[UPDATE] Dancing Girls & Angry Resignations: Tale of Two GDC Parties

More Dancing Women

On the following night, developer and publisher Wargaming held its own party at GDC, also hosted at the Ruby Skye nightclub in downtown San Francisco. Whereas the IGDA party featured dancers in furry boots, the Wargaming party went with models in BDSM gear. Women were decked out in gas masks and an assortment of leather.

Cassandra Khaw, a writer at PC Gamer and Gameranx, attended the party and explained what happened there.

“First thing I see is this guy dressed up in a million glow sticks, in a giant bubble. Flanked by … very skimpily-dressed women in gas masks with protruding bunny ears,” she said. “Half of them were dressed in a fetishized Tifa’s outfit, almost?”

“Butt cheeks half-showing, cleavage bared. Sort of standing on stage and just vaguely gyrating.”

The party, seen in the image above, is reproduced in the following video:

Khaw said the “dancers” at the event wore silver straps bound over their breasts, across their waist, and over their hips and buttocks, but were otherwise naked. “I remember looking up on the second floor. There’s just this lady on a table, about yay close to the crowd, just wiggling. Lots of ladies dressed in traditional Wargaming attire, toddling around the floor too, naturally.”

Khaw’s experience and discomfort at the event has been echoed by the likes of several other attendees, both male and female.

GameFront has reached out to Kazemi and Romero for comment; Kazemi refused, and Romero said she is preparing a statement. We’ll update as more information becomes available.

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28 Comments on [UPDATE] Dancing Girls & Angry Resignations: Tale of Two GDC Parties


On March 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Granted, probably not the smartest idea in the world for a corporate event. That being said, I’m having a really hard time taking the outrage seriously. I just got back from a business trip on Hawaii and, barring further photo/video evidence from the aforemention parties coming to light, I saw literally dozens of women wearing equivalent (or less) clothing wandering all over Waikiki in public. The puritans are no longer running the colonies, and people seriously need to chill out. Europeans would probably be laughing themselves sick over this nonsense.


On March 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

not sure I understand what the fuss is all about. Looks about as harmless as a Britney Spears gig?


On March 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm

@Jawa: indeed (I’m European)


On March 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I think Jacque Urick has it right. One time can be explained as being unexpected. Hiring the same company twice without making those “reservations” known sounds like somebody wasn’t doing their job. Usually it isn’t that hard to deal with something like this ahead of time. Either tell the entertainment company to leave the dancers at home, or hire somebody else that better fits what you’re looking for. Kazemi might have wanted to avoid infighting, but it seems like people are placed in some form of leadership position precisely to deal with such problems, rather than avoid them.


On March 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm

If you can’t tell the difference between a corporate event hiring scanitly clad dancing girls and some nobody walking scantily clad in public (operative word *public*) …..then you don’t have an understanding of the issue and are part of the problem.

In the business world, we’ve matured out of the 5-martini lunches, it’s about time we mature out of the almost stripper as entertainment too.


On March 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm

You think if there where an equal amount of near naked guy dancing you’d get the same reaction, I mean they want both sexes treated equally?


On March 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

OK, I get it. Scantily-clad dancers in video games, OK. Same-sex romances in video games, OK. Stomping on faces and kneecapping your enemies to get info–or just out of spite–OK. Mowing down your adversaries on a wholesale basis, OK. Killing sentient beings on a planetary scale, OK.

Scantily-clad dancers at an event about video games…not OK.

Sheesh. Get over yourselves, willya ?!?


On March 29, 2013 at 12:16 am

What if that company was hired a second time specifically because they knew there would be scantily clad dancers and they knew it would piss off these specific individuals?


On March 29, 2013 at 4:18 am

I’m ashamed at the other commenters on this article. The article very clearly and explicitly spells out an expression of the mysogeny and sexism problem in the gaming industry (through near-strippers at a major gaming event), and all they can say is- ‘this is fine’. It’s you a5shol3s that keep the problem going. I can only shake my head in disbelief, at the event, and the comments on this article.


On March 29, 2013 at 6:22 am

@quicktooth ironically you did not spell misogyny right. Have you seen the picture of dancers? They were not even close to being strippers, they were tamer than the average go-go dancer one often sees in nightclubs. I am also failing to see how the comments on this article objecting to neopuritanism are misogynistic, where is the hate? If you are going throw the word misogyny around you better have some evidence to back it up.


On March 29, 2013 at 6:48 am

Quicktooth is yet another example of an oversensitive and politically correct society. As for Hemlock, I don’t know what kinda business you are in, but if you can’t even show your clients a good time on the level of tameness that this party had…

The Truth

On March 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

Show me the evidence that these women were forced against their will to do this or told it was the only way they’d have a role in the company and you may have a point. Until then, I’m running on the sensible assumption that these women are autonomous enough to CHOOSE to dance in provocative outfits. It isn’t anyone’s place to say that they can’t do this just because it upsets your limited sensibilities for some reason you appear to be unable to elaborate on beyond “durrr sexism”.

I expect this sort of mindless obedience to PC issues on Cracked or MSNBC, not on a videogames website. I’m glad that the consensus on here seems to be rejecting this as well, because it’s beyond patronising. It’s bordering on propaganda.

Lava Lamb

On March 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

@Hemlock3630 – strippers aren’t entertaining, I’ll give you that. But having female dancers on stage does not automatically equate to ‘this company is sexist and sees women as hollow sex objects.’ It equates to ‘this company wants to throw a bunch of crap at you to keep your mind from wavering.’ Same would be true if it was men in speedos or open-shirt sailor outfits. It’s dumb, but that’s all it is. It’s not “another example of industry-wide misogyny” as so many would love to believe. It’s just a stupid company who doesn’t have a particularly good grasp of what’s considered entertaining or indeed dignified in 2013. If they’d gone one further and thought “hey, you know what people really like? The Village People singing YMCA.” Would that have resulted in homophobic outrage? Probably not, but it’s pretty much the same principle – a lazy, outdated concept of what people would find engaging at a PR event for a game. No more, no less.

And I agree with Mike and Paul, the idea of misogyny and sexism is thrown around way too readily, so much so that it waters down the response to genuine cases of sexism and therefore exacerbates this exaggerated problem much moreso than people rolling their eyes at this. If the dancers hadn’t been there, someone would no doubt have asked “where’s the women?” If there’d been female employees in normal business clothes, someone would have complained that they were ‘masculinising’ (or something) the female staff to make them conform to the male ones. You can’t win with people who are determined to see discrimination in everything, so the sad consequence of that is that many people don’t bother trying to improve things because they see it as never being accepted as good enough. The most hardline feminists aren’t looking for equality, if they did they’d be demanding that marriage and custody laws were fairer to men and trying to encourage more women to become garbage collectors and mechanics, making things equal or at least with less disparity at all levels of society and industry. But they don’t do that, because they only want it equal when it suits women and are more than happy to turn a blind eye when it’s men who are getting the shaft – which happens in far more areas of life than many would like to think.

It’s just another baseless non-controversy cultivated by people who want an excuse to whinge.


On March 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I’ll agree with quicktooth that a ‘problem’ exists. The problem, however, IS people like quicktooth who apparantly still equate women showing some skin with oppression. For the record, the end point of that particular line of reasoning is the Taliban. Kate Upton made more money last year than I will in my entire lifetime for standing around in a bikini. I’m sure she feels extraordinarily oppressed right now, trying to decide between a new Mercedes or a new BMW (or whatever else she buys in her free time).
The day the 1950′s morality trolls and their personal issues with sex and the human body finally crawl back under a rock where they belong will be a great day for humanity.


On March 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

It is dumb and sophmoric, and feeds to the lowest common denominator in the group.
And tone deaf as to what’s good business practices….and that includes sexism, since you know, it was only females being paid to be objectified (no matter how poorly done it was).

Put some stupidly dressed man-cake as a Yeti shaking their buns along with the women, and people would just be saying ‘stupid and tasteless’ instead of sexist.

Ian Miles Cheong

On March 29, 2013 at 12:48 pm

@JawaEsteban, the ‘problem’ isn’t with Kate Upton in the individual sense. The problem is with how society holds her beauty up as an impossible standard to which other women are unable to meet. When women are unable to fit conventional standards of beauty as it is dictated by society, women face oppression as a constant setting in their daily lives. Not a minute goes by when a woman isn’t regarded—or oppressed—by the male gaze, judging her for her looks and her inability to look like Kate Upton or any other woman held upon a pedestal.

Beyond that, Kate Upton has to live up to her image as “Kate Upton” as it exists in the minds of society. Were she to gain weight or somehow change the way she projects herself, she would be derided for “giving up” her good looks. Kate Upton, like other models, has to live up to the impossible standards placed upon them.

That is oppression.


On March 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

@Ian Miles Cheong Yeah, and the pope is oppressed because the world looks to him with such scrutiny.
Other catholics can’t match up to the holiness or the pope. NOT!!!
Kate Upton is nothing more than a case of job choice. She chose her job because it pays very well and she could make a good life doing it. I doubt anyone forced it upon her. Any high profile job has drawbacks. Do you think the president loves having to have secret service on him 24/7? Is that oppression? No. Anyone going into jobs like that know what they are getting into. They simply feel the perks are worth more than the problems. Unless you’re talking about self oppression then your arguement carries no weight.
See, no I have that problem, cuz even though I’m not in a high profile job, people still feel the need to try and emulate me. To reach the level of perfection that I have. It’s not easy having people idiolize me like this, but hey somebodies got to do it. :)

Ian Miles Cheong

On March 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

@TheDog Discounting the fact that you’re making a false equivalence by comparing the Pope’s responsibilities to that of any woman, the Pope chose his position. Women do not choose to be women in society.


On March 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm

@Ian Miles Cheong Please tell me your not as stupid as your comments. Firstly, secondly and thirdly, I didn’t comment about any comparison to women. I made a comment on your comparison to Kate Upton and her supposed oppression because she’s a woman. She’s in the position she’s in because of her job. Her position requires her to be the idiol of teen girls. Usually hoping to get her position. I simply made some valid comparisons of my own. Actually much more valid than yours. You used her because she was mentioned in someone elses comments and you thought it would be a wonderful idea to bring her situation to light even though she isn’t being oppressed, she has nothing to do with women and gaming, but simply because she is idiolized by thousands of teen girls and probably more teen boys (although I don’t think idiolized would be the correct term). Many, many models through out the years have been in the exact same situation. All because they chose to be, not because they are a woman. So if you want to do some comparisons, by all means go ahead and do them. Just make them valid. Don’t pick them soley because they are women. Pick them because they have something to do with the actual subject.


On March 29, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Ian, interesting argument. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this, I believe. Although I’m out of the service and working in the civilian sector now, I served three combat tours in some very unpleasant places over the last decade, and we appear to have very different opinons of what constitutes oppression. Kids getting shot and burned with acid to send a message that girls shouldn’t go to school…that’s oppression. Kate Upton having to spend a relative pittance compared to her total net worth annually on a personal trainer to stay in shape isn’t. It’s a job requirement for her chosen profession, key word being ‘chosen’. She has enough money from her work that if she were to decide tomorrow that she wanted to quit modeling and take up underwater basketweaving, she’d still never want for anything for the rest of her life. That sounds to me like the exact opposite of oppression.
I’ll grant you that the argument of women’s body image in general instead of looking at an individual case has more traction, but that argument can be just as easily applied to equally socially prevalent and equally unobtainable body image standards for men. That makes it a social body image problem in general, not sexism, cause’ it cuts both ways.
My opinion remains that getting worked up over women in a nightclub doing what women, well, generally do in nightclubs is ridiculous. Was it probably not the best environment to have a business function? Sure. Is it a sign of some grand campaign to demean and oppress women? Not a friggin’ chance.


On March 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm

@Ian Miles Cheong Just one other thing. You mention and I quote “Not a minute goes by when a woman isn’t regarded—or oppressed—by the male gaze, judging her for her looks”. Hate to break your bubble, but same goes both ways. I am friends to a lot of women and some are shy, and others look at guys like meat, and aren’t shy about it at all. There’s not a minute goes by that some women, regard the men going by, oppressing them with there gaze, judging them by there looks. Sounds familiar huh. This isn’t the roaring 20
‘s. Women are much more agressive and bold. In fact, I know some women who are worse than most men I know.
I do know what you’re trying to say, but I just can’t totally agree.


On March 30, 2013 at 2:14 am

@Ian Miles Cheong @TheDog why even take the idea of ‘gaze’ seriously? Lacan and psychoanalysis is bull, i.e. does not back up its theories and claims with evidence. The idea that a gaze can take away the autonomy of someone is idiotic. Applying post-modernist claptrap and pseudo-intellectual psychoanalysis only serves to weaken the agenda of equality.

The idea that Kate Upton sets the conventional standard of beauty is ridiculous hyperbole, she may be one of the many ideals (ideals that have evolutionary roots). To say that Upton is oppressed because if she gains weight she looses her career is idiotic. It would be the case if that was the only career available to her, but she has an immense amount of positive liberty to choose another career. Your logic could be applied to anyone; is a surgeon oppressed because they could loose their motor skills, a footballer oppressed because they could loose their hand to eye coordination, ect? It seems like you have bought into a type of thinking which only allows you to see the world through the lens of oppression.

Not a minute goes by when I am not oppressed by nature to consume oxygen, to convert sugars into energy, to use my bones and muscles to oppose gravity. Failure to do any of these means death. Oh nature why are thou so oppressive…


On March 30, 2013 at 4:50 am

Here’s what gets me:

One section, the people ‘offended’ by this, saw “female dancers.” The other section saw “dancers.”

Clearly, the section most mentally affected by gender was the same group that claims to be against sexism, yet they’re the ones making the inference based purely on the fact that the dancers were female.

Switch them with scantily-clad male dancers and what happens? I imagine a very different response indeed. I certainly doubt we’d see articles like this talking about how demeaning it was for men at the party – in fact, they’d probably try somehow to warp it into another male-on-female sexism thing by saying that the men were “flaunting their masculinity” at the women in attendance.

The only people who were ever offended by this were those who already had an obsession with ‘sexism,’ and the chances are if they couldn’t infer it in something as OTT and in-your-face as dancing chicks, they would have looked for it somewhere else.

Feminism is thankfully a dying ideology because most people can now see that it’s thinly-veiled sexism that relies mostly on dogma. It’s certainly not egalitarianism which is what I think most people who believe they support ‘feminism’ are actually in favour of.


On March 30, 2013 at 8:14 am

Next year you’ll have powerpoint presentations instead (yeah ! fun !), and you’ll still find someone to complain about the outrageous energy consumption of that beamer…


On March 30, 2013 at 8:56 am

@Paul You really need to read posts a little better. If you had actually read my posts, you know that I don’t take the gaze serioulsy. In fact, I was saying that anyone and everyone can be supposedly oppressed by the guidlines stated.
Next time you want to bring someone in, or question what is said, do some actually reading and not theorizing, or assuming, cause you look more the as_ then the people your talking about.


On March 31, 2013 at 8:48 am

Drama… Drama…

Where did I put my popcorn?…


On March 31, 2013 at 9:44 am

@Patches I think I saw it over next to one of the oppressed dancing girls.


On March 31, 2013 at 9:54 am

Ian’s still censoring comments that challenge him, how very fascist of him.