FanDuel - WFBC

May 29, 2007

'Hubba Hubba and Other Grunting Sounds': That's how 18 year old high school pole vaulter Allison Stokke was introduced to the world a couple of weeks ago. Hours later, she had already achieved sex-symbol status, in classic Internet meme fashion. Will she ever get a normal life back? Will the Washington Post front page help? Is there any hope of avoiding this kind of situation for an attractive female athlete?

posted by qbert72 to culture at 11:52 AM - 98 comments

It always annoys me when female athletes are praised because of their good looks. They should be praised for their talent and sporting ability. This is, sadly, nothing new. The internet hasn't created it, merely made it easier to share photos. I didn't check out Ufford's blog, but it sounds a lot more demeaning that funny, but you know, free speech and all that. That being said Stokke should probably try to ignore it. You can't stop people thinking anything they want, even if it is about you.

posted by Fence at 12:13 PM on May 29

If nobody is complaining, it probably wasn't funny. As noted by the riots outside performances of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." This mindset is way too permissive of the behavior of asses, and is horribly pervasive, especially on the 'net.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:29 PM on May 29

Is there any hope of avoiding this kind of situation for an attractive female athlete? Pretty much no. Picture the stereotypical construction workers catcalling at passing women. Now replace those construction workers with hormone addled teens with anonymity.

posted by juv3nal at 01:04 PM on May 29

Here's what's left of the original WithLeather post that stoked her Internet fame, along with an unofficial photo collection that probably contains the image in question. Not to excuse all of the lechery, but part of the appeal of some sports is the fact that attractive, athletic people in form fitting attire participate in them. Track and field in the U.S. could certainly use more star power.

posted by rcade at 01:20 PM on May 29

So, the question now is: Does Stokke sit this one out, or does she go the way of the attention-capitalizing athletes? I don't blame her if she goes the latter -- although she has seen the ugly underbelly first, the potential financial and career rewards must be tempting. I'll be impressed if she can maintain some tastefulness. (I won't even speculate on the avenues open to her.) However, I will be most surprised if she goes the former. This is no comment on Stokke. I just think, sadly, the media attention manipulation machine is so finely-tuned in the US, it is irresistible. Whatever the individual's intentions, the monster tends to suck people in, chew them up and spit them out. All the best to Stokke and her family. And now, for some pole vaulting jokes ...

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:31 PM on May 29

an unofficial photo collection that probably contains the image in question Yes, the picture on top of that page is the one that started it all. And in my opinion, it is quite a stunning photograph. This whole thing happened for a reason. Track and field in the U.S. could certainly use more star power. Maybe so, but she's still far from being on the national team, and she's already got an online mob stalking her. Not necessarily the best incentive to carry on with her sport. She's paying the price of fame without any of its benefits, at a very young age. This is all very wrong, yet I don't see how it can be avoided. The Washington Post article wants to put the blame squarely on WithLeather, but if you believe the post you linked to, the picture was already circulating and was "building a frightening head of steam". Another similar site could just as well have been the tipping point.

posted by qbert72 at 01:50 PM on May 29

I feel for the girl and her family. That said, one positive thing she might consider doing right now is to use the attention that's being placed on her as a way to advocate for her sport. I watched some of the YouTube pole vaulting videos (she is a remarkable young athlete) and was a little surprised to see so few people in the stands. Anyhow, with the famous young women in the public eye who have been burning out and behaving badly lately, she also has a chance to be a positive role model. The anti-Lohann, as it were. Good luck, Ms. Stokke. Here's hoping that your talent outshines your appearance. There's every reason to believe it will.

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:05 PM on May 29

Apart from unwanted fame and recognition, what is the problem here? Is she being harassed or stalked? Or is it the threat of harassment and being stalked that is the story's hook? Privacy was a right, but not anonymity.

posted by garfield at 02:05 PM on May 29

If and when you land on Fark as a thread, there's probably a problem. My issue here is with someone who's still in high school, for Chrissakes, being the centre of such overtly sexual attention from the rest of the world. She didn't ask for this, she doesn't apparently want it, and yet there are probably 100 people in the world right now masturbating to her photo. How do you stop that in the age of the Intarweb?

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:51 PM on May 29

She is attractive, and as someone else here said, she could parlay that into more exposure for her sport. If you're going to be harassed, may as well make some good come from it, and if she loves her sport... Of course, with the exposure and fame, the others in her sport will probably be pissed at her... Lose lose situation really. I feel sorry for this girl. She's going through all this, purely because she's hot. (And the fact that the Fark crowd can snicker at the fact she plays with "poles".) Ah well, perhaps she can score a sponsorship deal from this, make money off it. At least some good will come of it for her.

posted by Drood at 03:47 PM on May 29

My issue here is with someone who's still in high school, for Chrissakes, being the centre of such overtly sexual attention from the rest of the world. She didn't ask for this, she doesn't apparently want it, and yet there are probably 100 people in the world right now masturbating to her photo. How do you stop that in the age of the Intarweb? That's the rub. (Ha!) You don't stop it in the age of the internet. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have... The real interesting thing to me about the response of her and her family (and maybe it's because her dad's a lawyer and realizes there's not much that can be done in this area) is that they haven't threatened to sue anybody. Kudos to the photographer for, in at least one instance, invoking his rights in his photo to get the photo taken down (from the With Leather website). Unfortunately for Ms. Stokke and her family, though, I doubt there's much they can do in a formal legal sense in this circumstance. I love the self-help she employed in the prior instance in sending an email to someone who had posted her photo online. Too often, these things end up resulting in aggrieved parties making baseless legal threats that just cause an escalation and result in so much more publicity and damage than if it was ignored altogether or if a less threatening approach was taken. (Of course, one might question her family's agreement to cooperate with the Washington Post, which surely resulted in that many more people who would have never seen those photos (like me) checking them out as a result of reading the story.) As with many things in the internet sphere, there's a good argument that this type of thing should be handled by building up norms of civil behavior and online ethics and codes of conduct on blogs, websites like Fark and SportsFilter, etc. that discourage and/or prohibit this type of invasion of one's privacy.

posted by holden at 03:55 PM on May 29

garfield: Apart from unwanted fame and recognition, what is the problem here? Is she being harassed or stalked? Or is it the threat of harassment and being stalked that is the story's hook? Privacy was a right, but not anonymity. It has been said that almost every attractive female athlete past a certain level ends up with stalkers. I'm not sure where I saw this (possibly spofi?), but there's also this and this and this, and no doubt many many more. That's "what's the problem here". Drood: Ah well, perhaps she can score a sponsorship deal from this, make money off it. At least some good will come of it for her. Oh, yeah. Like this, maybe? Stalking is not harmless, flattering attention that you can parley into some bucks and prestige. It's dangerous and harmful. Call it what it is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:59 PM on May 29

The article doesn't contain a single allegation of stalking. Cyberstalking, maybe, but it sounds like she's mainly getting contacted by the media.

posted by rcade at 04:36 PM on May 29

lil_brown_bat, this is a two way street, so picking out female athletes as victims rather than athlete victims is somewhat disingenuous. I don't have any links, but there are countless instances of male athletes being preyed upon for the financial resources they can provide. This type of behaviour usually doesn't make the papers until the divorce settlement fifteen years later. And I think it would be easy to argue the impact of one moment versus a life time of interaction. And though stalking can lead to violent and non-violent harm, stalking is not an easily definable offense. Believe me, I've had to do my fair share of "walking home" because of a perceived stalker situation, sometimes with merit and sometimes without. But none of that has happened in this case. She is a minor celebrity, who according to some posters in this thread won't be cashing in running with a big pole in her hands. So, I understand the concern for her future well being, but presently not so much.

posted by garfield at 04:41 PM on May 29

For anyone who feels this could not easily escalate into something very disturbing please google the name "Alison Parrott." That should put an end to any discussion that this Alison and her parents are excessive in their concern and overreacting. Any members of Spofi who are Canadian (specifically Ontario, Toronto area), and over the age of about 33 probably remember her name. Forgive my having to ask you to google, but I don't know how to add a link into a comment.

posted by tommytrump at 04:51 PM on May 29

I understand that the family may have a legitimate concern, but I don't see how announcing it in the Washington Post helps. Like a few others, I never even heard of her until today. The WP even posted a picture. I looked it and said to myself, "She's cute but, I don't see what all of the hubbub is about. She's no Ashley Judd." So, just out of curiousity I did a google image search, which is what she supposedly doesn't like.

posted by MrFrisby at 05:44 PM on May 29

I can't blame the family for freaking out. Temporary overnight microstardom is very weird. On the day I was famous for popesquatting (never get tired of saying that), so many irate papists called another Roger Cadenhead in Florida that his wife called the sheriffs out to their house. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if I was photographed in a form-fitting outfit.

posted by rcade at 05:55 PM on May 29

I know that this will probably sound flippant and crass to some people, but this situation is what it is. There is probably nothing that you or I or anyone can do to "undo" this situation for the young lady. That having been said, my feeling that the next logical course of action for her would be to make the best of it. Either that or retreat as far back into anonymity that you possibly can so that all of the internet attention dies down. I think that comparing this particular situation to past events is a bit pre-mature, but maybe I'm naive. Maybe she SHOULD hire a publicist and see if there can't possibly be a way to turn this into her advantage.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:55 PM on May 29

I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume that a stalker would come from the multitude of internet fanboys. It's more likely that a stalker would come from the campus at the university/college she attends, the neighbourhood where she lives or the coffee-house/restaurant that she frequents on a regular basis. Will she ever get a normal life back? Of course. She's not as famous as everyone likes to believe, and eventually the fan boys will move on and find someone else to fawn over, just like every other minor celebrity. 99.99999% of the guys that are looking at her photo would have no way of contacting her in person, and will probably forget her name in about 4 weeks. For anyone who feels this could not easily escalate into something very disturbing please google the name "Alison Parrott." Again, that really isn't the matter at hand. The fact that the 11 year-old girl was an "athlete" really had nothing to do with the crime. She wasn't famous, she wasn't publicized and it was simply a hook the pervert used to lure her away from her parents. Any members of Spofi who are Canadian (specifically Ontario, Toronto area), and over the age of about 33 probably remember her name. As a Toronto native for 20 of my 36 years, I wouldn't have been able to tell you her name without prompting, but when I saw the name in print I was able to recall the case. The Washington Post article wants to put the blame squarely on WithLeather, but if you believe the post you linked to, the picture was already circulating and was "building a frightening head of steam". Another similar site could just as well have been the tipping point. The first time I saw the photo was about six months ago, and I'll admit that when I saw it on my friend's site (thank you, Fipi Lele), I joined in with the rest of the crowd and made a joking comment about it. Then I found out she was only 17 in that photo, and proceeded to feel REALLY creepy.

posted by grum@work at 05:57 PM on May 29

There is probably nothing that you or I or anyone can do to "undo" this situation for the young lady. Well, we could stop making the problem worse, and quit talking about it. Sh. I said sh. Knock, knock. (Who's there?) Sh. Let me tell you a story about a man named Sh. I have a whole bag of sh with your name on it.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 06:02 PM on May 29

Well, we could stop making the problem worse, and quit talking about it. But that kind defeats the purpose of this site, doesn't it? Taking the moral high road for a moment (stop rolling your eyes), can we not at least hope to have some kind of grown up discussion as far as this young lady's situation is concerned. I don't personally feel that I have contributed to any unsavory or degrading conversation about her. And not talking about it won't undo anything.

posted by THX-1138 at 06:21 PM on May 29

I didn't know anything about this young lady either till this post. I'm sorry it happened, but as thx-1138 said, there's not much we can do to undo the situation. I've got a fix though. It's called CCW. It's called the TASER. Both are great deterrents for any would be assailant. Of course I know, she's only 18, and can't receive her CCW till 21, but the TASER would do the trick. It would be $1000 well spent for protection. Good Luck to her in all her endeavors!

posted by bavarianmotorworker at 08:31 PM on May 29

I think some people are jumping the gun here. The whole thing reminds me of the Ellen Feiss fiasco. A little different, but much the same. She was 14 and had no idea she'd be getting so much attention from so many guys, many much older. She handled it well and it passed. It's a stunning picture, much more so than the others of her. Without the first one I doubt the story would have gotten this far. I hate how every discussion about a female athlete usually starts or ends with her being hot, and I don't know if there's an answer to it. I look at Danica Patrick and I see a race car driver. I never thought she was ugly, or cute, or anything. She was just a female race car driver. Then I see this and it seems to me she's giving me the O.K. Yes, it's a totally different situation, but the whole attitude filters down. Then I found out she was only 17 in that photo, and proceeded to feel REALLY creepy. That attitude for me is almost as bizarre as the people who dress up 6 year old beauty pageant contestants to look like they're 19. So she's 17 and could turn 18 tomorrow. She could pose for playboy tomorrow, make a living as a stripper, go to war. But today, today she's 17 and I feel creepy thinking she's hot. Makes no sense.

posted by justgary at 12:36 AM on May 30

A lot of the comments posted on some of the other sites linked to are just the answer to a simple yes or no question most guys ask to themselves when meeting a woman for the first time. Unfortunately this internet fad immortilizes these responses where almost anyone (and obviously the women these comments are directed towards) can read them. One's respones to the aforementioned question is best left in your noggin or at the pub with your friends.

posted by HATER 187 at 02:16 AM on May 30

I suppose you could argue that until men stop judging women by how they look then this issue will continue. The difference between male and female athletes in cases like this is that somehow it seems okay to judge any female athlete on how she looks FIRST and then on how she performs. But it isn't just in the world of sport; look at comments about female politicians and compare them with comments about men. But it aint going to happen, so I agree with HATER 187:

One's respones to the aforementioned question is best left in your noggin or at the pub with your friends.

posted by Fence at 03:32 AM on May 30

Interesting that the "Unofficial fan page" cited in the Post article is now defunct.

posted by Amateur at 05:43 AM on May 30

Having an attorney dad with 40 years of experience probably gives web publishers a stronger appreciation of her right to privacy.

posted by rcade at 05:57 AM on May 30

For anyone who feels this could not easily escalate into something very disturbing please google the name "Alison Parrott." What does Alison Parrot have to do with this? You're talking about an 11-year old girl that was tricked into going to the University of Toronto's Varsity Stadium for 'publicity photos' and was murdered. It's a shame that happened to her and her family but her mother is the one who gave her permission to go see this 'photographer' alone....at 11 years old. Until this girl is actually being harrassed or stalked, then there's really nothing to talk about here except that she's recieving unwanted attention via the internet. If this story was not posted on here, most of us would probably have not known who in the hell this Allison Stokke girl is.

posted by BornIcon at 07:58 AM on May 30

Until this girl is actually being harrassed or stalked, then there's really nothing to talk about here ...and at the point where this girl is actually being harassed or stalked, it may be too late. At what point do you start to consider risk? At the point where it's standing right in front of you with a nine-inch knife? Just because it's happened to others doesn't mean it will happen to Stokke; OTOH, it strikes me as prudent for her and her parents to consider the pattern in other cases, and be wary.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:33 AM on May 30

...and at the point where this girl is actually being harassed or stalked, it may be too late If a person calls the police and say that they're being harassed and/or stalked, until there is actual evidence to prove that such a crime is being committed, only then will it be considered to be a crime.

posted by BornIcon at 08:57 AM on May 30

But today, today she's 17 and I feel creepy thinking she's hot. Makes no sense. Well, it should be mentioned that I was more than double her age when I saw the photo. That's also adding to the creepy factor (for me, at least).

posted by grum@work at 09:19 AM on May 30

I actually think this is something of a mountain of a mole hill. Much like most things these days - there is a tremendous amount of attention to begin with, and then most quickly lose interest. She will most likely not be 'famous' soon. As for the issue with attractive people and sports - Sex and sports are totally and irrevocably linked. I don't see a problem with it. Seems pretty natural to me. Athletic people have nice bodies. There are elements of sex in a lot of sports. How can we expect some aspects of our lives to be sexless? Are we not sexual beings? Could be worse, too - she could be an attractive man in sports - in which case, you're Brady Quinn and constantly called a fag online. People are mean when they gets the anonymity. It is a tale... full of sound and fury; Signifying nothing. (Except that maybe the interweebs are graceless.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:33 AM on May 30

If a person calls the police and say that they're being harassed and/or stalked, until there is actual evidence to prove that such a crime is being committed, only then will it be considered to be a crime. And your point is what, exactlY? That someone's inappopriate level of interest is not worthy of concern and should be indulged until it rises to the level of a blatant threat? Where exactly did I use the word "police", anyway? Sorry, BornIcon, but your reaction strikes me as incredibly naive and not conducive to personal safety. The reality of stalking is such that if you consider the police as your only tool, and do nothing until you've got incontrovertible evidence that would get the police involved, you probably waited too long to act. Public figures are going to get their pictures pinned up on people's walls, but when the level of interest starts to cross the line into creepy, it's time to start paying careful attention and taking steps, long before there's any "actual evidence" of a "crime".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:42 AM on May 30

Could be worse, too - she could be an attractive man in sports - in which case, you're Brady Quinn and constantly called a fag online. People are mean when they gets the anonymity. Sorry kid but this is so not going to end well.

posted by BornIcon at 10:05 AM on May 30

I agree with lbb. It seems, especially with women, you can't afford to not be on the offensive. You can't wait until something happens to start paying attention to your safety.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:12 AM on May 30

Sex and sports may be intertwined, but sex and high school sports certainly shouldn't be. This unwanted attention will surely pass, but it is disturbing that a high school student would be subject to it for merely participating in high school athletics. This is not a case where a person has put themselves in a commercial or spotlight. I think it is a terrible situation for her, and I hope that the law catches up with the internet at some point.

posted by bperk at 10:12 AM on May 30

And your point is what, exactlY? Ok, firstly LBB...calm down, it's not the end of the world because I don't agree with you. Did I say that you brought up the police? No I did not so again, calm down. So now I'm not only 'naive' but I'm 'incredibly naive?' Good one there, chief. The fact is, unless there is actual proof that a person is being stalked and/of harrassed the police cannot do anything about it. You brought up the 'what if' factor with your whole 'nine-inch knife' spiel and I retorted. You can't wait until something happens to start paying attention to your safety. And I agree. No one, not male or female should have to go thru something like this but until a person can actually prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone is being harrassed or stalked, there is nothing that the law can do about it. It doesn't seem to be the case here except her privacy was invaded by people from the internet.

posted by BornIcon at 10:22 AM on May 30

BornIcon: If this story was not posted on here, most of us would probably have not known who in the hell this Allison Stokke girl is. This story was on the front page of yesterday's Washington Post. I consider it's now broken in the "mainstream", whatever that is. As MrFrisby noted, there is something contradictory about making the Post's front page to ask to be left alone. For me, it means Stokke and her family are OK with random people discussing her story, which is what we're doing here. I'm questioning the ethics of the Post in this case: the story wasn't really current any longer, and their piece is certainly not going to help Stokke recede from the spotlight. One could argue that this paragraph-long description of the picture that started it all

At 5 feet 7, Stokke has smooth, olive-colored skin and toned muscles. In the photo, her vaulting pole rests on her right shoulder. Her right hand appears to be adjusting the elastic band on her ponytail. Her spandex uniform -- black shorts and a white tank top that are standard for a track athlete -- reveals a bare midriff.
is not much better at hiding the writer's sexual attraction than WithLeather's "scandalous" post. "smooth, olive-colored skin and toned muscles"? Give me a break! Weedy: Except that maybe the interweebs are graceless. Yes. And very fast at it, too. justgary: But today, today she's 17 and I feel creepy thinking she's hot. Makes no sense. Agreed. In this case I don't feel creepy, I just feel old. rcade: I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if I was photographed in a form-fitting outfit. Gold!

posted by qbert72 at 10:30 AM on May 30

This unwanted attention will surely pass, but it is disturbing that a high school student would be subject to it for merely participating in high school athletics. This is not a case where a person has put themselves in a commercial or spotlight. If the local quarterback throws 5 touchdowns in a game, he's going to be in the news. An athlete performs on a stage. Being an athlete is most certainly putting yourself in the spotlight. She may be in it for the wrong reason, but that's not much difference than someone 14 advertising for a computer company and then having sites dedicated to her looks. And now she has more attention with the washington post story than she ever would have had otherwise. The whole thing is a little strange, and on preview, much of what qbert72 said.

posted by justgary at 10:32 AM on May 30

BornIcon: Ok, firstly LBB...calm down, it's not the end of the world because I don't agree with you. Ok, firstly Bornicon...stop saying "calm down" and trying to suggest that I'm being irrational, excitable, hysterical, and not calm. That's a cheap, sleazy (and frequently sexist) debating tactic, so drop it. Did I say that you brought up the police? No I did not You brought up the police, almost as a non sequitur, in response to the following: ...and at the point where this girl is actually being harassed or stalked, it may be too late. At what point do you start to consider risk? At the point where it's standing right in front of you with a nine-inch knife? Just because it's happened to others doesn't mean it will happen to Stokke; OTOH, it strikes me as prudent for her and her parents to consider the pattern in other cases, and be wary. Your response was, basically, that the police can't be involved until there's "proof" of a "crime". Why were you talking about the police? so again, calm down. So again, stop insulting me by pretending that I'm not calm. So now I'm not only 'naive' but I'm 'incredibly naive?' Good one there, chief. I'm sorry you feel insulted, but it is an incredibly naive reaction to respond to concerns about safety, and particularly stalking, with the word "police", and nothing else. The fact is, unless there is actual proof that a person is being stalked and/of harrassed the police cannot do anything about it. You brought up the 'what if' factor with your whole 'nine-inch knife' spiel and I retorted. You retorted with what it takes to get the police involved. Your "fact" (which I don't think is a fact, exactly as you've stated it, but let's let that go for now) is something of a non sequitur, and sits smack dab in the blind spot that my comments were attempting to address: if you fail to act when things start getting creepy, if you listen to people who are telling you that you're making a "mountain of a molehill" rather than to your own gut and common sense, by the time you've got your so-called "proof" and can call the police (the one and only tool, we all know, for dealing with stalking), it may well be too late. And I agree. No one, not male or female should have to go thru something like this but until a person can actually prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone is being harrassed or stalked, there is nothing that the law can do about it. Perhaps we do need to look closer at this "fact". That phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt" is one that is associated with a criminal conviction. There is, at least in my state, a crime of stalking or harassment, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. However, to believe that the police can only act after receiving evidence that would result in a criminal conviction for stalking is equivalent to saying that the police have no authority to take steps to prevent a violent crime. This is, of course, pure nonsense. Specific to stalking and harassment, there is the remedy of a restraining order, for which the burden of "proof" is quite different, and the phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt" has no place here. It doesn't seem to be the case here except her privacy was invaded by people from the internet. Question: what do you think is appropriate for her to do at this point?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:58 AM on May 30

Question: what do you think is appropriate for her to do at this point? Buy a gun and wait in the living room with the front door unlocked, ready to shoot the first asshole that walks through the door... Oh wait, that's what I would do. She can't do anything about it. She's 18, she's pretty, and people want to look at her pictures. It's no different than seeing Paris Hilton and all those other Hollywood types on every damn magazine at the grocery store. How come no one is worried about her safety? I don't see her cruising with body guards or security and she is 1000X more famous than this track girl and everyone has seen her NAKED performing sexual acts in front of a camera (with pretty good skills I might add). I really don't see the big freakin deal about this story. It's not the first time someone has found a girl to be pretty and passed her picture on to someone. It just so happens that this one made it to the internet. It's the world we live in.

posted by yay-yo at 11:14 AM on May 30

I'm questioning the ethics of the Post in this case: the story wasn't really current any longer, and their piece is certainly not going to help Stokke recede from the spotlight I used to work at a newspaper. The issue you're describing -- if we cover this interesting person who gave us a great interview, she may face undesired consequences -- never comes up in a newsroom. Unless somebody's kidding.

posted by rcade at 11:28 AM on May 30

Was this even a great interview? To me it looks like a convenient way to use sex to sell copies, while taking the moral high road about Internet sites doing the exact same thing. The NY correspondent from a Montreal daily blogged the story and asked more or less my question: is the Post article helping the situation at all? Then he cracked: "Me, I'm just reporting on the news".

posted by qbert72 at 11:39 AM on May 30

To me it looks like a convenient way to use sex to sell copies, while taking the moral high road about Internet sites doing the exact same thing. Do they not have an expression like "win-win" in French?

posted by yerfatma at 11:56 AM on May 30

I really don't see the big freakin deal about this story. It's not the first time someone has found a girl to be pretty and passed her picture on to someone. It just so happens that this one made it to the internet. It's the world we live in.
Well that is part of the point. To some it isn't a big deal, to others it is the turning this person into nothing more than a sex object. I'm not saying that anything untoward will happen to Stokke, but is that really the point? Surely the point is that she has some right to privacy? It isn't as though she is an international super star. She is a school girl. And as someone not in the public arena deserves her privacy. To say that there is nothing wrong with hundreds of people pouring over her picture in a sexual manner is wrong. I'd get all argumentative about it, but really, this isn't just a sporting issue so I'm not sure if the discussion belongs here. I'm also well aware that the fact that it is wrong isn't going to change anything. This is the world we live in, but I don't have to be happy about it.

posted by Fence at 12:01 PM on May 30

Sex and sports may be intertwined, but sex and high school sports certainly shouldn't be. This unwanted attention will surely pass, but it is disturbing that a high school student would be subject to it for merely participating in high school athletics. If they don't want sex and high school sports to be intertwined then why dress in things that can be described like this: At 5 feet 7, Stokke has smooth, olive-colored skin and toned muscles. In the photo, her vaulting pole rests on her right shoulder. Her right hand appears to be adjusting the elastic band on her ponytail. Her spandex uniform -- black shorts and a white tank top that are standard for a track athlete -- reveals a bare midriff. You can't tell me that there aren't shirts that wouldn't cover her midriff. Also, why do her shorts and top have to be spandex? She is in high school, if you don't want the negative attention brought upon your daughter like that, then don't let her wear those clothes! It's no different than seeing Paris Hilton and all those other Hollywood types on every damn magazine at the grocery store. How come no one is worried about her safety? I don't see her cruising with body guards or security and she is 1000X more famous than this track girl and everyone has seen her NAKED performing sexual acts in front of a camera (with pretty good skills I might add). Completely different, Paris Hilton purposely poses for those photos, knowing they are going to be plastered all over the internet and magazines.

posted by jojomfd1 at 03:07 PM on May 30

You can't tell me that there aren't shirts that wouldn't cover her midriff. Also, why do her shorts and top have to be spandex? She is in high school, if you don't want the negative attention brought upon your daughter like that, then don't let her wear those clothes! I wanted to say the same thing, but was worried it would come out as "she's asking for the attention". I don't believe that. That's pretty much standard clothing on high school athletes, which amazes me. I'm not THAT far out of high school, and I can't believe the changes in high school uniforms, from athletic to cheer. I also don't understand the need to put words like "cheer" or the schools name on the back of cheer shorts of young girls. I guess I'm just getting old.

posted by justgary at 03:14 PM on May 30

She is in high school, if you don't want the negative attention brought upon your daughter like that, then don't let her wear those clothes! She should be dressing for her athletic competition in clothes that are appropriate for what she is doing. Given what I have seen of pole vaulting, her clothes seem appropriate to me. Furthermore, even if she could cover her midriff, maybe she doesn't want to. She is just going to a track meet and there aren't that many people there anyway. I guarantee she wasn't the only one with an exposed midriff. Surely, you don't expect her to anticipate that someone might snap a picture of her that would get spread over the internet.

posted by bperk at 03:26 PM on May 30

I wanted to say the same thing, but was worried it would come out as "she's asking for the attention". Also not what I meant either.

posted by jojomfd1 at 03:34 PM on May 30

Given what I have seen of pole vaulting, her clothes seem appropriate to me. Furthermore, even if she could cover her midriff, maybe she doesn't want to. No one's blaming her. No one's not saying she's not wearing what everyone else is wearing. But don't dress high school athletes like that and then be shocked with the attention.

posted by justgary at 03:42 PM on May 30

jojo and gary, I so agree with you about the clothing and didn't want it to come out wrong. I don't think I would be comfortable with my daughter in those outfits, but then I still get protective when I see her in a bathing suit, so I guess that's my problem. But still, the outfit did seem a little more revealing than necessary.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:43 PM on May 30

But don't dress high school athletes like that and then be shocked with the attention. It's not just attention, it's the ridiculous amount of attention. The fact that a picture of her at a high school track meet could be spread so wide and so fast to perverts across the world is the problem. I'm quite sure she wouldn't be upset if the attention was a couple of high school boys who were at the track meet checking her out.

posted by bperk at 03:49 PM on May 30

Furthermore, the whole "what do you expect" attitude is a ridiculous double standard. I expect grown men to not ogle high school girls, even on the internet. I expect people to ogle people who choose to put themselves out there, not some kid competing at a high school track meet. Boys at high school swim meets don't have to worry about their attire making them sex objects at every turn. It is ludicrous that she has to worry about that stuff. You can choose who you wish to exploit for entertainment and ogling purposes. Avoid high school.

posted by bperk at 04:07 PM on May 30

The fact that a picture of her at a high school track meet could be spread so wide and so fast to perverts across the world is the problem. I'm quite sure she wouldn't be upset if the attention was a couple of high school boys who were at the track meet checking her out. Agreed. When I was in high school this wasn't a problem. Times have certainly changed.

posted by justgary at 04:08 PM on May 30

is a ridiculous double standard And one that won't go away anytime soon. I applaud your high standards, while also realizing you're speaking of a world that does not exist.

posted by justgary at 04:14 PM on May 30

By the way, that picture could easily be of a college athlete. I'm sure many doing the 'ogling' had no idea she was in high school (I'm sure at the point of realization they lost all attraction to the young lady).

posted by justgary at 04:18 PM on May 30

And one that won't go away anytime soon. I applaud your high standards, while also realizing you're speaking of a world that does not exist. Yes, I know, but at least we can focus our attention on the perverts instead of evaluating the appropriateness of girls wearing spandex to a high school track meet.

posted by bperk at 04:32 PM on May 30

She should be dressing for her athletic competition in clothes that are appropriate for what she is doing. Given what I have seen of pole vaulting, her clothes seem appropriate to me. Totally. And those appropriate clothes are damn sexy.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:40 PM on May 30

Yes, I know, but at least we can focus our attention on the perverts instead of evaluating the appropriateness of girls wearing spandex to a high school track meet. All I'm saying is that when I was in high school (old man rant) athletes weren't dressed in that way. If she had on normal shorts and a tank top she probably isn't all over the internet. You can focus as much time as you want on the perverts but it's a useless battle. Maybe I don't have the answer either, but there's nothing wrong with discussing the appropriateness of high school athlete's uniforms, especially if we're against them being seen in any sexual light.

posted by justgary at 04:47 PM on May 30

Look, all I'm saying is back in the day, the girls in track dressed different, ya know? I'm certain that if a girl showed up at one of the meets like that the boys AND probably some of the dads would (or might have) had an inappropriate, and maybe involuntary, visceral response. Again, I don't want this comment to be construed as "she had it coming", but c'mon. There's nothing else that you can wear to pole vault in? On preview- what Gary said

posted by THX-1138 at 04:52 PM on May 30

Dude, did I go to school with you?

posted by THX-1138 at 04:53 PM on May 30

bperk: Yes, I know, but at least we can focus our attention on the perverts instead of evaluating the appropriateness of girls wearing spandex to a high school track meet. What you said. She's not the one with the problem that needs fixin'. Look in the mirror, people. And further down, justgary: All I'm saying is that when I was in high school (old man rant) athletes weren't dressed in that way. If she had on normal shorts and a tank top she probably isn't all over the internet. Yeah, maybe we should make football teams wear the leather helmets with the earflaps, because they're what football players wore back when some old guy was in high school. Come on. Your so-called "normal shorts and a tank top" wouldn't be "normal" any more. That's the point. You can focus as much time as you want on the perverts but it's a useless battle. Maybe I don't have the answer either, but there's nothing wrong with discussing the appropriateness of high school athlete's uniforms, especially if we're against them being seen in any sexual light. So how about the boys' swim team in the speedos? Let's discuss that, shall we? Those speedos really aren't appropriate, so -- in the interest of not fighting the "useless battle" of putting the responsibility for horn-dogging firmly where it belongs -- let's force them to wear baggy, shapeless, neck-to-toes bathing costumes when they compete. That suit you?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:58 PM on May 30

Oh please, lbb, your over the top reaction and agressive tone is exactly why I didn't want to even get into this conversation. let's force them to wear baggy, shapeless, neck-to-toes bathing costumes when they compete. That suit you? If that's what you took from my reponse then we'll agree to disagree. I'm not taking the bait.

posted by justgary at 05:08 PM on May 30

lbb: Yes, that would be fine with me. Is she a better pole vaulter with the clothing she is pictured in rather than the shorts and tank tops that they wore back in the early 80's when, say, I was in school?

posted by THX-1138 at 05:10 PM on May 30

Is she a better pole vaulter with the clothing she is pictured in rather than the shorts and tank tops that they wore back in the early 80's when, say, I was in school? I believe that both male and female track athletes began wearing spandex for performance reasons. If you watch any track & field, you would see that her outfit is what track athletes wear (Stacy Dragila). I am all for putting checks on risque clothing for young people when it is appropriate. I just don't think that female high school track athletes should be held to a different standard than their male counterparts because some men might be unable control their baser instincts.

posted by bperk at 05:26 PM on May 30

So that's why I said I don't have a problem with getting the boys out of the speedos. I do, however, get annoyed at the fault being layed at the feet of men all the time. As far as their performance being enhanced, I'm not buying it. The Greeks competed naked in the original Olympics, but nobody wants that. Like the cyclists who said they shave their legs because they feel it looks good, I think that may be the case with the popularity of spandex.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:47 PM on May 30

I do, however, get annoyed at the fault being layed at the feet of men all the time. What do you mean?

posted by bperk at 05:54 PM on May 30

justgary: Oh please, lbb, your over the top reaction and agressive tone is exactly why I didn't want to even get into this conversation. I'm sorry; next time I'll put in the smileys just for you. Smiley football helmet smiley smiley there old timer okay? let's force them to wear baggy, shapeless, neck-to-toes bathing costumes when they compete. That suit you? If that's what you took from my reponse then we'll agree to disagree. I'm not taking the bait. It wasn't bait, it was a question. I understand what you're saying about cause and effect; I disagree with you about the remedy. You keep saying you can't do anything about those perverts out there, but what you can do, at a bare minimum, is admit that the girls on the high school track team aren't the ones doing something wrong when they wear the standard uniform for their sport. The fault lies elsewhere. Acknowledging that is a crucial first step.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:01 PM on May 30

Is she a better pole vaulter with the clothing she is pictured in rather than the shorts and tank tops that they wore back in the early 80's when, say, I was in school? I believe that both male and female track athletes began wearing spandex for performance reasons. If you watch any track & field, you would see that her outfit is what track athletes wear (Stacy Dragila). I am all for putting checks on risque clothing for young people when it is appropriate. I just don't think that female high school track athletes should be held to a different standard than their male counterparts because some men might be unable control their baser instincts. Soon, someone will be saying Allison is ''asking'' for the attention because of the clothes she's wearing. She is wearing what pole vaulters wear when pole vaulting. On preview, what l_b_b said.

posted by tommytrump at 06:07 PM on May 30

Yeah, I think this is going nowhere. I think I would run out of italics for the quotes that indicate men are perverts on this thread. I'm not trying to offend anyone here, and I'm not saying that this situation is her fault. And with that..........

posted by THX-1138 at 06:12 PM on May 30

I'm sorry; next time I'll put in the smileys just for you. I don't need smileys. It would nice if you didn't take my views and stretch them to ridiculous lengths. I don't think mocking sarcasm facilitates discussion. You keep saying you can't do anything about those perverts out there, but what you can do, at a bare minimum, is admit that the girls on the high school track team aren't the ones doing something wrong when they wear the standard uniform for their sport. These are high school athletes. The school can tell the students / athletes what is appropriate to wear, and do. If they told their athletes mini-spandex shorts could not be worn, they wouldn't, and it would no longer be standard. You're looking at this as a right/wrong issue. Should a girl competing in high school athletics be able to do wear that uniform without being ogled? Definitely. Is it going to happen? Nope. I never said the girl was wrong. Maybe I don't have the solution. I can accept that. You said you don't agree with my remedy. You don't have a remedy. Soon, someone will be saying Allison is ''asking'' for the attention because of the clothes she's wearing. But no one here has.

posted by justgary at 07:18 PM on May 30

New development: The photographer who shot the best-known picture has reversed his original decision and now OKs Internet publication of the shots, telling With Leather that "he thought that the Stokke family's spoken desires to stay out of the spotlight were at odds with their actions (speaking to the Washington Post, appearing on FOX News today*), and he no longer finds them a sympathetic cause."

posted by rcade at 08:22 PM on May 30

Soon, someone will be saying Allison is ''asking'' for the attention because of the clothes she's wearing Fine, Tommy, I'll be that guy. Allison is just like almost every other girl in my generation, neglected for attention from her daddy and desperate to seek affirmation from men through her body. In other words, she wants guys to ogle her, and is really nothing more than a whore. I mean, c'mon, is it a coincidence that her chosen sport involves a long pole? I think not. She's practically begging to be raped by some dude who read about her on the internet, perhaps even on this very thread. On a lighter and much more serious note, I am impressed that this has turned into a flame spray over women's images and the internet, and not one about Title IX, and whether women in sport deserve coverage like this. As Weedy alluded to, sex and sports are interwoven, and the fact that people are arguing how she should deal with this instead of suggesting, as I have not here, that she could stop pole vaulting and avoid unwanted attention, is a good sign in women's sports, I think. On a second more serious note, if not one as light as the first, high-schools/colleges around the nation: are you taking notice of this, and maybe thinking about preparing athletes for something like this (especially colleges), and are you taking steps to prevent what happened in one of the links LBB pasted (the one about the dude imitating a reporter)? No, you cannot keep weirdos on the internet from jacking off over pictures of your young female athletes, and you cannot keep those pictures from appearing on the world wide web. But you can help those young women (and young men, as the case in the future may be) prepare themselves for something like this, and are services available for them if they should happen? They're YOUR athletes, so take care of them.

posted by Bonkers at 09:51 PM on May 30

One weird aspect of this story is that no one names the photographer. His (or her) shot fueled this phenomenon, but I couldn't find any mention of the person's name.

posted by rcade at 06:43 AM on May 31

The name "Victah Sailer" is watermarked on the new pictures he allegedly granted WithLeather permission to use.

posted by qbert72 at 09:28 AM on May 31

If it's Sailer, this appears to be the page where his now-notorious Stokke photo originally appeared. The photo may be the best-known sports shot he'll ever take. Instead of taking it offline, he should be building his name on it. There's nothing unseemly or inappropriate about the shot.

posted by rcade at 09:53 AM on May 31

Yeah, maybe we should make football teams wear the leather helmets with the earflaps, because they're what football players wore back when some old guy was in high school. Come on. Your so-called "normal shorts and a tank top" wouldn't be "normal" any more. That's the point. The football helmets is a bad analogy, those were changed for safety reasons. What added safety does spandex and an exposed midriff give. As far as normal shorts and tank tops go, look at rcades link and then tell me the girls wear exactly what the guys wear.

posted by jojomfd1 at 10:39 AM on May 31

The football helmets is a bad analogy, those were changed for safety reasons. What added safety does spandex and an exposed midriff give. They don't give added safety; they give added performance, as has already been explained. What does it matter why the uniform was changed as long as the change is functional? As far as normal shorts and tank tops go, look at rcades link and then tell me the girls wear exactly what the guys wear. Who said anything about girls wearing exactly what the guys wear?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:45 AM on May 31

They don't give added safety; they give added performance, as has already been explained. So it is better to jump in this, then it is to jump in this? There is not too much of a difference, except the amount of skin being shown. I have a 13 year old that runs track and I can guarantee you oe thing, she will never wear anything like some of the clothes I have seen these kids wear to run track in.

posted by jojomfd1 at 11:07 AM on May 31

So it is better to jump in this, then it is to jump in this? When you've done half as many vaults as the subject of the thread, get back to me and let me know. I have a 13 year old that runs track and I can guarantee you oe thing, she will never wear anything like some of the clothes I have seen these kids wear to run track in. You could always dress her up like this. And before you accuse me of taking this to extremes, the same argument (about what female, only female, always only female athletes should wear) is taking place in other arenas, and it really only differs in degree.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:27 AM on May 31

I have a 13 year old that runs track and I can guarantee you oe thing, she will never wear anything like some of the clothes I have seen these kids wear to run track in. You can raise your child anyway you want and set whatever rules you want. Every parent has to make a decision as to what extent they are going to let pedophiles and perverts dictate the rules for their child. The question here isn't what you would let your child wear, it is whether her clothes were appropriate. She wasn't chosen by the folks at With Leather because of her clothes, she was chosen because she was very attractive. Those guy track clothes would look good on her, too. You can be modest, but you aren't going to stop the leers and ogling.

posted by bperk at 11:38 AM on May 31

When you've done half as many vaults as the subject of the thread, get back to me and let me know. Well since you obviously have, why don't you let us know. Oh whats that....you haven't made that many jumps either? Pot or Kettle today? bperk I was not meaning that the guys clothes would look any less attractive an her. However it sure would prevent that description that sounded like something out of the penthouse forum. Instead of this: At 5 feet 7, Stokke has smooth, olive-colored skin and toned muscles. In the photo, her vaulting pole rests on her right shoulder. Her right hand appears to be adjusting the elastic band on her ponytail. Her spandex uniform -- black shorts and a white tank top that are standard for a track athlete -- reveals a bare midriff. All you would have is this: At 5 feet 7, Stokke has smooth, olive-colored skin and toned muscles. In the photo, her vaulting pole rests on her right shoulder. Her right hand appears to be adjusting the elastic band on her ponytail.

posted by jojomfd1 at 12:38 PM on May 31

Well since you obviously have, why don't you let us know. Oh whats that....you haven't made that many jumps either? Pot or Kettle today? I think you just claimed both titles, jojo -- see, you're not arguing with what I think is appropriate attire, you're arguing with what the athletes think is appropriate attire -- athletes like the aforementioned Stacy Dragila. In so doing, you are not questioning my judgment, but theirs. bperk I was not meaning that the guys clothes would look any less attractive an her. However it sure would prevent that description that sounded like something out of the penthouse forum. Unfortunately, I think that's wishful thinking. The second sentence would still be there -- a little bit different, but there's nothing to stop it from being just as salacious.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:28 PM on May 31

If we're going to make this about Alison Stokke, we should also consider that she's part of a generation self-publishing copious photographic and video documentation of their lives on social networks like MySpace and YouTube. In my day, we exchanged information about hot girls through ASCII art. At 300 baud.

posted by rcade at 01:34 PM on May 31

she's part of a generation self-publishing copious photographic and video documentation of their lives on social networks It's only part of the talk, but Charlie Stross had a terrific piece on memory and privacy and the future.

posted by yerfatma at 02:25 PM on May 31

In my day, we exchanged information about hot girls through ASCII art. At 300 baud. Over an acoustic coupler! Um, that's some amazing stuff there, rcade.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:42 PM on May 31

If you look closely enough, LBB, you can see their colons.

posted by rcade at 03:27 PM on May 31

she's part of a generation self-publishing copious photographic and video documentation of their lives on social networks Guys in my age bracket (18-34's UNITE!) have adapted to and embraced this. If you have sufficient nose candy and can grind rhythmically to the new Gwen Stefani joint you are in like Flynn. I think we should stop trying to slow down or halt the decline of western civilization, it is inevitable. I for one welcome our new Asian overlords.

posted by HATER 187 at 03:33 PM on May 31

If you look closely enough, LBB, you can see their colons. I could see their semicolons too.

posted by tommytrump at 03:53 PM on May 31

Hermaphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Indecision.

posted by yerfatma at 04:17 PM on May 31

Boy, the old @ had a different role back then, huh? You've come a long way, baby.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 04:21 PM on May 31

Ahhh.......the sweet smell of sexually degrading humor drizzled in political incorrectness. Now I can let my gut out. And rcade, you may be pleased to know that I thoroughly pissed off a female co-worker with your delightful, ASCII vixens.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:04 PM on May 31

In my day, we exchanged information about hot girls through ASCII art. At 300 baud. Ahhhhhhhhhh....the good ol' days. Thanks for the flashback, rcade. And rcade, you may be pleased to know that I thoroughly pissed off a female co-worker with your delightful, ASCII vixens. Wow, I see that ASCII art can still offend some people. Almost like it's 1994 all over again.

posted by BornIcon at 07:42 AM on June 01

In my day, we exchanged information about hot girls through ASCII art. At 300 baud. Some people have waaay too much time on their hands.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:40 AM on June 01

It's not long to make, and it downloads really fast.

posted by qbert72 at 11:28 AM on June 01

/considers zip and unzip joke, fails

posted by yerfatma at 11:50 AM on June 01

qbert, that's cheating.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:10 PM on June 01

Here I am thinking somebody actually took the time to type all of that.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:29 PM on June 01

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