The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the world’s largest electronics exhibitions. Overseen and carried out by the Consumer Technology Association, what’s now known as simply the CES, rather than the Consumer Electronics Show, the tech trade show is also one of the oldest such events, having been held every year since 1967.
According to a press release that was published yesterday, on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, by the Consumer Technology Association, next year’s iteration of CES will feature a brand-new award for “tech-based sexual products.” The category will fall under the greater classification of Health & Wellness at CES 2020 and will be started out on a prohibitive basis, as decision-makers at the Consumer Technology Association will revisit the move and decide whether to offer it at CES 2021 based on its performance next year.
The decision came after the CTA found itself amid controversy after it had taken away an award from the Oregon company Lora DiCarlo that it had won for its innovative, effective vibrator known as Osè.
The Consumer Technology Association had first revoked the award in Jan. 2019. After four months, toward which the end consumers had widely accused the CTA of being unfairly biased when it comes to gender, the organization decided to give Lora DiCarlo its award back for Osè.
Board members informed Lora DiCarlo roughly a year ago after last year’s CES that its innovative vibrator, used largely by women, should not have hauled in an award because it didn’t fall into any of the categories that tech companies could enter their developments into.
The founder of Lora DiCarlo, Lora Haddock, quickly spoke out against the CTA, claiming that there’s a social and cultural double-standard as far as sex tech is concerned. For example, Lora Haddock said, society hasn’t spoken out against the fact that men have plenty of choices of full-fledged, humanoid sex robots to choose from, as well as tons of virtual reality pornography and “unrealistically proportioned [women],” whereas women didn’t have nearly as many choices of tech-savvy sex toys that were accepted by society.
In response to the controversy, the CTA worked with The Female Quotient this year, a consultancy group that is dedicated entirely to women in their respective workplaces. Further, the CTA came out with a product programming track under the name of “Innovation for All” that strives to present equal opportunities at the trade show for products oriented toward both men and women.