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Babbs in the Woods: There are boobs and then, there are boobs

Sorry, but if you wanted a copy of the Canadian women’s “Bold Beautiful Biathlon” calendar in which the women’s team posed nude to raise funds for the Winter Olympics now ongoing in Vancouver, it’s sold out. On their calendar website, it states, “Our goal is to empower and inspire women and girls by expressing the beauty of a healthy, athletic body.”

I haven’t seen all the months of the calendar, but I bet you’re going to think this former Sunday School teacher is going to throw a little hissy fit here about this display of feminine pulchritude combined with guns.

If so, you’d be wrong. This doesn’t bother me. I’m not going to buy it, it’s sold out. Also, I wouldn’t have purchased it. But, I enjoyed the movie Calendar Girls, even though those babes were older than these women. They raised money for a good cause (a memorial sofa for visitors in a cancer ward in the hospital where one of the women’s husbands died) by using the edginess of nudity combined with artful poses with kitchen appliances and flowers.

And then there’s Benelli with the Legacy gun campaign. Artful and nice metaphor – graceful curves and engraving meshed with a woman’s curvaceous tattooed body. Nice blend and makes the point.

And then, there’s the Field & Stream yearly Booth Babes comic relief piece. Last year, they ran it on YouTube. The Booth Babes know what they’re doing. They are models who work trade shows wearing very little and showing off beautiful bodies and often, some oh-my-goodness work by plastic surgeons. However, where I have the problem is not that the women don’t have a clue about what they are pushing – other than sex appeal. They are being made fun of as ignoramuses about guns by guys in the industry who should know better. For Field & Stream editors, it’s a game. Let’s make fun of the big booby babe and see if she knows what caliber gun she’d take afield to hunt deer. Oh, and let’s giggle like a little girl when she says something so wrong.

Turn the tables. What if the Booth Babe said, “And now, Colin, I’d like to ask you a question. Do you prefer Manolo Blahnik Suede d’Orsay or Louis Vuitton exotic leather with tribal-inspired fringes for a typical Saturday evening cocktail party in Manhattan?”

And Colin might say, “Uh, let’s see … that’s a good question. I don’t usually wear heels, but I guess if I were going out, I’d prefer a basic black pump, one-inch heel, because that just goes with everything.” And the babes would just chortle and dilate their pupils at him.

Hey … look at her finger!

This year’s contribution to the Booth Babes slide show includes a photo of a woman gripping a semi-auto pointed toward the ceiling, by her head and with her finger on the trigger – surrounded by people. But, you would think the Park Avenue crew would know how to set up a proper photograph, employing gun safety rules. I guess they weren’t looking at her finger – either during the photo shoot or the editing process? Or even worse, they used the shot to prove her lack of knowledge … and my point.

~Barbara Baird

Twitter: http://twitter.com/babbsbaird
Facebook: http://facebook.com/babbsthewon

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • Lizzy aka The Fisherbabe says: February 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    GREAT ARTICLE…and the insights that commenter “Do You Come With A Car” gives are fantastic. A lot of times I see people lashing out at the “booth babes” or other lovely ladies who participate and work at these types of shows and that is very unfair. These ladies are often knowledgeable, well spoken, and hobbyist that also, just happen, to be beautiful. It’s the editors, writers, event coordinators, and general haters that choose to focus on their boobs rather than their minds. I applaud you for wanting to inquire into their lives, give these ladies a story, and to show that they deserve understanding and respect from all!!

    The movie “Calendar Girls” was adorable, AND it should have opened a lot of eyes as to the meaning of the words “beauty” and “love” . I think the calendar that these Olympic Althletes made is very artistic and ,although sexy, showcases in a very neutral and raw way the hard work, dedication, and loyalty these women have to their sport and to their desire to make the world a better place. These are traits that we would all normally respect and admire in a person…that should not change because a woman shows her beautiful skin.

    Great article!!!

  • bbowers says: February 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Another great post, Barb. At the show, I spoke with one of the Booth Babes pictured in the F&S slide show–she’s another New Yawker–and she’s anything but a dumb bimbo, regardless how the male editors want to portray these ladies. Speaking to these ladies about their lives next time is a great idea.

  • Deb Ferns says: February 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Good piece Barb, and this attitude displayed by Field & Stream of “let’s humiliate the young female bimbos” is NOT a message any of us in the outdoor industry (man or woman) want to see portrayed. As you probably know I am not against the word “Babes” and I, too, like the photo of the Canadian Biathlon group. They have great muscle tone, are tastefully posed, and don’t fit into the “Bubbette” imagine that Field & Stream utilized. Again and again I see the outdoor industry “shoot itself in the foot” just when those of us serious about involving mainstream media, in a pro-gun way, are working diligently to create respect for women who decide to try their hand at shooting sports and/or hunting. So every message we send to anyone (mainstream media or throughout our outdoor industry) should be about empowering women and ZERO about small brains and big boobs.

  • Do You Come with the Car says: February 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I’m an auto show “booth babe” that experiences much of this same attitude from men who don’t believe that I could possibly know anything about cars (I generally wind up knowing more than they do) and that I’m only there for my looks (as opposed to my looks AND my marketing degree AND my extensive public speaking experience AND my skill in dealing with sketchy characters). I worked in Corporate America before doing this job, and never knew so much sexism still existed in our country as I have come to experience after stepping out from behind a desk and onto the convention center floor. I keep doing it because I love cars and enjoy the money – and hopefully I’ll change a few men’s minds about us along the way.

    • Women's Outdoor News says: February 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Auto Show Booth Babe, and I just knew it. In fact, next year at the show, Deb Ferns and I will be talking to Booth Babes about their lives, their attitudes and about what’s between their ears instead of what’s between their bra straps.