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Brief Published: 26 Jul 2019

CES Welcomes Sex Tech and Bans Exhibitor Sexualisation

Extra

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is responding to accusations of discrimination and sexism by introducing new policies for its annual tech event, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It aims to create a more inclusive environment, providing a platform for diverse exhibitors and products.

The initiatives, which will be trialled at CES 2020, include a more formal dress code. To prevent companies using sexualised ‘booth babes’ to attract attention to stands, exhibit personnel will not be allowed to wear revealing clothing.

To help counter allegations of misogyny and discrimination, The Female Quotient will be partnering with the CTA to boost minority representation. A new Innovation for All track will be added to the CTA stage, in addition to an inclusion round table session hosted by the CTA’s Diversity and Inclusion team. To learn how to maintain consumer approval in brand communication, read No Offence: Speak the Language of Now.

At CES 2019, the CTA was widely criticised for revoking its annual innovation prize from sex toy brand Lora DiCarlo. The reasons were that the device did not fit into a pre-existing product category and that items deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image”, would be disqualified. As the event often showcases female safety devices, many questioned why innovations that address female pleasure are discriminated against. This is especially pertinent as male-focused products such as robotic sex dolls and VR pornography experiences have been exhibited in the past.

The backlash that ensued caused the association to reinstate its award to Lora DiCarlo, while tech-based sexual products will be added to the health and wellness product category for CES 2020 in a one-year trial. For more on the boom of devices supporting women’s pleasure, see Female Sexuality in Focus.

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