back to article Microsoft's equality and diversity: Skimpy schoolgirls dancing for nerds at an Xbox party

Microsoft's attempts to brand itself as a modern inclusive company were seriously derailed last night. The Xbox giant hired dancers in skimpy schoolgirl outfits for its party at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco. Someone sent me photos and and an OH: "We've got the best spot in the house, don't we?" (Deleted …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

    We are surrounded by ways to sell us stuff using sexual hints. Marketing has been knowing it very well for ages. And many women earns lots of money using their bodies to sell stuff. What about the whole fashion industry?

    Time to change? Yes. But good luck with it...

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

      There's a win-win here. Just have nimble dancers of both sexes.

      Excuse me, all sexes. I mean genders...

      Y'know what, screw it.

      1. David Webb

        Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

        @Big John - I was going to try and list all the possible different genders that are available, other than Male/Female. I then checked how many keystrokes on average there is MTBF and yeah, screw it.

        1. WatAWorld

          Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

          @"David Webb" who posted:

          "@Big John - I was going to try and list all the possible different genders that are available, other than Male/Female. I then checked how many keystrokes on average there is MTBF and yeah, screw it."

          As a transphasic 'female of center' masculinist transient asexual species-neutral polyphobe, I resent your attempt to simplify the reality of the meta universes regarding alternate realities of esoteric hypertrophic sexuality.

          1. x 7 Silver badge

            Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

            " hypertrophic sexuality"

            does that mean oversized gonads and enlarged secondary sexual characteristics?

          2. Arctic fox

            @WatAWorld Re:"As a transphasic"

            Very interesting. Have you spoken to AmanfromMars recently? If you have please give him my very best regards.

          3. razorfishsl

            Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

            You failed miserably......

            The UK has a list of 23 'genders' that school children were supposed to learn about to make them more aware of other peoples differences...

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

              23 "genders"

              Gender is used as a euphemism for sex. The word "sex" to indicate male and female is apparently far too offensive for polite use. Gender is also used to classify words. "His" is masculine, "hers" is feminine and "its" is neuter for example. Of course sex is determined by the possession (or not) of the Y chromosome, both sexes (sorry for the bluntness there) possessing X chromosomes. At best if we use gender to determine type of sex (and this is using gender in its earliest meaning), then we have feminine, masculine and neuter males; ditto for females. I count six all up. Twenty three? Somebody's being creative.

              The use of euphemism instead of direct speech because you are too embarrassed to say what you actually mean has something of a history.

              For example, death has many euphemisms as Monty Python amply illustrated in my youth.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218

              It is popularly supposed among feminists that removing gender-specific terms from the English will result in a more caring and dare I say egalitarian society. Instead of:

              "Look at that poor woman; she has dropped her handbag!"

              one would say:

              "Look at that poor thing; it's dropped its handbag!"

              Colour me dubious.

              1. DavCrav Silver badge

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                "Gender is used as a euphemism for sex. The word "sex" to indicate male and female is apparently far too offensive for polite use. Gender is also used to classify words. "His" is masculine, "hers" is feminine and "its" is neuter for example. Of course sex is determined by the possession (or not) of the Y chromosome, both sexes (sorry for the bluntness there) possessing X chromosomes. At best if we use gender to determine type of sex (and this is using gender in its earliest meaning), then we have feminine, masculine and neuter males; ditto for females. I count six all up. Twenty three? Somebody's being creative."

                Yeah, you're wrong. Just using a genotypic definition of sex, there are way more than six sexes:

                XX, XY (standard ones), XO, XXX, XXXX, XXXXX, XYY. XXY, XXXY, XXXXY, XXYY,

                and probably some others. (All of the ones above exist in people and are not fatal.) Moreover, there are intersex conditions like CAH just to muddy the waters.

                In conclusion, it's a common misconception that genetics is a nice and clean system with male and female. While that's true for 99% of the population, that leaves 70 million people in the world who are one of the many other possible sexes. Part of our 'obsession' with political correctness in the last few decades is that we no longer pretend that if you represent a group of less than around half of the population then you don't matter and can be ignored or silenced.

                And I haven't even considered gender at all...

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  @ DavCrav (was Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!)

                  It may have escaped your attention, but all those chromosome combinations contain an X chromosome as I stated. Males are defined by the possession of a Y chromosome. Conversely possession of only X chromosomes defines the organism as female. I presume your XO is meant to distinguish Turner Syndrome females who possess but one X, rather than 10 year old brandy. While there are many combinations of X and Y chromosomes, there are still only two sexes as defined. At least that was the case when the Git studied genetics at university in 1969 and philosophy of biology in 2005. For there to be more than two sexes, there would have to be more than two sex chromosomes. I believe that is the case in some non-human organisms.

                  Examples:

                  Possession of XXY (Klinefelter syndrome) are males.

                  Possession of XXX (Trisomy X) are females.

                  Please note that I did not state that there were six sexes. My conclusion was that there could only be six euphemisms for sex based on the definitions of sex and gender in the English language.

                  While as you state I am "Just using a genotypic definition of sex" it's a workable one in that it determines who can, or cannot bear offspring. While a friend of mine in IT identifies as female, "she" is the biological father of two children and definitely not the mother. No amount of psychobabble can achieve that.

                2. x 7 Silver badge

                  Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                  XXX? XXXX?

                  FFS stop going on about beer. You're making me thirsty. I might have to tell the girlfriend to pour one for me.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

          MTBLGBTQFWTF!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

        RE: "Y'know what, screw it"

        Unfortunate phrase there. Ah, Bugger It...No...Wait a minute...

      3. MrXavia

        Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

        They just needed hunky shirtless men dancing also, but to be fair the women dancers would also need to be shirtless..

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

      So girls don't like to see other girls making good money dancing sexily?

      If you see the line ups for auditions for such things, there is no shortage of applicants and a lot of disappointment amongst those who don't get chosen.

      Girls don't need a PhD to be a sexy dancer, although I did meet one who was a student doctor.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

        You fail to see the difference between something done on private time and something on an official company event. And intended as a PR event to boot.

        No censorship or prude intent on my end. It's just not good biz practice. And it is a tad obnoxious to women employees and attendees. Or would male dancers be welcomed by you and the lads?

        Do it on private time, with like minded folk if that's your thing. I ain't gonna throw stones.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

          No censorship or prude intent on my end. It's just not good biz practice.

          This is just like, your opinion, man/woman.

          1. JLV Silver badge

            Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

            Man. Who has been to strip clubs before, on his own decision, with friends.

            Is that so difficult to understand, that a woman might feel uncomfortable going to a strip club? Especially with men she doesn't know? Or her colleagues.

            Like I said, flip it around. You go to a vendor event and they take you all out to see the Chippendales. Now, imagine doing that as a young guy with a bunch of older-than-you'd-prefer women. Just so that the sexual tension might not be totally appreciated on your end. Lovely time, right?

            If you chose to go see male dancers with your significant other, she might find ways to show her appreciation later on. Or if you like male dancers yourself. Who knows? Very different situation.

            MS fucked up*. End of story. Guy who did this doesn't deserve to get fired, but learning from other folks' mistakes is smarter than making them yourself. And making people uncomfortable is not cool, PR or no PR, feminists or no feminists.

            p.s. if this was a logging company event or an oil worker convention, this might be different. It wasn't.

            1. Davie Dee

              Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

              Is it hard to believe that women might not have a problem with this or going to strip clubs either? The whole flipping around argument works both ways, what this comes down too is someone didn't agree with it, moaned about it and now the majority of folk who didn't give a shit now get lumped as being sexist.

              If the whole world cared a little less and stopped getting so damn offended by things then it would be a much better place to live

              1. h4rm0ny

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                Some women might not, but it's pretty understandable why others of us don't like this. Turning a tech event into a strip club is not welcoming to women. Strip clubs are about sex and titillation. Not wanting to be forced into such a setting with a group of strange men you don't know and wouldn't necessarily want to be around in a sexual context anyway, that's not good. A few moments thought from a woman's perspective on this should make the reasoning clear as fairly supportable.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

          It's not just the females who find this uncomfortable. As a mid-30s straight male, nothing would make me more uncomfortable than a young girl dancing half naked in front of me while surrounded by my peers.

          Such a poorly judged hire, in my eyes whoever arranged the "entertainment" should be fired as they lack common sense.

          1. x 7 Silver badge

            Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

            As a mid-50s straight male, nothing would make me more comfortable than a young girl dancing totally naked in front of me while surrounded by my peers.

            Of course I'd need a dose of sildenafil first to get the maximum value from the performance. And I'd have to stay off the booze for the night.

            1. Bloakey1

              Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

              <snip>

              "Of course I'd need a dose of sildenafil first to get the maximum value from the performance. And I'd have to stay off the booze for the night."

              Sildenafil? Try Viagra, it will make you like James Bond.

              Not necessarily Daniel Craig but it will certainly make you Roger Moore.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                Sildenafil? Try Viagra, it will make you like James Bond.

                Presumably you also believe that ascorbic acid is really bad for you and we all need to ingest more vitamin C.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                @Bloakey1 As a late-60s straight male.... Viagra IS sildenafil (citrate).

              3. Martin

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                Bloaky1 - you really really needed the Joke icon.

                I liked the pun, but I think a lot of people missed it...

              4. x 7 Silver badge

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                "Sildenafil? Try Viagra, it will make you like James Bond."

                Sildenafil IS Viagra.....its the generic version. Viagra is Pfizer's trademarked version of Sildenafil ( I should know - I used to sell them the chemicals to make it...)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

              "As a mid-50s straight male, nothing would make me more comfortable than a young girl dancing totally naked in front of me"

              Dressed as a school-girl? Really? Well, go ahead and take a picture of the dancer then, but bear in mind that the current pornography laws say that if she "appears under 18" then you have "made illegal images of a minor".

              I don't think anyone should be comfortable that we can be arrested and on the offenders register for even thinking of enjoying such things....

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                Pedant mode: Surely the comment "totally naked" precludes dressed as schoolgirl (or anything)

              2. x 7 Silver badge

                Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                "Dressed as a school-girl? Really? Well, go ahead and take a picture of the dancer then, but bear in mind that the current pornography laws say that if she "appears under 18" then you have "made illegal images of a minor".

                I don't think anyone should be comfortable that we can be arrested and on the offenders register for even thinking of enjoying such things...."

                So you're saying taking picture of her naked is OK, but taking pictures of her dressed in school uniform but NOT showing breasts / vagina is illegal? Do you want to think that one through again?

                1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                  Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

                  Do you want to think that one through again?

                  he@s right. Childrens clothing would make her appear younger.

                  its not just about how much is showing

          2. Dan Paul

            Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

            You must have gender dysphoria. Are you sure you're a guy? or even "Straight" for that matter?

        3. nijam Silver badge

          Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

          > ... And it is a tad obnoxious to ...

          And censorship is (or should be) a tad obnoxious to everybody.

          In other news, Microsoft are still stupid.

    3. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Sigh

      Tut tut tut.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

      #MakeAmericaHotAgain

    5. WatAWorld

      Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

      Exactly !!! Look at women's clothing and perfume advertising?. Does it not exploit sex?

      The issue here is the neo-fascists of the ultra-right wing "third wave feminists" (who are not feminists at all).

      These ultra-right wing feminists (and other members of the ultra-right wing "regressive left") are bent upon enforcing their interpretations of what is tolerable and what is acceptable.

      And they totally ignore the fact that they're words are "triggering" those of us who've lived through WWII and the Cold War.

      They're totally ignoring the fact that -- by their own standards -- they are re-traumatizing those who suffered at the hand of conformist totalitarians, after they were imprisoned in concentration camps in Europe and in Asia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

        @WatAWorld; You're right. Those ultra-right wing leftist commie strawwoman feminist Nazi Liberal Democrat scum and their evil ways!

        I once saw a docu-drama that predicted how ultra-right wing feminists would have taken over Britain by 2012.

        Chilled me to the bone how much they got right, even down to Diana Dors ordering us about.

        Er, I mean.... I for one welcome our sexy, sexy Nazi-feminist overlords. (^_^)

        (P**s-taking aside, one might argue that there's a time and place for this sort of thing, but IMHO it shouldn't be at a bleeding Microsoft corporate event, at least not if they're maintaining any pretence that the company is anything other than a sausage fest of poorly-socialised twentysomething geek stereotypes).

    6. Fibbles

      Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

      It's not the dancing women or their clothing I have a problem with, it's the context. If I go to a lingerie convention I expect to get an eye full of a gyrating, scantily clad twenty-something. At a tech convention? Not so much.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

        If I go to a lingerie convention I expect to get an eye full of a gyrating, scantily clad twenty-something. At a tech convention? Not so much.

        Might have gone to a few more tech conventions and a few less lingerie conventions had I known about this.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

          Might have gone to a few more tech conventions and a few less lingerie conventions had I known about this.

          Might have gone to a few more lingerie conventions and a few less tech conventions had I known about this.

          There. FTFM :)

    7. FreemonSandlewould

      Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

      What a bunch of squares here at the Reg

      1. Wilco

        Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

        Sexism isn't hip. You're the square, daddy-o

  2. 8Ace

    Not great but ...

    .. on the other head I've yet to hear many complaints regarding the dozens of times a day men are portrayed as morons on TV ads to sell stuff.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Not great but ...

      Don't get me started on Daddy Pig (From Peppa Pig). I find that pretty offensive to men.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. ZSn

        Re: Not great but ...

        Unfortunately my wife and children all say that he is a dead ringer for me. Ho hum...

      3. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Not great but ...

        Peppa Pig is completely demeaning to Pigs and Humans. Bring back Ivor the Engine and all the other Postgate stuff.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Postgate???

          Are you implying Postman Pat was involved in some sort of scandal? Did the black and white cat recover?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not great but ...

        "Don't get me started on Daddy Pig"

        I'm trying really hard to get my kids not to grow up to be like Peppa. I go to huge efforts not to order boxes of reinforced concrete or take my kids to work to show them a whiteboard with the method of how to solve quadratic equations written on it. I even made sure I didn't design a house for Mr Wolf to live next door.

        I draw the line at not teaching them to jump in muddy puddles though.

        Remind me again what's wrong with Daddy Pig, apart from him being a wuss on roller coasters?

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