Automakers bow to #MeToo pressure and ditch booth babes
Global carmakers at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show have decided against decorating their stands in the traditional manner. This of course means no promo girls sporting miniskirts and stiletto heels.
The decision comes amid considerable pressure from the global #MeToo campaign. According to Bloomberg, nearly all spheres of life are now drawn into the struggle against sexual harassment.
The South Korean company Ssangyong Motor is reportedly planning to replace booth babes, as they are known in the industry, with male and female models dressed in sportswear. Similarly, larger manufacturers including Toyota and Nissan opted not to hire fashion models for motor shows last year.
“Times have changed. It makes more sense to use product specialists because we’re selling cars,” Sara Jenkins, a Switzerland-based spokeswoman for Nissan told the agency.
Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus said it would attend the Swiss event without models, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles canceled contracts with some female models due to concerns over criticism from #MeToo supporters. The producer of the Maserati, Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands are reportedly planning to feature men and women in less revealing clothes than in previous years.
The shift away from demonstrating female sexuality alongside shining-new vehicles comes amid Hollywood’s sexual harassment scandal. The #MeToo movement started in 2017 following harassment and rape accusations against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.
The growing #MeToo movement has reportedly forced some European sports events to drop hostesses working on the sidelines of male-dominated competitions. Earlier this month, Formula One organizers pledged to stop hiring grid girls.
Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli, famous for its calendars featuring appropriately pneumatic women, also shifted to a more modest approach. Its stand at this year’s Geneva event will be staffed with models in black pant suits, rather than the flesh-exposing dresses of years past.
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