed.. +1
  • 21 Hide
    dco , August 28, 2010 6:42 AM
    Clearly a bunch of ugly old hags complaining because they're jealous. No one forced these girls to come to the event or dress the way they did, it's how they dress everyday for work.
  • 20 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , August 28, 2010 7:21 AM
    I bet the complainer was an Apple fanboy, has an iMac, iPhone, iPod and iPad, and he probably didn't like girls, anyway.
  • 5 Hide
    cj_online , August 28, 2010 7:42 AM
    Aye aye aye...sad sad bunch of fools we geeks are...
  • 4 Hide
    micr0be , August 28, 2010 7:48 AM
    +1 to all the above
  • 23 Hide
    chodaboy , August 28, 2010 8:02 AM
    I wish a bunch of chicks objectified me.
  • 5 Hide
    mikewong , August 28, 2010 8:17 AM
    Man! I missed this!
  • 1 Hide
    ghostie , August 28, 2010 8:21 AM
    Yep, +1 to all the above...
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