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What it feels like for a girl.
May 30, 2007 6:54 PM   Subscribe

This photo has launched high school pole vaulter Allison Stokke into Internet memedom. Her reaction: "I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it's almost like that doesn't matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me."
posted by aerotive (496 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Newsflash: Some high school girls are hawt.

It amazes me what can become an internet meme.
posted by jayder at 6:57 PM on May 30, 2007


I was impressed by her vaulting. I am serious, really!
posted by lee at 6:58 PM on May 30, 2007


I'd hit that.

The track, I mean. I could stand to lose a few kilos.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:01 PM on May 30, 2007


We get it. You'd hit it.
posted by basicchannel at 7:02 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000, your triple-post inadvertently reveals the dangers of one-handed websurfing.
posted by jayder at 7:02 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Aw crap now my post doesn't make sense (delete plz :().
posted by basicchannel at 7:03 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


weak meme is weeeeeeeeeak.
posted by CKmtl at 7:04 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


What, no links to the meme? Where's the backstory here?
posted by IronLizard at 7:04 PM on May 30, 2007


There's also a good discussion underway at sportsfilter
posted by Rumple at 7:05 PM on May 30, 2007


Wow 48th "hot trend" on google trends. Here she is being interviewed
posted by delmoi at 7:06 PM on May 30, 2007


photographs steal souls
posted by brevator at 7:09 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'd let her vault my pole.

I'm sorry.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:10 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


I wonder how many other web geeks have made the same lame and stupid quip, Dr. Steve.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:13 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


More like high school pole smoker! Am I right, guys??
posted by Roman Graves at 7:15 PM on May 30, 2007


And she's in good company. I bet she and Anna Kournikova could commiserate.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:15 PM on May 30, 2007


It's hard to be an internet sex symbol.
posted by ColdChef at 7:17 PM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


The unofficial fan site linked in that story has closed up shop.

Sorry for having contributed to the unwanted attention, Allison. We think you're a phenomenal athlete and wish you the best of luck in your academic and athletic endeavors.
posted by rosemere at 7:18 PM on May 30, 2007


Oh, dear. She's just slightly older than my daughter.

Please kill me now.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:19 PM on May 30, 2007


Dave Faris, 7.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:20 PM on May 30, 2007


Give me a fucking break.
posted by puke & cry at 7:22 PM on May 30, 2007


Very pretty girl, and such a classic athletic pose.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:22 PM on May 30, 2007


Hot.
posted by kbanas at 7:22 PM on May 30, 2007


I have to say, she seems to be handling it very well, much better than I would have had something remotely similar happened to me at that age. Also, here's one sign o' the times style moment:

For the first week, Stokke tried to ignore the Internet attention. She kept it from her parents.

"Mom, dad, I've got something to tell you... I'm an internet celebrity."

Before this the weirdest coming out story I'd heard was

"Mom, dad, I've got something to tell you... I'm an Elvis impersonator."
posted by Kattullus at 7:24 PM on May 30, 2007


I'm surprised she's been recognized in public, but nobody noticed lonelygirl15 for months. I can't find the link but I remember the actress who played Bree said that she just didn't seem to get recognized when she went out.
posted by bobo123 at 7:25 PM on May 30, 2007


I feel bad for her. Well, as bad as I can feel for someone who is 18, pretty, a state athletic champion and a straight-A student.
posted by brain_drain at 7:25 PM on May 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


Please kill me now.

Don't worry, Crash. Girls her age don't even acknowledge that men our age exist.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:26 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well, it could be worse. She could have had a video of her thrashing that pole around like a cat on crack, pretending to be a jedi.
posted by lekvar at 7:26 PM on May 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


Very pretty girl, and such a classic athletic pose.

Hot.

We have, not one, but two winners!
posted by yhbc at 7:26 PM on May 30, 2007


Weird that this specific photo would be a meme. I've never seen it, so I have no idea what people used it as a launching pad for, but it's a pretty innocuous photo of a cute high school chick. I feel bad for her getting that much attention but it seems like one of those totally random internet things.
posted by mathowie at 7:26 PM on May 30, 2007


The poor, poor thing.

Why is it that people don't get that pole vaulting is the answer to all our 21st century woes? Does GW pole vault? No. Does John Howard pole vault?. No! What about Noam Chomsky?

I'm fucking angry.
posted by strawberryviagra at 7:26 PM on May 30, 2007


The note on the YouTube inteview video from the poster:

Dear Miss Stokke, a quarter million views might seem like a lot, but there are over a thousand times as many people in the US alone. So that's less than a tenth of a percent, and most of these views are probably repeats. I estimate that only about 75,000 people have actually watched this video, and there will probably be as many or more people watching you in person when you go to the Olympics.

I'm sure the video's embarrassing, but if I take it down, someone else will just repost it.

Sorry,
-gavnook

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:26 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


"I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it's almost like that doesn't matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me."

Even aerotive was only able to post a hawt photo of her, rather than what really matters to her, her pole-vaulting ability
posted by KokuRyu at 7:27 PM on May 30, 2007


Will all be forgotten in a week or two.
posted by A189Nut at 7:27 PM on May 30, 2007


Is there one from the back?
the best i found.

posted by andywolf at 7:28 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]



posted by Postroad at 7:28 PM on May 30, 2007


(I think Postroad just keeled over.)
posted by Dave Faris at 7:29 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised she's been recognized in public, but nobody noticed lonelygirl15 for months.

lonelygirl15 wasn't noticed when she wasn't famous (I think she said in an interview it was just once before the story broke that someone commented on her MySpace that they saw her in a bookstore in LA), and when she became famous, the makers of the video paid her to keep her from having to take a restaurant gig and ordered her to stay indoors or disguised as much as possible.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:29 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is Warknockers' Dilemma in action, right here. People may be commenting on your post to say that Miss Stokke is hot because:

1. They feel that Miss Stokke is hot, and that to say as much is honest praise;
2. They feel that Miss Stokke is hot, and that to say as much is naughty and awesome;
3. They don't have an opinion of Miss Stokke either way, but think that saying she's hot is clever addition to the thread;
4. They don't have an opinion of Miss Stokke either way, but think that saying she's hot is a scathing ironic indictment of the thread;
5. Seriously though, she's totally hot. Fist-crammed-in-mouth hot. ZOMG.
posted by cortex at 7:30 PM on May 30, 2007 [15 favorites]


Oh Allison, you poor thing... I feel your pain! No one understands your struggles. Come here and sit in my lap and I'll fondle hold you and you can tell me all about it.
posted by Parannoyed at 7:32 PM on May 30, 2007


Handling it well? I think horribly. It's a real shame that she took the stereotypical Scared American route (I'm an American, BTW). Among all the positive consequences of sudden fame (from merit AND good looks, BTW) her family chose to focus on negativity and danger. How small-minded.

Her family should be focusing on scholarships, securing a Nike sponsorship, and basically milking this for all it's worth while they can. THAT is the American way.
posted by redteam at 7:33 PM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'll say this. She's good looking but the beauty in that photograph is as much the serendipitous pose and lighting. There are lots of girls who would look beautiful if shot in the very same way. It was a really lucky (actually amazing) photo. I wouldn't say she's "average" but if it hadn't been for that amazing shot she never would have become so famous.

I mean really the picture is just amazing.
posted by delmoi at 7:35 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow 48th "hot trend" on google trends.

Eh. What she should really be upsetting to her is that a wild hog is beating her meme by 8 places.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:35 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Having spent a lot of time trackside as a middle distance runner, approximately 99% of female pole vaulters are mega hot. It comes with the territory. It's a scientific fact.

Also, speaking as a nerd herd member from way back, high schoolers complaining that they're too hot and too popular will spend the rest of their lives wishing they were back in high school
posted by jimmythefish at 7:36 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


...Like the rest of us.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:37 PM on May 30, 2007


After the Washington Post article came out, fan site allisonstokke.com pulled all content and put up this note:
Farewell - Sorry for having contributed to the unwanted attention, Allison. We think you're a phenomenal athlete and wish you the best of luck in your academic and athletic endeavors.
posted by rajbot at 7:37 PM on May 30, 2007


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.

Easy now, Washington Post Staff Writer, I think you're sweating.
posted by Peter H at 7:38 PM on May 30, 2007 [8 favorites]


Sorry, missed rosemere's comment above
posted by rajbot at 7:38 PM on May 30, 2007


On a slightly related subject, pole-vaulting looks like so much fun, and it slightly depresses me that it's not something I can just pick up for fun on a Saturday at the gym. Particularly now that I see that I could use it as a platform on which to extend my internet fame.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:39 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is she Olympic-qualifying class? I don't know the first thing about women's pole vault.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:39 PM on May 30, 2007


5.
posted by pwedza at 7:39 PM on May 30, 2007


Handling it well? I think horribly.

redteam, I couldn't be more in agreement. Not to say that there aren't going to be some downsides to this, but there are plenty of upsides if they just look hard enough. That Nike sponsorship is a good idea. I know things are different for women, but if my worst problem was the world thinking that I'm hot, I think I could live with that.

She's good looking but the beauty in that photograph is as much the serendipitous pose and lighting.

Disagreeing. Take a look at the post's photo of her. She's beautiful.
posted by Edgewise at 7:40 PM on May 30, 2007


Disagreeing. Take a look at the post's photo of her. She's beautiful.

I dunno- watch the YouTube interview. In that, she looks like any other pretty but gawky teenage girl.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:41 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Look, that is a wonderful photo. She is a very attractive girl, in great athletic shape, in a great pose, with a great expression, nicely blurred background. It's a serious eye-magnet, and not just for jollies-getting. It is absolutely captivating. And that by no means takes away from her athletic accomplishments.
posted by The Deej at 7:44 PM on May 30, 2007


I'm actually amazed that the story doesn't say somewhere that she's been approached by Maxim and/or FHM. But she will be. It's what they do. IT'S ALL THEY DO
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:48 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seriously that Washington Post description cracks me up. Just the fixation in it. It's almost perfect, just missing "Her hair must smell like flowers. And I think, I really think, I must have her."
posted by Peter H at 7:50 PM on May 30, 2007 [8 favorites]


Just remember guys - you may have daughters one day. And I hope you never have to hear that your daughter is some internet geek's screen saver / wet dream.
posted by TorontoSandy at 7:50 PM on May 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


I mean really the picture is just amazing.

I'd have to second that, delmoi.

I actually read the WaPo piece without seeing that picture yesterday. I didn't it in a (1 second) Google image search.

From what I did find on Google, I could see that she was a very pretty young woman, but it was really hard seeing why she was getting so much attention.

That photo puts it in a better perspective. It's a perfect moment capture, of a great subject, by a talented photographer.

But a picture is a lie. That photo created as much of the hype as this woman's beauty. It's a great photograph.
posted by teece at 7:50 PM on May 30, 2007


Needs to wear a special track & field hijab.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:53 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, right. 'cause the burden of being beautiful and athletic, that's a crippler.
posted by adipocere at 7:57 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


So a young woman is good at something difficult.

Random men she doesn't know reduce her achievement to ZOMG HAWT!!!111!!!! I WOULD POLE VAULT IT WITH A STICK! AND BY STICK, I MEAN MY PENIS!!!! OR SOMETHING!

She doesn't care for that very much.

Random other men think that's stoopid, because it's inconceivable - and WRONG - that it a girl might feel weird about knowing that random men have reduced your entire existence to SO HOT, I WANT TO BANG HER, INSERT POLE-VAULTING JOKE.

Is that about right?

I guess that my vagina must have robbed me of my sense of humor, because I just don't get the joke.

Ugh.

And yeah, I know, you're dying to tell me to loosen up/take a nap/chill out/have a cup of tea and stop being a bitch about a little light-hearted fun. Just pretend you already made the comment, I read them and was suitably chastised, etc.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 7:57 PM on May 30, 2007 [64 favorites]


Cortex, your comment was right on but what on earth is Warknockers' Dilemma? Google isn't helping and that's all I'm good at!
posted by Riki tiki at 7:58 PM on May 30, 2007


Just remember guys - you may have daughters one day. And I hope you never have to hear that your daughter is some internet geek's screen saver / wet dream.

Please. Since when has it been a source of consternation to fathers that their daughters are widely thought to be beautiful?
posted by jayder at 7:58 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think thehmsbeagle drank too much Internet.
posted by Peter H at 8:01 PM on May 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


She really is gorgeous. And she's NOT the Numa Numa guy. I understand the fear of creeple people (some of whom may well be...right...in this...very...ROOM!!), but really -- it could be a whole lot worse.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:01 PM on May 30, 2007


There are other pictures of her here, although you have to have a myspace account to look at them.
posted by puke & cry at 8:03 PM on May 30, 2007


She is gorgeous. The photo in the first link is a very well taken photo, but much of her beauty seems to be natural. While I, as a male, find her to be highly attractive, I also realize this girl is still in high school and trying to lead a normal life, so let's not turn her into a net-celebrity against her will.
posted by krash2fast at 8:03 PM on May 30, 2007


Handling it well? I think horribly [...] her family chose to focus on negativity and danger.

I didn't say a word about how her family was handling it. And well, since the guy's a lawyer and he hasn't filed a single lawsuit, he's way ahead of the stereotype.

But yeah, I think, given her age, she's handling it well. Had something similar happened to me at her age I would have handled it roughly like thus

a) not leaving my room for days at a time
b) when I left my room, getting drunk in public, climbing on top of downtown single story buildings shouting "Don't you know who I am?! I'm Kári Tulinius! I'm gonna be bigger than Mahir fucking Cagri!"
posted by Kattullus at 8:04 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


a) not leaving my room for days at a time
b) when I left my room, getting drunk in public


Shit ....That's not being an Internet meme. That's handling a divorce!
posted by Peter H at 8:06 PM on May 30, 2007


That photo puts it in a better perspective. It's a perfect moment capture, of a great subject, by a talented photographer.That photo puts it in a better perspective. It's a perfect moment capture, of a great subject, by a talented photographer.

Man, no kidding. That photographer expanded my aperture! I'd increase my focal length for his or her exposure! I'd crop that!
posted by Riki tiki at 8:06 PM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


It is true that female pole vaulters seem to have cornered the hawtness in track and field. Stacy Dragila at the 2000 Olympics was the first to get noticed world-wide. There was an Icelandic pole vaulter in the last Olympics that I believe didn't even medal yet was covered extensively (Thorey Edda Elisdottir - I googled it) by the media because she was a stunner. A coworker of mine still competes on an amateur level and she could make a train jump its tracks. So this is nothing new. But what is a little disturbing is that now its focused on a high school girl that barely of legal age - that's where I apologize for my fellow men.
posted by Ber at 8:06 PM on May 30, 2007


Jayder, a woman asking men how they'd feel if people were behaving this certain way about their daughter/mother/sister/girlfriend can, in my experience, immediately be translated as: "This makes me uncomfortable and a little sad. I'm not sure why it doesn't make you uncomfortable and a little sad. Guys. Um. I'm trying not to get accusing (and, oh horrors! shrill!) here. But. Er?"

And, of course, the problem a father might have with this is not so much the genuinely admiring "Wow, she's lovely - and so skilled at her chosen sport!" but the "I'd fuck her, WHOOO, would I EVER."

I guess there are probably some dads who are okay with the latter, but man, I feel sorry for their daughters.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:07 PM on May 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


I agree that it's an amazing photograph.

Polevaulting is a sport that I just find amazing. I mean, I can do some version (not good ones) of nearly every other track-and-field event: I can run, jump, throw things. Polevaulting? Ah...no. Not. At. All. So for me, part of her beauty comes from the fact that she can do this difficult thing that I can't imagine doing.

Poor kid. Hang in there.
posted by rtha at 8:12 PM on May 30, 2007


Know what? Everybody's right -- the picture is great. She's strong, toned, and given her record, obviously a sports achiever to admire. I'm sure many of us which there existed as powerful and beautiful an image of ourselves. It's a very fine photo of an athlete in the prime of her powers.

Wouldn't it be nice if it stopped there? Wouldn't it be nice if she could look back on her years of (most likely) getting up at all hours of the morning for workouts, spending her afterschool time and weekends at meets while friends her age were working and partying, spending her disposable income on gear and travel, staying up late not to chat on the phone but to finish her homework so she would be ready for the same routine the next day, and all while being thought of as a strong, beautiful student athlete, rather than as eye candy for a bunch of lazy slobs sitting around drooling over the internet? It's not her complaint that's out of line, it's our collective cultural bias toward sexualizing the public female image.

I'm quite serious. No one is saying the woman isn't good-looking -- just that she didn't seek attention as a sex symbol. She sought attention for excelling at a difficult sport, and I agree that she worked hard for it. Sorry to rain on the irony party, but this IS what it's like for a girl: no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.

It's tiresome. I don't blame her (or her parents) for reacting as she did; I'm only sorry that it seems most men have to have daughters before the existence of this phenomenon starts to dawn on them.
posted by Miko at 8:13 PM on May 30, 2007 [174 favorites]


Not which...wish. Ai.
posted by Miko at 8:14 PM on May 30, 2007


myspace slideshow.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:18 PM on May 30, 2007


That was a perfect, perfect comment, Miko.

I hope - and it's a sarcasm-free hope, even - that someone out there reads it and thinks Ah. I see.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:18 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I happen to be reading Breakfast of Champions, where I just tonight read this:
The driver's toilet paper in Libertyville, Georgia, had been The Barring-gaffner of Bagnialto, or This Year's Masterpiece by Kilgore Trout.

The name of the planet where Trout's book took place was Bagnialto, and a "Barring-gaffner" there was a government official who spun a wheel of chance once a year. Citizens submitted works of art to the government, and these were given numbers, and then they were assigned cash values according to the Barring-gaffner's spins of the wheel. The viewpoint of character of the tale was not the Barring-gaffner, but a humble cobbler named Gooz. Gooz lived alone, and he painted a picture of his cat. It was the only picture he had ever painted. He took it to the Barring-gaffner, who numbered it and put it in a warehouse crammed with works of art.

The painting by Gooz had an unprecedented gush of luck on the wheel. It became worth eighteen thousand lambos, the equivalent of one billion dollars on Earth. The Barring-gaffner awarded Gooz a check for that amount, most of which was taken back at once by the tax collector. The picture was given a place of honor in the National Gallery, and people lined up for miles for a chance to see a painting worth a billion dollars.
posted by ericost at 8:20 PM on May 30, 2007


What Miko said.

Also, I pole vaulted for several years and it's hard to do. As much as this internet attention might make her distraught, she's lucky in that she will never have the experience of sprinting full-on to the pit, jamming the pole full force into said pit, feeling the pole bend under the strain of all the transferred energy, and then accidentally straddling that bastard as it releases the full force of your own energy right into your nutsack. Because, let me tell you, that sucks. A lot.
posted by psmith at 8:22 PM on May 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


what on earth is Warknockers' Dilemma?

It's a terrible pun, is what.
posted by cortex at 8:24 PM on May 30, 2007


Gosh, dear, so sorry you are so attractive to most men. You take a nice picture!
posted by longsleeves at 8:25 PM on May 30, 2007


m u s t . n o t . f a p .
posted by wfrgms at 8:25 PM on May 30, 2007


It says she used to be a gymnast... I wonder how many woman get into pole vaulting and high-jumping because they are too tall for gymnastics.
posted by smackfu at 8:25 PM on May 30, 2007


I'm not going to get too much into this, except to say... female athletes are hawt.

And anybody who knows my history.....



yeah.

posted by LordSludge at 8:33 PM on May 30, 2007


Wouldn't it be nice if she could look back on her years of (most likely) getting up at all hours of the morning for workouts, spending her afterschool time and weekends at meets while friends her age were working and partying, spending her disposable income on gear and travel, staying up late not to chat on the phone but to finish her homework so she would be ready for the same routine the next day, and all while being thought of as a strong, beautiful student athlete, rather than as eye candy for a bunch of lazy slobs sitting around drooling over the internet?

That is entirely up to her.

Jesus, people, get used to it. Privacy as we knew it - pre-Internet/camera phone/surveillance camera privacy - is gone. It ain't coming back.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:36 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Agreed, She is hot. She is good at pole vaulting... Move along now.
posted by subaruwrx at 8:39 PM on May 30, 2007


all i can say is that going to the washington post about it might not have been the best way to deal with this

she should realize that 3 months from now, she'll be forgotten and it'll be someone else
posted by pyramid termite at 8:40 PM on May 30, 2007


I dunno- watch the YouTube interview.

Just checked it. I still think she's beautiful, but now I can see it's going to take a few years for her to come fully into it.
posted by Edgewise at 8:40 PM on May 30, 2007


Equal time for pole-ish boys.
posted by rob511 at 8:43 PM on May 30, 2007


...Like the rest of us.

Speak for yourself, Brandon Walsh.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:48 PM on May 30, 2007


I HAS POLEVAWLT?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:49 PM on May 30, 2007


I wish I could send this girl a card say that I've never heard of her, and that everyone will forget about that photo once something more distracting comes along.

You got my favourite, Miko, but you really nailed it when you said "no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance". Well put.
posted by Jilder at 8:49 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Enh, if the worst thing that happens to you this year is that you're found to be extremely attractive by random people on the internet, you're having a pretty fucking good year.
posted by Justinian at 8:51 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.

I don't care how many favorites you get for your comment, Miko, I think you're wrong to paint this like some sort of sexist issue. As humans, we are wired, down to the goop inside the nucleus of every cell in our body, to react positively to certain things. Youth, beauty, sex appeal. It's an animal reaction. And not just a male reaction.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:55 PM on May 30, 2007 [10 favorites]


This is a wonderful photograph. Iron Rat is right -- her pose is timeless. Consider the Doryphoros in relation to this picture -- there's a grace present in both which is beautiful to behold...and so very rare.

Ms. Stokke makes a good point: We -- the vast anonymous audience -- are not seeing her -- the person -- in this photograph. The unexpected congruency of mythological archetype and reality overwhelms all else. The photographer has captured an uncommon moment of beauty -- and we do not need to know the person herself to appreciate that aspect of the image.

(However, I would argue that this photograph is additionally an excellent portrait of a dedicated, skilled athlete -- whether she goes on to win a dozen Olympic medals or not.)
posted by Kikkoman at 9:01 PM on May 30, 2007


It makes me angry that girls want to fuck me because I have money.

Because I don't.
posted by LordSludge at 9:05 PM on May 30, 2007


Among all the positive consequences of sudden fame (from merit AND good looks, BTW) her family chose to focus on negativity and danger. How small-minded.

You've obviously never been female.
posted by dobbs at 9:07 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Any attractive girl that doesn't know she's attractive by the age of 18 would have to be mentally deficient, which this girl clearly isn't. I'm sure she's used to getting attention for her looks.

She's getting attention for a pretty picture now. She'll also be favored by her teachers, rarely spend a Friday night at home, and never have to change or tire or be stranded anywhere as long as her looks last. Attractiveness has its advantages, too. Take the good with the bad.

This isn't a huge drama unless you make it into one. "I'm an internet celebrity." So? This changes your life how, exactly?

That's life; get over it and move on.
posted by misha at 9:07 PM on May 30, 2007


You've obviously never been female.

Well, Tiresias is a MeFi member, maybe we can ask him.

what?! if someone brings up the Doryphoros, then I can bring up farkin' Tiresias and link to the friggin' Waste Land
posted by Kattullus at 9:14 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


This photograph and heartwarming story of athletic achievement has vaulted her into the hearts of millions.
posted by redteam at 9:15 PM on May 30, 2007


It really is a fantastic shot. It makes her look several years older, so a lot of the OMG comments probably don't even realize she's still a teenager. On the video she looks a lot more like a normal teen. But this photo is a standout even among the other photos of her -- composition, lighting, pose. It could easily be a study for a sculpture.

Miko makes some good points, but really, the horse has left the barn on this one. It's awful to consider the millions of people guys making hubba-hubbas, but when you consider that each one is only adding 0.001% to the fracas, the social cost of doing that is very, very low, and it won't go away for her or anyone else. At another level, models are often discovered long before they're 18 and there was a period -- I don't know how much it's still true, as there's been a big trend back toward celebrities -- when underage models made up to look older were dominant for magazine covers. Not only isn't this new, but a lot of women have been able to handle the Male Gaze when it's even more intrusive.

Another point is that a lot of people seem to be assuming that the majority of the guys making crude, leering comments are, to put it bluntly, creeps old enough to be her father. Are we really sure about that? How many of them are her age, or even younger? How many of them are Duke lacrosse mailing-list types? (Not better, but at least misogyny without ephebophilia is more socially acceptable, for better or worse.)

There are a few people who deserve a little more opprobrium -- e.g. the guy who runs that sports blog site. It's interesting that he saw a spike from running her photo but wasn't able to translate those incoming links into regular readers (although the WaPo article has given him another spike). The MySpace is also a bit disturbing in the way it uses that flash app to make the eye "rove" across her photos. It pretty much makes it impossible to experience them as anything but an ogle.

Ultimately, though, I think this is one more example of how the internet amplifies things beyond one person's control, and you just sort of have to learn to ride it, or run away and hide. Wikipedia is just now going through a wrenching policy gearshift toward a much more restrictive approach to people caught up in events beyond their control. The site is now such a high Google result that basically an article on somebody like Stokke, or the fat Chinese kid, or Star Wars kid, is never going to go away. I'm not 100% sure I agree with this policy in every way it's going to be applied in the next year or so, but it looks inevitable. Jimbo doesn't want the site to encourage gossipy biographies. (For the moment, she doesn't have one.) That's not going to dent the way that internet memes spawn and spread, realistically, but it may prevent them from "going down in history".
posted by dhartung at 9:16 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I heard Tony Kornheiser go on about this at a very macro level today for awhile. I think he conveyed what's to be accepted about this in terms of the media/internet reality, and what's wrong with it from a cultural and moral standpoint. While I enjoy his show, I hope she doesn't hear it, and instead reads this thread. If so:

Good luck at state Allison, and enjoy UCLA. Chance made you beautiful, your hard work made you smart and successful.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 9:21 PM on May 30, 2007


your hard work made you smart and successful

Maybe chance did those things too.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:23 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


All of you people need a plate of beans.
posted by rhizome23 at 9:24 PM on May 30, 2007


Dave,

you may be right that it's an animal reaction, but in addition to being animals we are HUMANs. We are capable of making extremely complex evaluations of numerous phenomenon in order to derive thoughts that raise us above the primordial goop which we carry around in every cell of our body. That's the human reaction, not just a male reaction.

Are you repressing your inner human?
posted by C.Batt at 9:26 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe chance did those things too.

Conceded. Yet I waited two hours for chance to bring me a plate of beans for dinner, and it didn't happen until I got off the couch and made it. But I still look the same from when I woke up this morning.

Come to think of it, I look like I did yesterday also, but had to make my beans then too. Weird.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 9:27 PM on May 30, 2007


We're talking about a single photograph, C.Batt. It is entirely about aesthetics. How's the air on that soapbox?
posted by rhizome23 at 9:30 PM on May 30, 2007


Oh boo fucking hoo. Cry me a goddamn river.

An extraordinarily flattering photo of an already attractive girl gets passed around the internet, and lots of people think the net result is very attractive.

"Oh, poor me, hundreds of thousands of people think I'm hot so now I'm gonna be maladjusted".

Please.

She's 18. She's old enough to go get shot at in Iraq for Bush's Folly, she's certainly old enough to be able to withstand a bunch of strangers admiring her flat stomach.

Do you have any idea how many millions of men have "admired" female gymnasts via ESPN for 30 years now? Or beach volleyball players in Sports Illustrated? This has nothing to do with "teh intarnet".

Grow up.

You would never, ever hear a man complain about this.

"You know, I'm a swimmer, and it makes me so upset that millions of women around the world think me and my washboard abs are hot. I'm not sure how I'll cope with having my choice of any mate I want. Now I'm gonna be in all the magazines, selling my own calendars and line of sportswear... god being rich and popular and talented and young SUCKS"
posted by Ynoxas at 9:30 PM on May 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


great photograph, beautiful girl. too bad she doesn't want the attention but that would be hard for anyone to handle. i wish her well.
posted by cell divide at 9:34 PM on May 30, 2007


To all the moralistic twits, saying stuff like, "How dare you talk about how beautiful she is. You should be talking about how great it is that she has accomplished so much":

The problem is, the whole conversation was started by a still photograph. We have no idea, from the photograph, whether she's any good as a pole vaulter. Her prowess in pole-jumping is not evident from the photo, but her physical magnificence is. So that's what people are discussing. There is such a thing as honest, wholesome appreciation of the human form, you know.

You're condemning people who are not having discussions that coincide with your pre-approved script. You can't blame people, who have the photo brought to their attention, for saying, "Yes, you're right, she IS hot."

By chiming in and condemning everyone who is saying she is hot, may think you are coming to the girl's defense, but keep in mind, by chiming in in this way, you are contributing to the unwanted attention that this girl is receiving. Because now, due largely to your ill-conceived moralistic jeremiads, the story has become "controversy stirred by high school pole jumper photo," so it can now be treated as a legitimate story (not just "check this hot chick out"). It's no longer just some geeks e-mailing her photo around. It's news outlets clamoring for an interview with her. And when people hear about the "controversy" of the sexy photo for which you moralistic numbskulls have fanned the flames, people's first question, of course, is going to be "damn, I'm curious, how hot can this girl really be." And then the story will spread even more widely.

You're like the book-banners whose efforts actually result in the sale of more books.
posted by jayder at 9:38 PM on May 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


Are you a pole vaulter?
No, I'm a Norvegian, and my name ain't Valter.
posted by Floydd at 9:38 PM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


I wish I had a photo of myself as good as that. When she's 50, she'll be glad of that photo. That relaxed athletic pose is timeless.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:41 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh boo fucking hoo. Cry me a goddamn river.

An extraordinarily flattering photo of an already attractive girl gets passed around the internet, and lots of people think the net result is very attractive.

"Oh, poor me, hundreds of thousands of people think I'm hot so now I'm gonna be maladjusted".

Please.


I'd link to the relavant Kornheiser rant, but it's buried three quarters of the way into his two hour radio podcast. His point of disagreement wasn't about beautiful people lamenting the supposed burden of being beautiful and noticed therefore, but of privacy. He made two distinct points:

1. Those, regardless of legal age who seek the attention of others, i.e. models, actresses, musicians, have no right to complain when this sort of widespread viral attention occurs. They don't get his sympathy.

2. When those who do not seek this sort of mass attention have it thrust upon them simply because they were doing something in the public realm DO deserve some sympathy, and possibly protection and redress.

Franky, I'm more interested in what happens when all of us can be exposed for any reason to a mass audience at any time than the response you think this young woman should be having rather than the one she is.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 9:45 PM on May 30, 2007


One thing that neither she nor her parents seem to grok is that this is the interwebs - the attention span is notoriously short. By next week, they'll have moved on to the next underwater skiing sensation.

I'm really astonished that a) there are people paying this much attention to high school pole vaulting and b) that she finds it offensive. I'd be flattered myself, but then again, I'm one of those people who has to be the center of attention. ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME YET? LET'S MAKE THIS POST ABOUT ME.

Speaking of which: Any attractive girl that doesn't know she's attractive by the age of 18 would have to be mentally deficient, which this girl clearly isn't.

I dunno, I like to think I'm better than average in the looks department. (And yes, I do model, thanks for asking) and I'm no supermodel or internet celebrity, so maybe I don't know what it's like to be as beautiful as this girl, but I do remember what it's like to be 18 and awkward and thinking that everything about me is hideous. Of course, I wasn't nearly as pretty as this girl is when I was 18, but looking back, I certainly wasn't half as bad as I thought or felt.

Give the girl a break if she doesn't get that she's gorgeous, most 18 year olds are doing well if they understand that no, they really don't need to put a porkchop around their necks to get the dog to notice them.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:48 PM on May 30, 2007


MarvinTheCat writes 'Conceded. Yet I waited two hours for chance to bring me a plate of beans for dinner, and it didn't happen until I got off the couch and made it. But I still look the same from when I woke up this morning.'

Stop overthinking that plate of beans and I guarantee you'll be ten pounds lighter and twice as cute by tomorrow.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:52 PM on May 30, 2007


Franky, I'm more interested in what happens when all of us can be exposed for any reason to a mass audience at any time than the response you think this young woman should be having rather than the one she is.

Argh. That was tortured.

What I meant was, this may be more interesting as a privacy issue extending to everyone. For one, I don't relish being the "picked his nose at ate it" guy at the Cubs game, set to premier in August.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 9:53 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to summon some sympathy for her problem of being too attractive an athlete, but I just can't.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:54 PM on May 30, 2007


jayder,
Your skill at building straw men is awe-inspiring. Honest appreciation of the human form? Bullshit. No one is saying that you shouldn't be talking about how attractive she is. I'm a guy, and I like attractive girls, but I feel sorry for her. What bothers me, and what people are objecting to, is that she never asked to be masturbated to by thousands of strangers. She didn't want to be an object of lust. You might say, "Tough shit, it's the modern world. Deal with it." But it's still sad that she's forced into this situation.

And on top of that you have assholes like Ynoxas who point out that, of course, if you're attractive you can't have any problems because you're pretty, and all attention is good and not wanting it is stupid. Though he does get the point that a man would react differently, however crudely. As he also notes, this is not a new phenomenon, but the Internet makes it so much more widespread, and intrusive. As I said, the objectors here just find it sad for this girl.

If you want a non-sexual analogy, think of the Star Wars Kid story. Just some nerdy kid doing something stupid, like we've all done, yet he had the misfortune of having it taped and put online to become a joke to millions. But it's cool, right? It's just natural to laugh at stupid stuff, and he's a nerd anyway. And what's he complaining about, anyway? He's world-famous! Jesus. Some people are ridiculous assholes.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:55 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


You've obviously never been female.

Oh, please. She's not in any more danger than she was before this. The risk she has as a female of being the victim of sexual violence come mostly from family and acquaintances.

And while I agree 100% with Miko's point about sexism and how that manifests as sexual objectification of women with the concomitant devaluing of other worth; I also find the "if you were her father/if you had a daughter" comments sickening. The fatherly instinct to protect the chastity of daughters is itself a notorious feature of patriarchal culture and has, additionally, a deeply disturbing underbelly of projection.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:56 PM on May 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


I quite like my soapbox indeed. In fact, I'm not done.

The photo is fantastic. It captures, as said above, a beautiful woman at the height of her powers. That being said, the powers she believes she's at the height of are athletic and not sexual - or rather, she wants to be known for her capabilities and not her beauty.

Yes, it's just one photograph. Yes, it's just another internet meme and will be forgotten in a few moments. But it clearly indicates what Miko was mentioning in her post, the fact that women are first judged by their looks regardless of what it is that they're trying to do. Looks first, everything else comes second - especially in snap judgment situations such as when looking at a single great photo on the web.

Who can blame her if she's put out, shaken up, and maybe even a bit scared by the response? Not everyone wants to be in the spotlight and some only want to be in the spotlight on terms in which they feel comfortable.
posted by C.Batt at 9:56 PM on May 30, 2007


Female paul vaulters have the best darn bodies.

Emma George. Woof woof!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:56 PM on May 30, 2007


Bugger.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:57 PM on May 30, 2007


Well, I encourage anyone who wants to take you seriously to do so, C.Batt.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:00 PM on May 30, 2007


"Oh, poor me, hundreds of thousands of people think I'm hot so now I'm gonna be maladjusted".

That is not what she's worried about.

You would never, ever hear a man complain about this.

Make that 'seldom, seldom' in place of 'never, ever' and I'll agree. It's called male privilege, and it's related to a lot of cultural things, but at its root it comes from the fact that men are on average larger than women and bear fewer of the consequences of sex.
posted by eritain at 10:01 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Shame on you pedophile perverts: she's in high school so she's probably UNDER LEGAL AGE. Or are y'all going to start citing the distinction between Pedophilia and Pederasty at me now?
posted by davy at 10:01 PM on May 30, 2007


Well, I in turn encourage you to grow a set and post something meaningful rather than three fatuous statements, rhizome23.
posted by C.Batt at 10:04 PM on May 30, 2007


And grapefruitmoon, I've done far worse than you but I prefer my "SO" -- who's so unclear on her gorgeosity that she won't even let me take a decent picture of her. And what's more, I have PROOF that she's Legal Age, I've seen her driver's license.
posted by davy at 10:04 PM on May 30, 2007


Whoops. I meant to encourage you to watch Oprah. I'm clumsy with language.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:07 PM on May 30, 2007


At her young age, body issues are HUGE, and I don't remember a single girl at 18 who thought she was pretty. Having a lot of strange men comment on how they want to give you pearl necklaces or have you suck their dicks (yes, I checked a few message boards) is generally not a positive development in one's life. And, let's not forget how tactful teenagers can be in real life, the ones that she will have to deal with on a face to face basis. Think any boys in her area might yell out a few things?

It will feel very threatening to her to see those comments. If I were her (patriarchy or no, EB) I'd be hiding behind my dad everywhere I went until this faded.

Luckily for her this will die down right quick, but everytime someone she meets decides to google her name to find out more about her, this will come up, and she didn't go looking for the attention. I'm not at all surprised her father is trying to see if there's any form of legal action he can take.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:08 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread brings out the ugly truth in many of the people here, yes?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 PM on May 30, 2007


See Ynoxas, btw.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:12 PM on May 30, 2007


Even
posted by rhizome23 at 10:13 PM on May 30, 2007


This thread brings out the ugly truth in many of the people here, yes?

Like the ones who are convinced of their own superiority?
posted by TungstenChef at 10:14 PM on May 30, 2007


What do we win for framing a Fark one shot as a gender and sociological debate? Oh yeah. I forgot. Self righteousness.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:17 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love how she gives an interview to a fairly popular newspaper to protest all the attention she's been getting.
posted by O9scar at 10:18 PM on May 30, 2007


She's the victim, O9scar.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:18 PM on May 30, 2007


Another point is that a lot of people seem to be assuming that the majority of the guys making crude, leering comments are, to put it bluntly, creeps old enough to be her father.

Well, FWIW, I'm a creep old enough to be her father, and that picture is hot. I'd guess she was 22 or 23.
posted by Malor at 10:21 PM on May 30, 2007


Meme or 12chan fan club?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:27 PM on May 30, 2007


I've met a few men who get catcalled by women and are really disturbed by it. They're exceptions; most men I know don't really "get" why the comments are so damned intimidating and disconcerting. I think that the difference is that most men I know are used to receiving genuine compliments or none at all. They think having someone shout "sexy!" at them from a passing car would be really cool. They haven't experienced comments that equate them to a thing to be used, called out by people who think they should be appreciative to hear it. They don't understand how being told someone thinks you're hot can be anything other than empowering.

There's a large difference between a genuine compliment, even from a random person, and harassment. Several people here have explained it well already, but I think it's difficult for some people to really "get" it until they've been on the receiving end.



You're like the book-banners whose efforts actually result in the sale of more books.


I don't think anything I say here can top being posted to Metafilter to begin with in terms of its impact on her net popularity.
posted by Tehanu at 10:28 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Christ, what a bunch of assholes.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:33 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Shame on you pedophile perverts: she's in high school so she's probably UNDER LEGAL AGE. Or are y'all going to start citing the distinction between Pedophilia and Pederasty at me now?

My experience is that people who know they are making basic errors and make it clear they just don't care, typically don't realise how shocking this appears to people not part of the (mainstream American?) anti-intellectual persuasion.

It really is a depressing trait.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:35 PM on May 30, 2007


I'd just like to point out at this juncture that as a result of that photo being posted across the internet, Stokke got a request from a "risqué magazine in Brazil" to do a photo shoot.

This isn't "just" thousands of internet admirers, girlwatchers and outright pervs. And even if it was, do you want that sort of attention thrust upon you unwittingly? The point isn't that you shouldn't think of her as attractive or hot; the point is she never wanted to be known for that, and certainly not to a huge audience of strangers who will never know anything else about her.

The idea that "she should just get used to it because she's hot" is pragmatic advice, I suppose, but I wouldn't exactly call it an ideal response.
posted by chrominance at 10:35 PM on May 30, 2007


MetaFilter: Christ, what a bunch of assholes.

It had to be done.

Also, this is still not as good as the golfer chick licking the banana trophy. (Mildly NSFW)
posted by chlorus at 10:38 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just stoking the Allison Stokke story by posting another Van Halenesque tribute about her.

I get up, and nothing gets me down.
You got it tough. Ive seen the toughest around.
And I know, "Alison Stokke, "just how you feel.
Youve got to roll with the punches to get to whats real
Oh cant you see me standing here,
Ive got my back against the record machine
I aint the worst that youve seen.
Oh cant you see what I mean ?
Might as well jump. jump !
Might as well jump.
Go ahead, jump. jump !
Go ahead, jump.
Aaa-ohh hey you ! how said that ?
Baby how you been ?
You say you dont know, you wont know
Until we begin.
Well cant you see me standing here,
Ive got my back against the record machine
I aint the worst that youve seen.
Oh cant you see what I mean ?
Might as well jump. jump !
Go ahead, jump.
Might as well jump. jump !
Go ahead, jump.
(guitar solo)
(keyboard solo)
Might as well jump. jump !
Go ahead, jump.
Get it and jump. jump !
Go ahead, jump.
posted by thedailygrowl at 10:39 PM on May 30, 2007


Female pole vaulters have the best darn bodies.

Emma George. Woof woof!


Males for that matter, too. Probably coz you need to use just about every muscle in your body. "Core strength" as well.

But if you look at something simpler like plain old chin ups and how few females can do them properly… a female pole vaulter is truly an Amazon to behold!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:40 PM on May 30, 2007


Let me break it down for everyone. She's pretty. It's a good photo. Shove the rest of your cheap platitudes up your ass then please post about how it makes you feel. Because that's all this thread is about now.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:41 PM on May 30, 2007


I just shoved the platitudes up my ass, and it made me feel all funny inside, rhizome23.
posted by Justinian at 10:45 PM on May 30, 2007


That means you were right all along, Justinian.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:47 PM on May 30, 2007


Let me break it down for everyone. She's pretty. It's a good photo.

Good photo? Pretty? I hardly noticed. For me it's the body.

Emma George has a head like a dented-in jerrycan, but holy crap she's got a fantastic body. I'd crawl over broken glass just to poke matchsticks in her shit.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:55 PM on May 30, 2007


You're obviously an investor in "THE PATRIARCHY", uncanny hengeman. I bet you're gay.
posted by rhizome23 at 10:59 PM on May 30, 2007


I have no real qualms about feeling morally superior. Feels fine. Thank you and good night!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:01 PM on May 30, 2007


I do not understand.

She is not a cat.

There is no caption.

????
posted by Artw at 11:04 PM on May 30, 2007 [18 favorites]


I think she's attractive, and it's a great photo of her, but it must suck to have your picture posted to the internet for a bunch of people to drool over without approving it. It's not like she's suing everyone from kingdom come, so I don't think she's overreacting.
posted by Snyder at 11:04 PM on May 30, 2007


News flash: young, fit females are attractive to many members of the opposite sex. ZOMG! Science! Next we'll discover that this is somehow related to evolution!

As for the photo: the pose is great, although the 3/4 view of her face does break a rule of portraiture where her nose breaks the line of her cheek. The visual appeal of a narrow depth of field makes up for this. I'm guessing it was shot with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Personally, I'm lusting after that lens more than the girl.
posted by mullingitover at 11:20 PM on May 30, 2007


So I'm just going to say what I'm thinking.

She's attractive. Very attractive. I'm not denying that. I don't think anyone is.

Bit why is this an FPP?

How is this anyting other than a continuation of "oggle the hot chick"?

I did my fair share of oggling when I first saw these pictures. But aside from mega exposure via the internet, how is she any different than any of the super hot athletes at my school?

Why a post on the blue? Why this site?

These are not rhetorical questions. This isn't a snark, persay, at least not outright. I really want to know why this hasn't been deleted yet. I feel like I've missed something.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:21 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


mullingitover: I'm trying to hard to agree with you on the lens thing, but I can't see the forest bokeh for the trees hot chick.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:24 PM on May 30, 2007


I can attest to the level of skill required to pole vault well. In fact, to my mind, it is by far the most technically difficult discipline in athletics. I had competed in virtually every track & field event during my teenage years and was lucky enough to have an olympic medal winning decathlete as a kind of advisor/mentor. I'd always done well at the jumping and sprint events and was so-so at the throwing disciplines. So by the time I was in the last year of school, I had in my mind the idea of extending my regimen to include pole vault with the hope of performing in a decathlon event one day. So I did maybe a month's prep. which basically consisted of 'having a bash' at run up and plant and vaulting over low heights with a couple of more knowledgeable people watching and giving some feedback --- in other words, not serious, but not altogether casual either.

By this time I was required to compete in the men's competition --- ie. just adults --- and this would be my first attempt at vaulting. From memory I *think* this was about the last time I actually competed in athletics, not least reason being because when I did compete in that first pole vault event and won, my final leap saw me sailing well over the end of the landing mats and getting a colles fracture of my left wrist. School soon ended and I went into a career that kind of interferred with continuing with athletics seriously so it wasn't just the broken arm or fear or whatever that kept me away.

Anyway, all power to anyone who can do that fucking sport successfully - I still like to watch the competitions but I always have mixed feelings about it of course.
posted by peacay at 11:45 PM on May 30, 2007


Interestingly enough, this entire kerfuffle started on shacknews with

Somewhat amusing to me.
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:47 PM on May 30, 2007


Let's try this again. It started with This Post.
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:47 PM on May 30, 2007


Why a post on the blue? Why this site?

FARK + Righteous Indignation = Metafilter Gold!!!
posted by blenderfish at 11:49 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


You talked and talked and over-thought and talked and while you were talking and thinking your plate of hot polevaulters went cold and stodgey.

I hope you're happy with yourselves.
posted by The Monkey at 11:50 PM on May 30, 2007


If not for this FPP, it is unlikely I'd ever have had the joy of viewing that beautiful photograph. Yea, me, a gay man, finds joy in her beauty.

And the woman is 18. She isn't a child or a 'girl'. She's a woman. Quit trying to frame it as though she's just a kid. That's as sick as anything else going on here. Do you get your bone on by accusing people of being peverted? Nothing perverted at all about appreciating that beauty. In fact, it's healthy.

So, she's also a brain? Now that is dangerous. OMG, she might learn that she can distract silly men with her looks while using her brain to take an advantage. Worse, if she does it right, they'll thank her for it. Very dangerous indeed.

Rob511: Thank you for your kind efforts. Unfortunatly, none of the photos you linked were nearly as special as the OP. Funny enough, I'm not sure I've ever noticed pole vaulters before. (perhaps because I grew up watching track events, the track being near the house).
posted by Goofyy at 11:53 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry to rain on the irony party, but this IS what it's like for a girl: no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.

I dunno, Miko. I can hear what you're saying, and it resonates to an extent, but I think you and this girl are engaging in a bit of an overreaction with respect to the relationship between an image and the supposed reality behind that image.

Everyday we chance upon visually attractive things. A nice piece of architecture, a flower, a landscape, an appealing person passing in the street, a photo of this or that. In this case, it's a nice photo of a girl. When we have no more information to go on, our sole criterion is visual, so to judge something as appealing or unappealing in visual terms is simply all we can do. It's not saying that the non-visual reality of those things is irrelevant, just that we don't know anything about it.

The building has many stories, for example, the flower & landscape fit into complex biological & geographical systems & the person in the street & in this photo have their own non-visual qualities, good or bad. However, if we encounter them only as images, then that's the basis on which we react to them.

In this case, we have a tiny bit more information upfront: she appears to be an athlete. So, we have an attractive picture of an apparent pole-vaulter. Still nothing more upon which to judge, unless we venture into stalker-territory & start googling, in which case we might find out that she's an accomplished cellist, with bipolar disorder & a penchant for seafood.

At this point, we have crossed over from the image-only basis into a deeper understanding, at which point I wonder what the complaint is against: evaluating "her" on one single photo, or seeking out the person behind the photo? It seems that if people are going beyond the image, then they are seeing the bigger picture, whereas those who respond to the image alone are simply responding to an image, and leaving the person herself totally out of it. You can't have it both ways, and I get the feeling that you and Ms Stokke are fudging the boundaries between these two very different things.

There's no doubt that women are often reacted to, in part, according to their appearance, but this does not mean that appearance is always a major consideration. Those at extreme ends of the attractiveness curve, for example, might find it to be a major factor in how people treat them, whereas for the majority in the middle, the effect may not be that significant. Conflating the extremes with the majority does nothing for the power of the argument that women are always rated visually.

Now, where are my beans?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:05 AM on May 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


There is no caption.

I HAS A POLE
INVISIBLE WALL I'M HOLDING UP
IS IT CAN BE JUMP TIEM NOW PLEES?
I HAS A ARMPIT
THAT MAH BUCKIT OVER THERE?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:18 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


CitrusFreak12: But why is this an FPP?

It's a privacy issue. Kind of like the Prisoners of YouTube.

Being a celebrity is difficult, even for Hollywood actors and actresses who actively court the media. It must be even more difficult for someone like Stokke who's become a celebrity involuntarily.

It's also a technology issue, because this wouldn't have happened without the Internet.

This is why I don't put any photos of my children on the Internet, no matter how cute they are.

pyramid termite: all i can say is that going to the washington post about it might not have been the best way to deal with this

I'd have to disagree. It's a chance for her to get her side of the story across to the public, so that people realize she's a person too, not just an object of lust. I'd say it's worked, at least to some extent: whoever was behind the "unofficial fan site" has taken it down, for example.
posted by russilwvong at 12:22 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wha makes the photo hot is that she looks competent and controlled, in command of her destiny.

Competent -- being really good at someting, whatever that is -- tis hawt, regardless of gender.
posted by orthogonality at 12:39 AM on May 31, 2007


women spend a lot of time, money and effort to appear beautiful to others in our society.
when one achieves this recognition and others comment on it, there's always a posse of women objecting to this, trying to denigrate the male commenters as creeps/slaves to their gonads/whatever. i believe this has been going on since the pleistocene. i can hear oona hectoring grok "no grok, sheela is more than a pair of tits in a bearskin, she wants to be appreciated for her mind." as always, grok reassures her that he appreciates sheela for this too.
my theory: the posse is resentful that it wasn't one of them who received this recognition. underneath their disparagement of men, they're cursing their fate to be born less beautiful than say, allison stokke, and the consequences of this fate on a planet as totally unfair as earth. she'll always get a second interview for whatever she applies for, many of the posse members won't, and i agree this is unfair, but i did not create this situation and can do nothing to change it, which means it's not my problem, it's your problem. all i can do is express my condolences, and suggest that there's a beautiful woman inside of most plain girls struggling to get out, and she can be most readily assisted by 1) a positive attitude, and 2) a competent photographer.
posted by bruce at 12:47 AM on May 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


As mentioned above, one option would be to find a good sports agent and at least try and make some money from this fiasco. Usually it is only the rich and famous that have to endure (or exploit) this type of fandom so she might well consider trying to make something from it.

As a professional photographer, I also have a bit of sympathy for whoever took the shot - that much coverage and reproduction of one image without any benefit or recognition. (Unless I've missed something..?)

(It's worrying that idiots from across the world think that this myspace profile is actually her.)
posted by Kiell at 12:52 AM on May 31, 2007


Hmm, ok since I'm home from work I can now see what all the fuss is about. Wow am I about to become unpopular.

I'm quite serious. No one is saying the woman isn't good-looking -- just that she didn't seek attention as a sex symbol.

Hmm, 45 favorites for basically denying others the right to see of you what they see fit? A lot of insecure people around here.

Some see beauty. Some see talent. Many see both. And some of those people are moronic, forehead-salivating (thanks Brian B!) frat boys. How dare they think what they want of me!

Oh please. Do grow up.

I can attest to the level of skill required to pole vault well. In fact, to my mind, it is by far the most technically difficult discipline in athletics.

Egads, you think so? Way back in high school I lucked into the 3rd regional spot the only time I ever tried it, having no experience and zero idea regarding technique. And yeah, the regionals were full of people who had it down to an art, but it is just one thing, done over and over. It's not brain surgery, people. That doesn't mean she doesn't deserve respect, of course. My thing is long distance running, and that's just putting one foot in front of the other. But this whole "pole vaulting is soooo hard" stuff is kinda beside the point, too.

Most athletics is insane practice of one tiny thing over and over, about which practically no one outside of your field will appreciate.

Wha makes the photo hot is that she looks competent and controlled, in command of her destiny.

Do I really have to throw you 50 photos of confident looking, ugly people of either sex? Seriously, that wasn't even a competent dodge. This thread is so full of BS a flush wouldn't clear it.
posted by dreamsign at 1:28 AM on May 31, 2007


"I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it's almost like that doesn't matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me."

YOU JUMPED OVER A BAR WITH A POLE AND GRADUATED HIGHSCHOOL, PLEASE TAKE THIS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE AND BE OUR PRESIDENT.
posted by dgaicun at 1:42 AM on May 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


Nope, MetaFilter isn't a boyzone.

Right. Keep on telling yourselves that.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:55 AM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Boo hoo hoo, I'm a successful, attractive athelete - life's so unfair."
posted by jiroczech at 1:55 AM on May 31, 2007


YOU JUMPED OVER A BAR WITH A POLE AND GRADUATED HIGHSCHOOL, PLEASE TAKE THIS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE AND BE OUR PRESIDENT.

Stop. Right. There.
No matter how sarcastic you were being, or how much of an improvement she would actually be, we cannot tolerate a future where schoolboys masturbate to pictures of the president. I know I for one would be praying for the jihadists to overthrow us all.
posted by dreamsign at 2:10 AM on May 31, 2007


This photograph and heartwarming story of athletic achievement has vaulted her into the hearts of millions.

Jeez, Lois. How long have you been waiting to crack out that gem?
posted by dgaicun at 2:26 AM on May 31, 2007


-It's not brain surgery, people-

Nor is hyperbole or misrepresentation, so it seems.
posted by peacay at 2:28 AM on May 31, 2007


MASSIVE SHOULDERS.
posted by algreer at 2:40 AM on May 31, 2007


I see girls like that every day. Everyone has a digital camera. There must be millions of pictures of pretty girls circulating. It's funny how this photo of this girl became so popular.

Nope, MetaFilter isn't a boyzone.

Right. Keep on telling yourselves that.


Shh. They're mass-turbating. If you dis-turb them, they might stampede.
posted by pracowity at 2:42 AM on May 31, 2007


Wow, these boys need to get out a bit more. There are pretty girls all around the world, on every street that you might be able to actually admire from close up or even *gosh* talk to! Crazy, I know.

Yes, it's not the worst thing to ever happen to someone. No, that does not mean this situation is okay. Of course I'd be upset if I had random idiots on the internet telling me how much they'd want their dick in my mouth. I can't even begin to think what my family would feel.

Ugh. This whole thing is just ugh.
posted by liquorice at 2:52 AM on May 31, 2007


I had a picture of me holding a broken umbrella in fife, i'm still waiting for the meme.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:01 AM on May 31, 2007


-It's not brain surgery, people-

Nor is hyperbole or misrepresentation, so it seems.


Wow, clearly not. Make sure you chop out the bit where I tell you I've tried it.
Have you?
posted by dreamsign at 3:37 AM on May 31, 2007


Miko's comment got 50 favorites, and ruled the thread, but I'm not sure what of value was said? Some people on the Internet communicated that a picture of a pretty girl was pretty. . . and? That was wrong how? Was it bad because lots of people did the same thing, or was it wrong because it is not right to publicly express lust over a found picture? If the former, then that has little to do with wrongness, it's just, at most, boringly unfortunate. If the latter, well that just seems completely ridiculous and actually pretty inhuman.

beautiful student athlete, rather than as eye candy for a bunch of lazy slobs sitting around drooling over the internet?

For her, yes, apparently. For others, no, obviously. People are different - this makes blanket condemnations untenable. Some seek to moralize their own tastes by overlooking those with opposite preferences. Many, many people would consider it their dream come true to find such rapid fame over their beauty. Deal with that.

It's not her complaint that's out of line, it's our collective cultural bias toward sexualizing the public female image.

There is no "collective culture", that's why you got 50 favorites. I seem to recall a lot of Americans having a lot of trouble with the way Hollywood libruls have allegedly sexualized our culture. Your comment would work better with evidence. Here, in fact, is compelling evidence to the contrary: appearance actually has a stronger effect on male wages and performance evaluations than female wages and evaluations, meaning that males face a steeper appearance based discrimination in this society than women.

Sorry to rain on the irony party, but this IS what it's like for a girl: no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.

Prove it. Prove it's different for men (from both males and female treatment). Demonstrate appearance is a bigger handicap for female success using evidence. My studies show otherwise. You are wrong.
posted by dgaicun at 3:40 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


From the first study:
Results indicated that more attractive men had higher starting salaries and they continued to earn more over time. For women, there was no effect of attractiveness for starting salaries, but more attractive women earned more later on in their jobs. By 1983, men were found to earn $2600 more on the average for each unit of attractiveness (on a 5-point scale) and women earned $2150 more.
So unattractive men incur a greater proportional wage penalty than unattractive women, and attractive men incur a greater proportional wage benefit than attractive women. Male appearance has a greater effect on male wage outcome. This is not consistent with female appearance being a greater handicap in society than male appearance. Males face more appearance based discrimination.

Second study:
Instructors who are viewed as better looking receive higher instructional ratings, with the impact of a move from the 10th to the 90th percentile of beauty being substantial. This impact exists within university departments and even within particular courses, and is larger for male than for female instructors.
Again, male appearance is more important than female appearance on their rated job performance. This is not consistent with female appearance being a greater handicap in society than male appearance. Males face more appearance based discrimination.

. . . what it feels like for a man.
posted by dgaicun at 3:58 AM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, she's already 18? I stand corrected in my stupid mistake. However, the point was that heterosexist double standard: when gay people gawk at an "underage" (-looking) person it it's "OMG! Pedophilia!" but then "It's different when it's FEMALE." Kudos to those people who already caught that, who know sarcasm without a BLINK tag.
posted by davy at 4:18 AM on May 31, 2007


Dan Savage FTW
posted by Scoo at 4:21 AM on May 31, 2007


That is, she's Barely Legal now! [<= Probably NSFW.] I'd pay cash for that issue.
posted by davy at 4:22 AM on May 31, 2007


Hey, you got your free publicity in my discrimination!
No, you got your discrimination in my free publicity!
posted by Eideteker at 4:38 AM on May 31, 2007


Dan Savage FTW

"When it comes to long-term sex partners--particularly live-ins, husbands, and wives--a certain implied consent can be taken for granted…


I've been known to sometimes be sitting quietly near mrs. dreamsign, and suddenly shout "IMPLIED CONSENT!" and tackle her

(in a giant tickle assault)

Thank you, Mr. Savage.
posted by dreamsign at 4:54 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


give her a break. how would you feel if no one cared about you beyond your looks? if half the internet was slobbering over your picture, making lewd comments, but no one cares about any of the hard work you've put in? in short: yes, this *IS* a sexism issue. Read Miko's comment again and try to imagine what it would feel like to be reduced to a one dimensional piece of meat, as if your only purpose in life was material for stranger's fantasies.

if i was her, i would be on the phone to FHM and trying to take back some ownership of my own likeness. yes, I am a guy, and yes, i do think she's very hot. Some of you have been very witty in your statement of that, but there is an issue here and it should be recognized.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 4:59 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heeeeey... y'know what, it's not the same thing to

1) find someone attractive
2) say someone is attractive
3) talk about how you wish to do sexual things to said attactive person
4) build websites dedicated to a person you find attractive
5) photoshop head of person you find attractive onto porn*

None of these things are illegal, but they're different levels of creepy. I don't think anyone is bothered by the fact that many find Allison Stokke attractive. Few are bothered by 2. It's 3-5 that's getting people's goat.


*I haven't seen any, but then, I haven't looked... but I'll eat a hat if somebody hasn't done that yet.
posted by Kattullus at 5:02 AM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


-Make sure you chop out the bit where I tell you I've tried it.
Have you?
-

dreamsign, did you actually read my comment? When you have done that and realised that I was just giving my own little anecdote you might otherwise find that I wasn't asserting that it was the most difficult physical endeavour on earth nor did I intimate on any hallucinated reading that it required the skills of brain surgery. I just said that out of the sport of athletics it was my judgement that pole vaulting is the most technically difficult. I am happy you acquitted yourself well at the sport. Obviously it's just a run, plant, vault thing that goes off best with multiple repeats at practice.

But it's actually an undertaking where some decent coordination is needed - again, I'm not suggesting it's commensurate with dancing swan lake - and from my own experience, as someone who was very well coordinated and hugely 'sporty', shit happens, so I was merely saying good on those who do it successfully. Whereas you seemed to be convinced that I was putting this endeavour up there on some sort of hallowed pedestal or something. Surely there are other things on the internet more worthy of your critiques and misreadings?
posted by peacay at 5:03 AM on May 31, 2007


you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.


Females and males discriminate equally more harshly against males. O & females gossip about and insult female physical appearance more than men do.


if half the internet was slobbering over your picture, making lewd comments, but no one cares about any of the hard work you've put in?


Why is it difficult for some silly people to accept that there are a lot of people that would like this? I, for one, really would like it if 1000s of women were spreading my pic around the Internet with frenzied animal lust. Many other men and women would like this too. I don't expect everyone who lusts after my picture to care that I also won a 3rd grade spelling bee. Why would they? Why should they? It is irrelevant. I don't give two shits that this woman is good at jumping over a bar (OMG, horray!), and no one else has any moral obligation to care about this one way or the other in order to react to her image. Humans like to look at and fantasize about and discuss beautiful humans - particularly those of the opposite sex. Period. It has nothing to do with sexism - Christ. It is not wrong.

Some people like to be famous for their sexy. Some people do not. It doesn't matter much: If your picture is on the Internet, it might or might not happen to you, and there is nothing you can do about it. And if it does happen, no one did anything wrong, regardless of how it makes you "feel".
posted by dgaicun at 5:30 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Apparently, MeFi is a "boyzone" if some men post things you don't agree with. That's very empowering.
posted by smackfu at 5:40 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


We have to feel guilty for the thousands of generations of men before us who stood (and still stand) in power over women, dgaicun. Why is that so difficult to understand?
posted by Dave Faris at 5:42 AM on May 31, 2007


Aw jeez, peacay. I did in fact read your previous comment, but completely lost track of who had said it and didn't connect it with the "hyperbole and misrepresentation" shot (which I still think was unfair, but I wouldn't have responded the way I did had I realized you were the same person who had offered that anecdote).

Apologies.

Back to your second-to-last comment, then, properly viewed, what hyperbole and misrepresentation? I piped up with that anecdote because of comments like yours in the thread -- people saying "you know I've done this and it's damned difficult". Since I had tried it and had unexpected, untrained success with it, I wanted to offer the contrary perspective, but then moreover emphasize that it doesn't matter how difficult it is. The respect issue doesn't revolve around it. The self-identity vs. identity-to-others doesn't revolve around it. Really nothing here does. It's a red herring.

It really wouldn't matter if she were a brain surgeon. Some would still count as more notable her looks. Others would not. Some would remark at the combination. And frat boys would still be frat boys. It would make no difference at all.
posted by dreamsign at 5:54 AM on May 31, 2007


"how would you feel if no one cared about you beyond your looks?"

Speaking as a homely chubby middle-aged man who's missing a couple front teeth and can't afford to "dress well," I'd feel perfectly "normal." Put it this way: when I walk up to you waving a dollar bill asking "Do you have change for a dollar?" then I'm not panhandling you, trying to rob you or threatening to rape you, it's just that the coin slot on the pay phone, city bus or vending machine does not accept dollar bills. Or, to put it another way: somebody who takes one look at a photo of me and goes "OMG SO HAWT!" is probably kidding (at least).

So what was your point?
posted by davy at 6:01 AM on May 31, 2007


What's wrong with building flattering websites about somebody? If somebody wants to start a "davy is so sexy!" site go ahead.
posted by davy at 6:07 AM on May 31, 2007


HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:12 AM on May 31, 2007


how would you feel if no one cared about you beyond your looks? if half the internet was slobbering over your picture, making lewd comments, but no one cares about any of the hard work you've put in?

It would be nice to feel that another human being wanted me, even in a brief and anonymous way.

...so no, I don't have much sympathy.

But hey, I know that going on broadcast news can be tough on a person. All those cameras with their beady little eyes. Watching. Waiting. All-seeing, all-consuming.

So tell ya what, I stand ready to substitute for her in all future public appearances. I am utterly serious.

Next time any member of the media calls, tell her to drop me a line, because I will totally stand in for her. Press conferences too. Send me airfare, and I'm there. I promise to read the cue cards she writes for me, no ad-libs, no breaking character.

Really. If fame is such a horror, I am prepared to help shoulder the burden.
posted by aramaic at 6:33 AM on May 31, 2007


So it's come to this, then?

A picture of a pole vaulter, albeit an attractive pole vaulter, has become an Internet meme?

A picture of a pole vaulter doing nothing but just standing around obstensibly waiting for her next vault has become an Internet meme?

I thought memes had to involve incongruously bizarre or embarrassing situations -- frankly, I expected some kind of risque "oops" picture when I clicked on that link, given all the buildup. I checked to see if anything goofy was going on. Nope. Heck, people, she's not even swinging the pole around like a lightsaber or anything.

It's like I don't even know you anymore, Internet.
posted by Spatch at 6:51 AM on May 31, 2007


As a guy, I think the problem most guys* who say "I would LOVE this kind of attention from the opposite sex" are thinking of hotties like Allison here gawking at them constantly.

I'm not exactly a man about town, but I've turned a head or two, and there is a very wide chasm of difference between a coquettish smile and unwanted drunken advances, especially if you don't find the woman attractive, physically or personalitywise. You ever see those bodyspray commercials with the women saying "bow-chicka-wow-wow" at guys wearing the product? It's damn akward.

I can't even fathom what it's like being a girl, especially a small, pretty one, surrounded by humans, many of them larger, stronger, testosterone and hormone fueled who want to violently force something into my body. Some girls like that kind of attention, but I can at least understand why this young woman isn't grateful for it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:55 AM on May 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm willing to bet she's got just a bit more physical strength and fortitude than you're giving her credit for here, Uther. She's 5'7" and can polevault. And she's probably much faster and lighter on her feet than the average large and testosterone- and hormone-fueled dude. I pretty much agree with you here and all, I'm just sayin'.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:05 AM on May 31, 2007


unwanted drunken advances

What are these, and where can I get some?

My offer stands.
posted by aramaic at 7:06 AM on May 31, 2007


how would you feel if no one cared about you beyond your looks? if half the internet was slobbering over your picture, making lewd comments, but no one cares about any of the hard work you've put in?

I'll try & paraphrase my earlier essay (which had some links missing):

The picture is *not* her. It's an image. Just as pictures of tall 14yos dressed up in designer gear, with professional makeup, hairstyling, photography & photoshopping in womens' magazines are *not* the girls themselves, but *images*.

If & when you flick through fashion mags, do you pause to consider the real person behind the photo? Not for a fucking second, right? It's a picture. You react to it as a picture. End of story. Of course, you know there is a real person who posed for it, but you (should) understand that the shot was the end product of an entire process whose aim is to abstract some kind of value or meaning (eg beauty) in a deliberate & systematic way, in order that you react to an image of what an idealised person (or garden or house or lifestyle, as the case may be) might be like.

This whole process is so exceedingly obvious that anybody who has issues with the gap between reality & appearance in media has failed to come to grips on even the most basic level with the very fundamentals of media in the 20th & 21st centuries.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:07 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Complaining about being beautiful is like complaining about being white, in terms of the privilege and opportunity it affords you. And if beauty is truly that terrible a burden, then it's easily solvable: just press your face against a hot stove for a second or chug a cool mug of colloidal silver.

So choose.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:09 AM on May 31, 2007


I guess that my vagina must have robbed me of my sense of humor, because I just don't get the joke.

How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bul---

Oh, to hell with it.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 AM on May 31, 2007


(for the record, I come down on the 'stop whining, you little spoiled promqueen prettygirl,' side of this but you probably knew that. People like her get to be hot shit and be admired for whatever and they get to bitch about the fact that people not as wonderful as them are checking them out. boo hoo)
posted by jonmc at 7:13 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


for the record:

lesbian flatmate #1: "she's quite hot"

lesbian flatmate #2: "she's got a bit of a tummy"
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:14 AM on May 31, 2007


I mean seriously, women weild tremendous erotic power that lets them manipulate men, (especially non-attractive men) and they get to get indignant about it. It gets a bit wearying after awhile.
posted by jonmc at 7:19 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I do regret that this very metafilter thread has pole-vaulted the meme she so detests, and Google has officially dubbed her "spicy."
posted by Dave Faris at 7:25 AM on May 31, 2007


If your picture is on the Internet, it might or might not happen to you, and there is nothing you can do about it.

I tend to agree. You can't put the feathers back on the chicken, at this point. Her family needs to turn off the computer now. Her father is going to drive himself insane reading stuff that will scare him to death, most to all of it which is harmless.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:38 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Her father is going to drive himself insane reading stuff that will scare him to death, most to all of it which is harmless.

Her dad isn't scared, he likes sex offenders, perverts put food on the table at the Stokke home...

Defense attorney Al Stokke, pleading on Friday for Judge Richard Tooheyto sentence teacher Sarah Bench-Salorioto only three years in prison, made the same argument for leniency I would have: "Where was she when Iwas 13?"

When the case went to trial, however, defense attorney Al Stokke argued that Park wasn’t responsible for making sticky all over the woman’s sweater. He insisted that she made the married patrolman make the mess—after all, she was on her way home from work as a dancer at Captain Cream Cabaret.

As for the daughter, well, you can't put the genie back in the bottle, the best you can hope for is that one of your father's clients isn't stalking you.
posted by MikeMc at 7:53 AM on May 31, 2007 [6 favorites]


You know what? She is wearing athletic clothing that doesn't cover or hide much-does she think people WON'T look?

Midriffs are sexy. If you don't want to be hot don't dress hot. If you do dress hot expect attention.
posted by konolia at 7:58 AM on May 31, 2007


I'm certain that no females have ever, EVER commented on male football players' "tight ends" and that my friend is simply lying when she says she only watches baseball to stare at mens' asses.

As a fat ugly person myself, long assumed to be lazy and stupid despite my actual merits, I have very little sympathy for people who think it's a burden to be beautiful.
posted by Foosnark at 8:06 AM on May 31, 2007


If you do dress hot expect attention.

It doesn't work that way. If you dress hot you should only expect attention from people as hot or hotter than you. You have the right to be angry and creeped out by attention from people you do not find hot. See jonmc's comments above.
posted by MikeMc at 8:07 AM on May 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


Um. She's wearing athletic clothing BECAUSE SHE'S AN ATHLETE, yo. Overalls and a smock would be a little inappropriate. I'm sure this is easy to understand.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:07 AM on May 31, 2007


Also: nobody ever really sees anybody for who they are. That's life.
posted by Foosnark at 8:09 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


So it's come to this, then?

A picture of a pole vaulter, albeit an attractive pole vaulter, has become an Internet meme?


Nothing is becoming anything. Nothing is different today from a week ago. People and the internet have been obsessed about sex since day one and byte one. People find people sexy, good morning?
posted by scheptech at 8:13 AM on May 31, 2007


Um. She's wearing athletic clothing BECAUSE SHE'S AN ATHLETE, yo.

One could argue that the athletic apparel for women has been getting smaller and smaller over the years (not that I'm complaining). Do the midriff baring tops and tiny shorts make the women faster, more aerodynamic? Again, I'm not complaining about this trend.
posted by MikeMc at 8:19 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


That, I dunno. I would imagine that shorter and clingier (not restrictive-tight, but clingy) shorts would make running easier. Uhhhhhh...a bare midriff I figure just looks good and is more of a contemporary fashion thing, though it'd certainly be cooler than a full shirt. I'm sure that someone reading this knows better than me on this subject, though...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:24 AM on May 31, 2007


Stokke almost means 'stick' in Dutch.
posted by Harry at 8:26 AM on May 31, 2007


No fucking way! To anybody that missed that, MikeMc just connected some bizarre MeFi dots: Stokke's father is the human piece of shit shyster lawyer that defended the human piece of shit corrupt rapist cop from this Metafilter thread with human piece of shit lawyer arguments ("Your honor, filthy whores deserve the rape they're secretly begging for!")

Maybe poor little rich girl needs to be a little less traumatized by the opinions of some strangers on the Internet, and start being a little more traumatized by what a creepy asshole daddy is. Of course, that will never happen.
posted by dgaicun at 8:33 AM on May 31, 2007


That, I dunno. I would imagine that shorter and clingier (not restrictive-tight, but clingy) shorts would make running easier.

They must. Hundreds of sweaty, jogging, suburban fathers can't be wrong.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:35 AM on May 31, 2007


The sins of the father should not be laid at the feet of the daughter.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:36 AM on May 31, 2007


Huh, father's a scumbag lawyer. The whole kerfluffle suddenly makes a lot more sense.

Manufactured controversy ahoy!
posted by aramaic at 8:40 AM on May 31, 2007


We live in a surrealist society.
posted by Floydd at 8:44 AM on May 31, 2007


Manufactured controversy ahoy!

Are you suggesting that her dad created these sites and whatnot? I'm sorry, Mulder; I don't buy it.

They must. Hundreds of sweaty, jogging, suburban fathers can't be wrong.

I think you must mean millions. There's hundreds of these dudes in my neighborhood ALONE.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:50 AM on May 31, 2007


Also: nobody ever really sees anybody for who they are. That's life.
posted by Foosnark at 10:09 AM on May 31


The wisest person in the whole thread.

And on top of that you have assholes like Ynoxas who point out that, of course, if you're attractive you can't have any problems
posted by Sangermaine at 11:55 PM on May 30


I didn't say she didn't have any problems, but being attractive, fit, and talented is not one of those possible problems.

Also, thanks for calling me an asshole then agreeing with basically my entire post. Asshole.

There's nothing else to say about this that hasn't been said 100 times by each side.

Basically, stuff like this serves as a stark reminder of how homogenous a community may seem on the outside, how very different it can still be.

People call MetaFilter an echo chamber, because probably 90% or more of the membership are against the Iraq war, but when something like this comes up, it shows just how varied the membership still is. This community regularly gets polarized, so I think we're still a safe distance from being an echo chamber and irrelevant.

As for being a boyzone, I love how that gets trotted out all the time, especially in threads that are overrepresented (membership-wise) by females, such as this thread.

And note noone here is saying they want to do perverse sexual acts to her, and except for a few jokes up top, there hasn't even been any "I'd hit it" type tripe either.

Basically, you have half the membership being put on the defensive for finding her attractive. How dare someone find her physically attractive without getting to know her first, finding out her hopes, her dreams, what she wants to do for a career, and memorizing all of her accomplishments since kindergarten. Because, of course, you can't REALLY find anyone attractive unless you know if they got perfect attendence in 4th grade or not.

She's a grown woman of magnificent build and striking facial features. As a heterosexual male, I will not apologize for finding her attractive.

And yes, jealousy is a huge part of it. No matter how much and how vehemently it is denied.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:51 AM on May 31, 2007


It doesn't work that way. If you dress hot you should only expect attention from people as hot or hotter than you. You have the right to be angry and creeped out by attention from people you do not find hot.

That basically explains everything since high school.
Do I owe you some kind of a therapist's fee or something?
posted by dreamsign at 8:51 AM on May 31, 2007


What jonmc said. Especially considering he's not an unattractive man himself.
posted by davy at 8:53 AM on May 31, 2007


Are you suggesting that her dad created these sites and whatnot?

Uh, no.
posted by aramaic at 8:58 AM on May 31, 2007


Huh. I am raising a daughter too. I would be very happy to see her turn out into something like Allison, together with the internet attention, minus the possibility of stalking.

There are a lot of ways I can quickly think of turning such attention into a good thing for oneself and/or for the wider public. She (and her "enlightened" father) chose to whine instead. What a waste of a good opportunity. Make money from endorsements, attract attention to pole vaulting (a very recent sport for women, a barrier breaking). Talk about the poor in your community, or campaign for better athletic ads and products for women's clothes and gear. Or mistreatment of elephants in Africa, or AIDS in the young, or teen pregnancy or drugs or ... But stop whining, please.

Furthermore, I find extremely sexist to say that a woman should dress like that or the other so that she does not attract attention. Yes, burqa too? Attraction based on physical appearance is something that precedes the internet (I agree with Ynoxas) and affects both sexes. I would only hope that my own daughter will disregard and raise above such superficial attention and focus on what is important.
posted by carmina at 8:58 AM on May 31, 2007


um, rise not raise. I think.
posted by carmina at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2007


Actually dgaicun, I've met a few "poor little rich girls" (and boys) who were creeped out by a parent's professional ethics and/or what s/he did for a living and so on. As "class-war" as I am I don't think the kid is responsible for the parent.

As for "scumbag lawyers," if you're ever arrested for something troublesome do you think you'll be crying for your mother? In the U.S.A. every defendent deserves a lawyer, whether s/he thinks s/he's guilty or not.
posted by davy at 9:02 AM on May 31, 2007


In ancient Greece the athletes were nude. I think that would be a fine idea, though jock straps or sports bras might make sense.
posted by davy at 9:07 AM on May 31, 2007


Can I just say, as someone who is bewildered (though in a fun way) by the overly sexualized tight outfits of female track, volleyball, cheerleader, etc players - that it's amazing the parents (of this girl, and on this thread) have no problem with their kids performing in front of leering local strangers in public - but an image on the Internet is somewhat more threatening to their safety?

I once was eating at a Taco Bell and an entire team of sixteen year old girl volleyball players came in to order Chalupas. I've never heard a Taco Bell that silent, not before and not since.
posted by Peter H at 9:15 AM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry, aramaic...what I mean to say is, what ARE you suggesting? That the family's angst (warranted or not) is all a show so that...uh...something? As far as I can tell, this is not of any great benefit to them. I guess there's no such thing as bad publicity or whatever, but I don't really see the profit to be made here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:16 AM on May 31, 2007


I've never heard a Taco Bell that silent, not before and not since.

This would be an amazing final line in a Lovecraftian horror novel.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:19 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Do I owe you some kind of a therapist's fee or something?

Nah, I'm just doin' my part to try and make the world a better place.
posted by MikeMc at 9:25 AM on May 31, 2007


She's a grown woman of magnificent build and striking facial features. As a heterosexual male, I will not apologize for finding her attractive.

And yes, jealousy is a huge part of it. No matter how much and how vehemently it is denied.
posted by Ynoxas

Condescending hogwash, ynoxas.

I can't even fathom why you bother touching your fingertips to your keyboard to produce such drivel.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:27 AM on May 31, 2007


have no problem with their kids performing in front of leering local strangers in public

I personally think that this is the leering strangers' problem (what a sad bunch), not the kids' or their parents'. I mean, just because you are sexually oppressed/misguided/disoriented (by your society, your church or your parents) should the other people conform to you?
posted by carmina at 9:30 AM on May 31, 2007


In ancient Greece the athletes were nude. I think that would be a fine idea, though jock straps or sports bras might make sense.

Dude, Imagine this dude playing that way, or this one. You might reconsider.
posted by jonmc at 9:33 AM on May 31, 2007


kfb: I am suggesting that the angst of the family is largely manufactured Stranger Danger and that they have arranged the big-media coverage specifically to play on the scare factor. To be more specific, I am suggesting that the first thought of her parents was not disgust/panic/fear but rather the realization that they could leverage this photo/incident.

As for the why: well, I was completely unaware of this person. Now I perceive her as some kind of up-and-coming heroine of vaulting. That's worth quite a lot of money, potentially.
posted by aramaic at 9:34 AM on May 31, 2007


Jody I agree with you (but not your tone). Ynoxa's comment about jealousy was totally unwarranted by anything that has been posted in this thread. I am surprised though, because he has been a very nice chap.
posted by carmina at 9:37 AM on May 31, 2007


As a heterosexual male, I will not apologize for finding her attractive.

Nor should you. But it's your compulsion to express your attraction to a bunch of strangers - to what end I'm unsure - that makes you seem so very heterosexual and manly.
posted by liam at 9:41 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


just because you are sexually oppressed/misguided/disoriented

Ha, that's a total troll but I have to say, don't you mean "just because others respond to tits and ass"?

I'm totally not advocating any censoring of any part of society. I love the whole mess. But if I were a parent and my kid was in athletics I think I'd get ulcers worrying about all the videocameras locked on zoom lens, etc. The irony of this whole discussion is that Allison Stokke didn't get caught in her bathroom with this outfit, you know.
posted by Peter H at 9:41 AM on May 31, 2007


hehe, the "you" in my post did not mean you, Peter! Unless you were part of the leering crowd ;-)
Anyway, I agree that it is unpleasant to think of your child as a subject of someone's lewd thoughts, but these thoughts will be hardly dispelled by other outfits, really. I just want to keep refusing said thoughts to guide my (or my kid's) life.
posted by carmina at 9:51 AM on May 31, 2007


Jody I agree with you (but not your tone).

Carmina

Reading back - I don't like my tone either. You've made a good point - and a calm defence of ynoxas.

I should have taken a deep breath before posting.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:51 AM on May 31, 2007


Would I tell my friend in private about a hot women and the thoughts that crossed my mind when seeing her?

Yes, in private.

I wouldn't say them out loud where the woman or anyone else could over here me or post them on the internet though.

It's not wrong to think dirty thoughts, it's just not right to share them in a public place that could make that person feel uncomfortable.
posted by Mick at 9:56 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wow, this thread is mostly really distressing.

I agree that becoming an internet celebrity is something anyone even minimally in the public eye has to expect now. But that doesn't change the fact that making (or facilitating the making of) disgusting, sexualized, public comments about an 18-year girl is still WRONG. The end result is that she's now been deterred (even if only temporarily) from participation in public life. If you can't see the connection between sexism and this particular brand of deterrence, then I don't know what to tell you.
posted by footnote at 9:58 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's not wrong to think dirty thoughts, it's just not right to share them in a public place that could make that person feel uncomfortable.

That strikes me as an important distinction, and one that should perhaps be made more often.
posted by aramaic at 10:00 AM on May 31, 2007


Dude, Imagine this dude playing that way, or this one. You might reconsider.

Maybe baseball would finally get the attention that it really deserves.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:04 AM on May 31, 2007


should the other people conform to you?

It depends on whether your point is to get people to conform to you or not.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:05 AM on May 31, 2007


The sins of the father should not be laid at the feet of the daughter.

s/laid at/sprayed on/
s/feet/face/
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:05 AM on May 31, 2007


It's not wrong to think dirty thoughts, it's just not right to share them in a public place that could make that person feel uncomfortable.

If "that person" is uncomfortable with someone's publicly expressed "dirty" thoughts perhaps "that person" shouldn't frequent web sites where such thoughts are expressed. Hell, much of the internet is devoted to "dirty" thoughts. I refuse to censor myself in anticipation of someone, somewhere reading something I've written and being offended.
posted by MikeMc at 10:20 AM on May 31, 2007


Well, ok then MikeMc. But don't whine when people call you a jerk.
posted by footnote at 10:24 AM on May 31, 2007


Hry MikeMc, I'm offended! Go wash your mouth out with the beverage of your choice!
posted by davy at 10:28 AM on May 31, 2007


So if the Internet fan is rich, handsome and famous and has other desireable personal attributes is he an "admirer" or a "potential stalker"? Would Brad Pitt be "slimy" and his attentions "degrading"?
posted by davy at 10:34 AM on May 31, 2007


So if the Internet fan is rich, handsome and famous and has other desireable personal attributes is he an "admirer" or a "potential stalker"?

Biggest oxymoron I ever did see!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:37 AM on May 31, 2007


But that doesn't change the fact that making (or facilitating the making of) disgusting, sexualized, public comments about an 18-year girl is still WRONG.

Which part makes it WRONG in ALL CAPS? She's 18 so she's an adult, and she was in public.
posted by smackfu at 10:46 AM on May 31, 2007


MetaFilter: I really want to know why this hasn't been deleted yet.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:49 AM on May 31, 2007


if half the internet was slobbering over your picture, making lewd comments, but no one cared about all the hard work you've put in...

"bruce, have you checked myspace? 5000 high school girls, so far, are on record as having masturbated over your picture."

*shrug* "hope one or two of them can climax, that's the mt. everest of masturbation, like me whacking off to janet reno."

alice has been getting more face time with guys ever since she purchased some revealing outfits. betty resents this, feels for some reason she can't compete with alice in this event, so her only chance is to craft a collective victimology, whereby both she and alice are victims of patriarchal lust. so when betty says "you're objectifying alice, and by extension all women, you creepy juvenile pervs" what she really means is "you're looking at her and not me, damn it, i'm just as good as she is, i was brought up in a society which consciously redistributes benefits to those perceived to have less opportunity, so an entire gender is engaging in discrimination against me!"

affirmative action for ugly people is an idea i could maybe....almost support....nawww. the civil rights movement has been going on for over four decades and we're still being discriminated against. what i really need to do is craft a collective victimology in which women who don't show the same enthusiasm for me as they do for brad pitt or george clooney are oppressing my entire gender, but i haven't a clue as to how to proceed. any suggestions?
posted by bruce at 10:58 AM on May 31, 2007


bruce: the problem with your (hamhanded) hypo is that *Alice* dislikes the attention in this case.

Which part makes it WRONG in ALL CAPS? She's 18 so she's an adult, and she was in public.
posted by smackfu at 1:46 PM on May 31 [+]


If what you're saying is that by merely appearing in public, all women deserve to have harassing sexualized commentary directed at them, then I don't really have anything else to add to my argument.
posted by footnote at 11:05 AM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


So is it the disgusting part? If they are tasteful comments on her looks, is that OK?
posted by smackfu at 11:07 AM on May 31, 2007


Of course tasteful comments would be less objectionable. But that kind of commentary can still be unwelcome (especially in person) if it comes from strangers. If you're a person who, you know, cares about other people, you wouldn't do it.
posted by footnote at 11:09 AM on May 31, 2007


bruce: the problem with your (hamhanded) hypo is that *Alice* dislikes the attention in this case.

When *Alice* is performing in public in front of thousands of spectators she doesn't get to choose the quality or quantity of the attention she receives. I can't think of a better way to put it than that.
posted by MikeMc at 11:43 AM on May 31, 2007


Ah, it's the ole "she asked for it" defense. Thanks again, guys, for making my point for me.
posted by footnote at 11:49 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


retooling an old joke for a new ethic:

ma'am, may i have your permission to regard you from a somewhat carnal perspective?

do you want the long answer or the short answer?

well, what's the short answer?

the short answer is no.

i'm awfully sorry to hear that. just out of historical consciousness, what was the long answer?

oh dear sweet merciful jesus in heaven, no.
posted by bruce at 11:51 AM on May 31, 2007


When *Alice* is performing in public in front of thousands of spectators she doesn't get to choose the quality or quantity of the attention she receives. I can't think of a better way to put it than that.

Perhaps not, but one would hope she could expect to be treated with a level of respect by those she encounters. Telling her she's so pretty it makes you want to masturbate doesn't qualify. If you think women find that sort of thing flattering, go ahead and try it at the bar this weekend.

I disagree with the idea of censorship, and sadly the internet is full of people who will express their ideas in ways I don't like (damn you, rest of the internet!), but these internet memes that focus on real people have real consequences for the people involved.

I'm just saying I can't blame her for being upset with what has been happening.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:58 AM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ah, it's the ole "she asked for it" defense. Thanks again, guys, for making my point for me.

Give it a rest already. I'm sure Michael Vick would rather not be getting the type of attention he's been getting lately but I'm sure many people would say "He asked for it!". The only difference is that Michael Vick is getting paid and Allison Stokke isn't (although she should consider turning this meme into cash).
posted by MikeMc at 12:00 PM on May 31, 2007


MikeMc, just keep on digging that hole for yourself. If you want to compare public attention towards an NFL player accused of having a dog-fighting ring, among other various scrapes with the legal system, and this girl... well, ok then.
posted by footnote at 12:11 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


thank you, footnote - and well said.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:14 PM on May 31, 2007


You're very adept at that if-then sort of argument, footnote. If you want to be a passive-aggressive jerk, then I don't know what to say about it.

If you want to be a moo-cow, then bah bah bah.

If you can't, then I just don't know who or what or when or why or how.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:17 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


There is no reasonable basis for comparison other than both of them are athletes and have received unwanted attention. Vick has received this attention because he is a suspected criminal; Stokke has received this attention because someone took a picture of her. What footnote is saying is that if the incidentals of their cases are sufficient to make them the same for you, you have either applied insufficient thought to the cases or are dumb. If it is the former, there is no point in continuing the conversation until that extra thought is thought; if it is the latter, footnote may as well continue the conversation with his/her dog.

(This is my interpretation, not my sentiment -- if I felt that way, I wouldn't bother to elucidate why I think it's a dumbass comparison. MikeMc doesn't seem dumb to me, but I do think he might be flailing a little.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:28 PM on May 31, 2007


That photograph is so powerful it goes way beyond sex, well on the way to something like divinity.

It may take Allison Stokke a few years to realize it, but she (along with the photographer) has achieved a thing which men's lusts cannot really pollute.

Or women's, for that matter.

She is an avatar of something truly new under the sun, in my opinion, and I will be surprised if this image doesn't end up in poster form on the walls of any number of young girls and women for whom the wishes of men are of negligible current concern-- and may never become so.
posted by jamjam at 12:40 PM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


MikeMc, just keep on digging that hole for yourself.

Gladly.

To recap:

Allison Stokke is an adult, not the child that many of you want her to be.

Allison Stokke is an attractive, successful female athlete.

Attractive, successful female athletes get noticed by men. This phenomenon is not unique to Allison Stokke.

Men make lewd comments about women they find sexually attractive. This phenomenon is not unique to Allison Stokke.

Allison Stokke has become a public figure.

Many people that come be public figures do not like the attention they receive. This phenomenon is not unique to Allison Stokke.

Allison Stokke and/or members of her family talking to a reporter from one of the nation's most widely read newspapers and, reportedly, appearing on Fox News belie the idea that her her 15 minutes of internet fame have caused her to become a virtually shut-in. If she and her family want the attention to fade, this is not the way to do it.

Better to be lusted after like Allison Stokke than laughed at like "Tron Guy".

I think that's all I've got.
posted by MikeMc at 12:40 PM on May 31, 2007


Well, she is gorgeous, but what is even more beautiful and intriguing is the position she's in and her look and her attitude.

It comes across as the modern female athletic equivalent of Michaelangelo's "David", sculpted to reflect the moment he first saw the Philistine Goliath.

She looks as if she could vault over the Arc de Triomphe without breaking a sweat.

Competency in, and a love for what you're doing is ultimately very attractive.
posted by Relay at 12:49 PM on May 31, 2007


Better to be lusted after like Allison Stokke than laughed at like "Tron Guy".

That's it then, MikeMc?

You reap either ridicule or lewd commentary from the great internet unwashed if you become a public figure for any reason.

Hard cheese if you do.

And if you complain about it - what?

You should only complain in a small circulation publication?

That's your argument?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:56 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


You reap either ridicule or lewd commentary from the great internet unwashed if you become a public figure for any reason.

Been to a supermarket checkout lately?
posted by cortex at 1:07 PM on May 31, 2007


As a heterosexual male, I will not apologize for finding her attractive.

Nor should you. But it's your compulsion to express your attraction to a bunch of strangers - to what end I'm unsure - that makes you seem so very heterosexual and manly.
posted by liam at 11:41 AM on May 31


You misunderstand.

Half of this thread is basically an admonishment that regular heterosexual men should not find this girl attractive, for a myriad of reasons: she's too young, she didn't want the attention, what she is wearing is not at all revealing, she's a pole vaulter not a pole dancer (heh, I like that one), etc etc etc etc etc.

What I'm saying is that, in reality, it is perfectly ok for a normal heterosexual male to find this fully grown woman (again, she can now legally don a military outfit and carry a machine gun for her nation) attractive. Sexually attractive even (GASP!). I'm surprised that so many of you apparently live lives devoid of sexual attraction and expression.

As an individual, you have no ability to declare whether a separate observer finds you attractive or not. This is something that is WHOLLY outside of your control. When you walk down the street, some people may regard you well, some may regard you poorly, some may disregard you completely.

This is life. This is the way it is. There is absolutely nothing any of you can do about it, no matter how much you shout and gnash your teeth.

carmina and jody: I didn't first raise the point of jealousy, I was responding to someone else long up-thread.

But, is jealousy a component of all of this hand-wringing in this thread of "this is just WRONG you perverts!"? Absolutely.

Jealousy is one of the fundamental emotions humans feel. It is every bit a part of being human, it is undeniable and often unwelcome. Unless all of you are zen masters able to totally control all of your emotion, you have likely experienced jealousy in the past. If you live such a charmed life that you've never felt jealousy yourself, you can be sure you have been the TARGET of jealousy.

Are there at least some people in this thread (male and female) that are jealous over this girl, her body, her achievements, her notoriety? Yes. Of course there are. Some have even basically admitted it.

Jealousy, again, is much older than the internet. There is great likelihood that another member of her SAME TEAM harbors profound jealousy over her looks and talent. Why is it so ridiculous for me to suggest that jealousy may rear its ugly head out her on the intertubes?????

The people who react the most viciously to the"oh my GAWD how DARE you look at that young tiny girl with a wanton eye?!?!?!?!!" are the ones you have to watch out for.

Again, to sum up, it is perfectly natural, normal even, for someone to admire the physical beauty of this girl. It is also perfectly normal, expected even, for some people to be threatened by and jealous of her.

Same as it ever was. And ever will be.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:12 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


And if you complain about it - what?

You should only complain in a small circulation publication?

That's your argument?


No.

Complaining in large circulation newspapers and/or on national television will not make the unwanted attention go away, it will only serve to bring her to the attention of even more people. The Stokke family is trying to feed the beast with one hand and push it away with the other. Good luck with that.


You reap either ridicule or lewd commentary from the great internet unwashed if you become a public figure for any reason.

Been to a supermarket checkout lately?

'nuff said.
posted by MikeMc at 1:20 PM on May 31, 2007


Also, I have to concur that the proper way to deflect all this unwanted attention is not via nationwide publications and telecasts.

Regardless of everything else, that part of her pleading is insincere on its face.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:25 PM on May 31, 2007


God, I still don't get it.

Is the reason it was posted here because she did an interview with the washington post? Is that it? That must be it, because that is the only thing seperating this post from those on some of the seedier regions of the internet.

Or did Haley from YTMND get a post on the blue as well?

Or perhaps Julianna Rose Mauriello, aka Stephanie from Lazy Town?

Any "hot chick" posted on the _chan sites?

If not, would they get a post on the blue if they were to do an interview with a newspaper on said "memedom?" Skeptic-quotes used because it ain't much of a meme as much as it is "dude check out this hot chick I found online." Starwars kid, now THAT was a meme. Parodies were made, edited versions of the video were released. It could be imitated. It was a dynamic, creative process that many people contributed to. This single picture of a hot high school student is completely static. That's all it is. A picture. Of a hot chick. Ta da! The only way you could make it a true "meme" is if you stuck Brian Peppers or Pedobear next to her in a humorous animation and submitted it to YTMND. Either way, I still wouldn't think it belonged here.

The interview isn't anything of substance either. Astounding! Women sometimes feel as though they are only seen for their looks, while their other qualities go unappreciated? You don't say. That is news to me.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:27 PM on May 31, 2007


This has got to be the weakest thing I've seen to be outraged about in months. Someone competing in a spectator sport is, ah, spectated. Who would have thunk it?

Dave Faris writes "...Like the rest of us."

Speak for youself, I couldn't wait to be gone from that hell and I wouldn't return for a year's salary tax free.

davy writes "If somebody wants to start a 'davy is so sexy!' site go ahead."

Got a portait of yourself in Spandex? Email's in profile.
posted by Mitheral at 1:29 PM on May 31, 2007


feed the beast with one hand and push it away with the other

Heh, I read that first part as feed the breast. I know I know, get my own blog, etc, etc.
posted by Peter H at 1:32 PM on May 31, 2007


She is an avatar of something truly new under the sun

Well, something hoped-for perhaps or something "better". But hardly new. There's nothing new about women wishing to be free of concern about sex, to do things without considering what men think about them sexually.

Well, she is gorgeous, but what is even more beautiful and intriguing is the position she's in and her look and her attitude.


Of course. It's just a great photo: her apparent unaffected poise, confidence, and grace combined with athleticism are what sets this image apart from a million other high-school sports snapshots or shots of merely "pretty" women. We're seeing a moment in time before this particular athlete becomes stage-managed, media-coached, all too aware of herself, and ultimately jaded and made cynical by the whole experience - which it seems, has already begun.
posted by scheptech at 1:41 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Again, to sum up, it is perfectly natural, normal even, for someone to admire the physical beauty of this girl. It is also perfectly normal, expected even, for some people to be threatened by and jealous of her.

Problem is, your summary (above) is flaccid and promiscuous.

I am not the least threatened by/jealous of this stunning image of a gorgeous athlete - but apparently I have to point this out first.

Who says it's "perfectly natural" to feel bitter about an athlete's beauty? Not everyone here for a start!

Who says we all have to wink understandingly at lewd comments?

Who says you can't use the media to say you didn't want to become wanker fodder?

Who wrote that rule?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:57 PM on May 31, 2007


You have the right to say whatever you want; you don't, however, have the right not to be wanker fodder.

The online drooling is rather unseemly, yes, but as I said before; if this is this worst thing that happens to her this year, well, she's one lucky person.
posted by Justinian at 2:05 PM on May 31, 2007


flaccid and promiscuous

How can one be both? Were you punning?
posted by Peter H at 2:09 PM on May 31, 2007


Jody:

I'm not sure I can follow what your beef is, exactly. Also, if my summary can be both flaccid and promiscuous at the same time, then more power to it. (That is a joke, in case you are reading with an angry squint. Just trying to lighten the mood.)

As far as the media... it's not a rule, it's just a modicum of common sense. If you want out of the public eye, you don't accomplish that by going on nationwide television. "I'm going on television to tell everyone to quit paying attention to me! I don't want to be famous! Okay, i'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille". Come on Jody. If you were her parent, would you recommend a Fox! News! interview for her?

There have been very few "lewd comments" here, certainly none by me. What exactly are you winking understandably at? I don't think anyone, at metafilter anyway, is promoting harrassing this girl. But simply saying "my, that's a pretty girl" is not harassment.

That really is the crux of the matter. Many people here want to say, quite scathingly, that simply admiring her physically is somehow degrading or dehumanizing. That simply noticing someone is attractive is an affront to, at the least, all of womanhood, if not all humanity. These sort of hysterical condemnations do little but to show how out of touch the complainers are.

If you are completely unaffected by jealousy, then congratulations, you have achieved what 99% of humanity has been unable to do throughout history. Those who believe in the Bible would point out that the first murder occurred over this very thing.

I'm not saying YOU JODY TRESIDDER are jealous of this particular girl, but surely you're not going to say jealousy does not exist.

Are you saying you do not have the capacity to be jealous over another human being?

Or are you saying that there is no way anyone could be jealous over this particular girl?

I'm just again not sure of what your actual complaint is.
posted by Ynoxas at 2:20 PM on May 31, 2007


As an individual, you have no ability to declare whether a separate observer finds you attractive or not. This is something that is WHOLLY outside of your control. When you walk down the street, some people may regard you well, some may regard you poorly, some may disregard you completely.

This really isn't the point. Nobody (at least not me) is saying that you shouldn't find her attractive. We're not threatening your god-given right as a hetrosexual man to find her hawt. The issue is whether it's right for her to be subject to an onslaught of unwelcome, distasteful sexual commentary.
posted by footnote at 2:23 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


And the whole jealousy argument is bullshit! Get it through your skull -- the pretty girls *don't like* unwanted sexual attention. In fact, no girl likes unwanted sexual attention.
posted by footnote at 2:26 PM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ynoxas, the funny thing is that I agree with what you are saying in this thread overall. However, I strongly believe that you are oversimplifying and being unfair to those who disagree with you by evoking the notion of jealousy. The "objectification" of a person (regardless a woman or a man, a child or a grownup, a public figure or not) is an issue addressed regularly, and has been discussed very seriously here and elsewhere, although I often find myself at odds with what is said (hence the quotes). Now, why you would choose to gloss over all this by saying "oh, you are jealous" is beyond me. And you, I think.
posted by carmina at 2:34 PM on May 31, 2007


Relay says"It comes across as the modern female athletic equivalent of Michaelangelo's "David", sculpted to reflect the moment he first saw the Philistine Goliath."

Hit the nail on the head with that one. I was thinking she looked like a greek athletic statue but she does have the musculature of a "David".
Lets see this thread hit 300 shall we.
posted by Iron Rat at 2:49 PM on May 31, 2007


An accusation of jealousy is basically an ad hominem argument and doesn't address the issue at hand - someone may in fact be jealous, and still have a valid or even unassailable point. Even so, the use of an accusation of jealousy to undermine an argument here presumes an unknowable, interior emotional condition about people the accuser has never met. There is no way you can measure someone's motivations over the internet. There's also a hint of presumption that the people being accused of jealousy are less successful, attractive, secure, whatever than the post subject (else, why would they feel jealous?). That's not a safe assumption about people one doesn't know.

As an argument, it just carries no weight.
posted by Miko at 2:52 PM on May 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


"In fact, no girl likes unwanted sexual attention."

That might explain why it's called unwanted sexual attention.

Lets see this thread hit 300 shall we.

Workin' on it.
posted by MikeMc at 2:57 PM on May 31, 2007


I read much of the thread without having looked at the picture. The pic's not what I expected. Eh. (How DO these things take on such a life of their own on teh intertubes?)

I understand the "I don't care about the pwoblems of pwiddy people" sentiment expressed here. (I'm a female who's not so drop-dead that I get to bat my eyelashes out of every traffice ticket or have strangers volunteering to donate me a kidney - even if I don't need one.)

But OTOH -- for all those guys who still don't seem to get why this kind of attention might bother women:

Imagine you have a daughter and a son who became the object of such attention. Which of them would you be more concerned for, and why.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:00 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Come on Jody. If you were her parent, would you recommend a Fox! News! interview for her?"

Gonna surprise you, I think, by saying yes, I would.

(I've done the equivalent myself, so I'm not talking entirely off the cuff).

You have the perfect right to answer back. You have a limited time frame in which to do it. Her father sounds like an oaf (if some stuff posted here is accurate) - but he strikes me as someone with some knowledge of how the TV monster works.

Or are you saying that there is no way anyone could be jealous over this particular girl?

That IS what I'm saying. I have the same capacity for sexual envy as anyone else in real life. If I'm jealous of the effect of an image on someone I know, the problem is between me and that person: the image is simply a lightning rod.

Many people here want to say, quite scathingly, that simply admiring her physically is somehow degrading or dehumanizing

This, I think, is where you get wobbly and weak (i.e. flaccid) and promiscuous (not selective) in your assumptions about my complaint.

I find her picture absolutely fantastically gorgeous. She embodies strength, beauty, confidence - she's dazzlingly lovely - it is one hell of a shot, she looks like a dream. It is a remarkable image.

You wanna step over the line, just because you're a bloke? You wanna talk about poking her, giving her one, stripping her, using your own pole? Expand her aperture...

Why?

And if YOU don't want to "think out loud" - why on earth do you want to defend the other idiots who do? What gives?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:00 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


The issue is whether it's right for her to be subject to an onslaught of unwelcome, distasteful sexual commentary.

how is it an "onslaught" if she has to seek it out herself to even know about it?

she's "subject" to rude commentary only to the extent that she actually seeks it out and reads it. granted, most people would probably want to read something about themselves, but if you were bothered/upset by what you read, wouldn't you stop reading it?

why do we have to pave the world in leather so that ms. stokke doesn't have to wear shoes?
posted by Hat Maui at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2007


Imagine you have a daughter and a son who became the object of such attention. Which of them would you be more concerned for, and why.

Good point you're right. I can't quite remember how somebody phrased something very similar to " two sexes, there has to be a double standard,” but said much better then I just did.
posted by hexxed at 3:20 PM on May 31, 2007


I'm here to say that I don't want to be wanker fodder. But if some women want to spank the monkey to my image, well, who am I to complain?

What have we learned?

1. It's okay to look at the photograph, find the photograph artistic and the woman portrayed in it to be beautiful, poised, athletic and desirable.

2. It's okay to fantasize about knowing, loving, and having sexual relations of all sorts with a woman with such demeanor.

3. It's not okay to post to a public site slobbering comments about what demeaning sexual acts you would like to do to her.

4. It's not a good idea to frequent sites that encourage or tolerate #3.

5. It's not a good idea to feed the media monkey if you want the media monkey to go away.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2007


300!
posted by Peter H at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2007


Nobody (at least not me) is saying that you shouldn't find her attractive. We're not threatening your god-given right as a hetrosexual man to find her hawt.

I'm not going to accuse you of it, but there is certainly, absolutely, that notion in this thread that men are not supposed to even acknowledge her attractiveness. How many people have already chastised men because she's too young, when she's clearly not. How many have already told us that we're "horny old men" and "old enough to be her father" and "need to get out sometime".

I've made no distasteful sexual commentary, and without rereading the entire thread, I don't think there has been any on metafilter.

It's like both sides think the other is arguing against something that isn't even present. At least not here.

And the jealousy thing riles tempers I know. But I'm going to abandon it since I think it is just too hot of an issue to handle or to discuss appropriately, at least in this thread. Suffice to say I'm not saying to any particular person "you're just jealous". I must not be stating my case in the proper terms, because I can't imagine what I have to say being so controversial.

But, in the interest of all, I will retract my statement that jealousy has anything to do with this. I just do not have the energy to defend this at this time, so I'll withdraw it. If I inadvertently harmed anyone then I apologize.

Jody: yes, that does surprise me. But you of course are free to do or promote whatever you feel is right. I just cannot see how taking her from an audience of hundreds of thousands to an audience of millions makes anything any better. I would be willing to bet you a pint that searches for her on the internet went UP after the tv interview, not down, which to me seems counterproductive.

Also Jody, while you're buying me that pint (I prefer Guinness), we could talk about how men express themselves, and how some things we do come across as crude without meaning to be monstrous.

I personally don't want to say anything crude about our young pre-Olympian, except I did like the "pole vaulter not pole dancer" joke I made.
posted by Ynoxas at 3:25 PM on May 31, 2007


Ah drat, got bounced off the 300 spot by a freakin list! (no offense to Mental Wimp)
posted by Peter H at 3:25 PM on May 31, 2007


I concur with Ynoxas: this baffling post is proof that she is only getting increased exposure as a direct result of going to the press with the whole thing, and in turn, only getting exposure due to the fact that she is really good looking. Had she not gone to the press we never would have seen it here, I think.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2007


You mean I won? OMG, I never win anything. Oh, oh, will Fox News be calling?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


You win a Gen-u-ine Pe-ter-H Favorite is what you get m'boy! Don't spend it all in one place!
posted by Peter H at 3:40 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


smackfu: It says she used to be a gymnast... I wonder how many woman get into pole vaulting and high-jumping because they are too tall for gymnastics.

I have one data point to support your hypothesis - daughter of a friend of my dad's. Apparently gymnasts are comfortable with height, and it's an easy transition.
posted by of strange foe at 3:53 PM on May 31, 2007


I've made no distasteful sexual commentary, and without rereading the entire thread, I don't think there has been any on metafilter.

Ynoxas,

Cast thine eyes towards the top of the thread - you'll see 'em.

I agree there's been a bit of temper fraying about what's not even in this thread in vast quantities.

But blokes enabling blokes is one of my bugbears - I've seen it many times, and it's a disservice to the gender.


I loved the pole vaulter, not pole dancer comment - funny and bang on - & I would have actually given it a shout out - but wasn't sure who originated it.

I would be willing to bet you a pint that searches for her on the internet went UP after the tv interview, not down, which to me seems counterproductive.

Very likely.

It might well produce just more lousy male gibbering (and I'll probably owe you a few pints, granted.)

But it would be a damn shame to hide her as a role model.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:20 PM on May 31, 2007


too tall for gymnastics

Is 5'7" really too tall for gymnastics? In my books, any girl below that height is verging on petite, which also makes me wonder: how many people looking at the photo are imagining her to be somewhere between about 5'10" & 6", because I imagine that a person of her height & build in real life might actually look a bit like a circus freak, as do most fashion models.

(i am not sure if this is more humanising or dehumanising, but i'm stuck on this image v reality thing)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:27 PM on May 31, 2007


Ellen Feist survived,
and so will Alli$on.
posted by Fupped Duck at 4:44 PM on May 31, 2007


Ellen Feist survived

Since 1723, apparently. Stamina on that one.
posted by cortex at 4:46 PM on May 31, 2007


Did Ellen Feist give rise to the term "feisty"?

I'm not sure how well "stokky" will weather...
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:22 PM on May 31, 2007


Wow, I feel for this girl. She's 18 - legally an adult, but 18 is still young - and she was photographed by chance (apparently she didn't pose for this), and the next thing she knows she's wank material on the web.

Is it tough to understand how reductive that is? If she wanted to be a pinup, presumably she'd have followed that path and rejoiced in the result. She didn't. And then she said so, using the widest means she could find. That action seems to have had an impact on her now-disbanded fanclub site.

I see that men are jealous of the reaction. But I don't know how better to explain how unwelcome this kind of attention is than this: when everywhere you go, and everything you say or do, is considered fodder for an irritatingly unmitigated reductive view of your entire self, you get mean, and you get suspicious, and you start saying "fuck off." That is not a fun conclusion. I don't think anyone would envy that.
posted by goofyfoot at 6:54 PM on May 31, 2007


Goofyfoot; here's the thing. Are you under the impression that everything I go and everything I do isn't considered fodder for a reductive view of my entire self because I'm a guy?

I assure you that everything I do is, indeed, used to make irritatingly reductive views of my self. It's called "being human". Does it suck? I suppose. At least if I could wave a magic wand and change things I would, but I don't have such a wand and human beings strike me as being unlikely to magically change in the absence of such a wand.

People drooling over Stokke's photo - even in public - doesn't do her any actual harm unless she lets it psyche her out. As a talented athlete I'm going to assume she knows how to tune out bullshit and will be just fine.
posted by Justinian at 9:04 PM on May 31, 2007


doh! "everywhere I go" above, not "everything I go".
posted by Justinian at 9:05 PM on May 31, 2007


"She is an avatar of something truly new under the sun."

I'm not sure howe totally New! and Unprecedented! it is, but yes, in that photo she's a beautiful feminine-looking two-breasted Amazon, like a Ripley who doesn't need to kill any space aliens or even shave her head to be powerful. That's not just a sexy image, it's an icon worthy of a classic master. And all she was doing was adjusting her ponytail.

And the shoulders on that girl. It's to weep.
posted by davy at 9:20 PM on May 31, 2007


Justinian: People drooling over Stokke's photo - even in public - doesn't do her any actual harm unless she lets it psyche her out.

I suppose. It still seems rude to me, just like it'd be rude for people here to drool publicly over female Mefites.

Women receiving unwanted attention from strangers has been discussed a number of times on MetaFilter. Some past threads.

Comment from SportsFilter: ... 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.
posted by russilwvong at 9:32 PM on May 31, 2007


You're considered a "guy." I'm sure you're sick of it, Justinian. I'm a little tired of being considered nothing but female, too.

So let's endeavor to have a better understanding of each other. What is the website you participate in that considers equality a baseline?
posted by goofyfoot at 9:45 PM on May 31, 2007


Well, now we're seeing where we do disagree. I don't agree that you can't drool over the attractiveness of someone you consider an equal. Yes, doing so in public may be crass depending on the circumstances, but crassness itself isn't exactly a hanging offense. More of a "that's really juvenile" sort of thing.
posted by Justinian at 9:54 PM on May 31, 2007


(Or maybe we don't actually disagree, I dunno.) I just think the whole thing is being oberblown and doesn't actually illuminate much about actual injustices in society, of which there are many. Some of those injustices are also disproportionately aimed at women. We should work on eliminating those injustices.

Dudes drooling over a photo, not so much.
posted by Justinian at 9:57 PM on May 31, 2007


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.

It just goes to show that you should only ever operate under a nickname or pseudonym, as in capoeira or metafilter. It mightn't save you from the most determined of stalkers (after all, how many competitive pole vaulters can there possibly be in the world?), but it's a start, and will eliminate 99% of the attention. After all, most of the online droolers probably wouldn't even bother to stalk further than a google or two.

I asked before how this thing is substantially different to an image of a woman in a womens' or mens' magazine. Each is equally, if differently, a reductive view of the real, living human behind the lens. In this case, as opposed to most images in magazines, Ms Stokke's name was linked with the photo, allowing people to research her. If that hadn't happened, this might have ended up as just one amongst tens of thousands of shots of attractive women taken every single day of the year.

She is an avatar of something truly new under the sun

Actually, an avatar is a new incarnation of something very old under the sun, or even older than the sun itself. That's been bugging me for a while now. /pedantic

posted by UbuRoivas at 10:02 PM on May 31, 2007


Justinian: I just think the whole thing is being overblown and doesn't actually illuminate much about actual injustices in society, of which there are many.

It's not about injustice, it's about technology. As a society, we're still working out the implications of the Internet, the power of the anonymous Internet mob effect, etc. One of the implications is that people are becoming involuntary celebrities. If something like this happens to you, how should you respond? If future employers do a Google search on your name, and embarrassing material comes up (as in the AutoAdmit case), what can you do about it?
posted by russilwvong at 10:47 PM on May 31, 2007


I asked before how this thing is substantially different to an image of a woman in a womens' or mens' magazine.

A woman who poses for Maxim does so willfully, and gets paid for it, to boot. And while a picture of Kristen Bell in Maxim might just be a picture of her, she also very much has a life (and career) outside that picture, so to her, that's not typically going to be a very threatening situation, psychologically or physically. Internet nerds wanking to her isn't something invading her space.

Hell, even Ellen Feiss voluntarily got on camera and appeared in a national TV commercial.

Stokke, on the other hand, is just a girl who happens to be very attractive. She was the subject of an extremely attractive photo.

We would all agree that catcalling women is wrong, weird, and creepy. But when people pass around this image and comment on it (VAULT MY POLE HONH HONH HONH), they're not exactly catcalling her, or doing anything illegal, or even anything we might automatically call wrong - I mean, I have the right to tell my friends I find certain women attractive, and hell, I even have the right to tell my friends that I'd like to have sex with certain women - it can still be pretty damn creepy to have those comments show up IN WRITING through a simple Google search for your name. It's different to say things in private than to put things public.

But on the Internet, it's hard to say how private and how public certain things are. A forum/messageboard/imageboard/whatever might seem quite a bit more private than it actually is.

The fact that people have been faking Facebook profiles or calling her personally is also crossing the line as well. Pretty damn gross. It's messed up to have to change your email address because people you don't know, and people you don't WANT to know, want to fuck you.

There isn't really one specific lesson to take from this. I'm not going to apologize for the fact that I am a male who is stimulated visually. I also don't go around posting obscene comments about women (or men, for that matter). It's not something I feel especially inclined to do, but on top of it, it sure would suck to have one's name attached to a great deal of nasty comments.

It's also weird and creepy to know that there are a significant number of men passing around your photo, ostensibly for ogling/wanking purposes. Things can be weird and creepy without anyone doing anything specifically wrong.

Hopefully, this will all blow over soon enough, and Stokke will have a wonderful college career and so on.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:03 PM on May 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


There isn't really one specific lesson to take from this.

I take this back - when people shared her real name, something happened. That's when the snowball started rolling. And I know, at least as a 4chan lurker, that people only asked for her name to find more pictures.

But the effect was the same. That's when it went from "here is a hot photo" to "time to create a fanpage with the real name of a real person."
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:11 PM on May 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's to this athlete! May she achieve what she's worked for.
posted by goofyfoot at 11:21 PM on May 31, 2007


Holy shit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:34 PM on May 31, 2007


I just think it's weird that she's getting so touchy that people think she's good looking. Won't there still be time for pole vaulting when she's past her prime modeling years?

Just a thought.
posted by lanycwriter at 11:39 PM on May 31, 2007


OK, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the thread, but did want to add this, if it hasn't been already:

Read Miko's comment again and try to imagine what it would feel like to be reduced to a one dimensional piece of meat, as if your only purpose in life was material for stranger's fantasies.

Why must other people's opinions of, or thoughts about, Ms. Stokke define her? Just because a bunch of guys on the internet make lewd comments about and/or masturbate to a photograph of you, doesn't mean that it becomes your purpose in life, or that your only value is the gratification your appearance provides. If these people don't know her, why does their opinion of her matter? These clearly are opinions based in ignorance, on the mere viewing of a few photographs, and are correspondingly shallow.

I think that this young woman could learn a very valuable lesson about the power of defining yourself as you choose to be, not as other people (strangers, natch) might try to define to you.

She's upset because she became somewhat well-known (for a little while) for something she did not intend to, her admittedly striking physical appearance. She would prefer to be known for something for which she has great passion and commitment to, the sport of pole vaulting. Fine, then just keep doing what you're doing, take your awesome scholarship and build a fantastic college career, go all the way to the Olympics if you can, just choose to define yourself.

Yes, we men are a pervy, lusty lot, but so what? That's how the world is, and you can let that trait of others define you, or you can choose to define yourself. Sheesh.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:43 PM on May 31, 2007


Sticherbeast: I think in your second comment just above you answered for yourself exactly what I was going to answer to you.

Appreciating beaty in images is pervasive. Many are paid to pose, others are candid snaps. I'm sure blokey sports mags are full of shots of hot female athletes, who are neither paid, nor explicitly consenting to the shots. In that sense, I am sure that this one is not all that different to thousands of pics on the newstands right now, except that this one just happened to be passed all over the intarwebs.

It did seem to cross the line a bit when people got "personal" & started googling, setting up myspace pages etc: That's when it went from "here is a hot photo" to "time to create a fanpage with the real name of a real person."

Anyway, in spite of all the stuff about what she would like to be remembered for and so on, my guess is that she's unlikely to be remembered much at all, except amongst netizens of late May 2007, unless she embraces the Kournikova effect.

Even if she wins Olympic gold, hell, heaps of people do that all the time, and unless they are utter standout superstars, their memory outside their circle usually consists of little more than an entry in an almanac somewhere that nobody but a total boffin even bothers to open. Can you tell me any of the names of any of the Cuban womens' volleyball teams over the yeares? I'm sure they're all hella hot & have stacks of gold medals.

My guess is that this pic will end up on one of those awful motivational posters, or perhaps in one of the Despair Inc parodies, with a caption like: "Hotness - don't worry, nobody really cares if you're not good enough to clear the bar"

Somebody in a cubicle in a few years' time will download the screensaver, chuckle for a second or two, and think to himself, "hey, that girl's kinda cute...wonder who she is? Some Greek or Spanish athlete, I guess..." before getting back to work checking the financial figures in some spreadsheet.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:19 AM on June 1, 2007


I feel a sudden craving for Wheaties.
posted by Durhey at 12:34 AM on June 1, 2007


Wow UbuRoivas,
That last comment really says it all...hard to tell if it's oafish satire...

Or the ultimate in defensive asshat male posturing.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:17 AM on June 1, 2007


Yes, we men are a pervy, lusty lot, but so what? That's how the world is, and you can let that trait of others define you, or you can choose to define yourself. Sheesh.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:43 AM on June 1 [+]


You guys really don't get it. Women bombarded with unwanted, unhinged sexual attention feel *harassed.* They feel threatened. They feel like they don't want to go out in public. And you know why? Because it's chiefly women who get raped and sexually harassed. It's utterly clueless to say she should just shake it off as mere male lewdness and ignore it. It would have been stupid disregard for her own safety not to start monitoring things to ascertain whether her "admirers" posed any threat.

What happened to Allison Stokke has little to do with "appreciating beauty." Of course, for her own good it's best if she can laugh it off. But that doesn't change the nature of what's happening here.

I think the only parallel for straight men is to imagine being ceaselessly sexually harassed by a passel of aggressive gay men. I think in that situation, they'd be a lot less sanguine than when opinining that Allison Stokke should just passively accept being a target.
posted by footnote at 5:52 AM on June 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


Why must other people's opinions of, or thoughts about, Ms. Stokke define her?

You're a black boxer in the 1920s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You're a a Jewish athlete, living in a Polish ghetto in the 1930s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You're a Japanese-American athlete in California in 1940 with four great years of college track ahead of you. Why let the comments of others define you?

This is a bigger issue than reacting to comments from others you don't like. It's part of a larger system of behavior that reduces and demeans women's efforts and becomes a barrier to success. It falls along a continuum of behavior that is mildly to violently oppressive - of course, my examples are admittedly extreme because we know that even more oppressive behavior followed. But they are on the same continuum of belittling, devaluing, and dehumanizing the target of discussion.

Others' comments obviously do not define Stokke. Adversities like this can certainly be overcome by people who have personal strength, good support, and a degree of luck. However, that should not be taken to mean that the adversities themselves are valuable elements of our culture, worthy of protection. Often they are nothing but archaic holdovers or suppressed angers.

Yes, we men are a pervy, lusty lot, but so what? That's how the world is, and you can let that trait of others define you, or you can choose to define yourself.

It's sad to me that any men would ask us to accept this as their self-definition. Couldn't we reach for a more mature definition of male sexuality, one that didn't encourage men to commodify images of women (largely in order to call other males' attention to their own heterosexuality)?
posted by Miko at 6:16 AM on June 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's sad to me that any men would ask us to accept this as their self-definition. Couldn't we reach for a more mature definition of male sexuality, one that didn't encourage men to commodify images of women (largely in order to call other males' attention to their own heterosexuality)? is more or less female sexuality?
Made that clearer for your readers there. Listen, the trouser-snaked among us don’t sign up for how our bodies and our minds work when it comes to sexuality; any more than the boobied among us choose to disproportionately fall for self-confidence, not paying sufficient attention to whether the personality attached to that self-confidence is respectful and considerate. If you take a course of testosterone for six months and come back and make the same argument, I’ll listen to you, but as you express it there, you seem to be assuming a level of choice in this that I don’t think many men have.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 7:02 AM on June 1, 2007


I’ll listen to you, but as you express it there, you seem to be assuming a level of choice in this that I don’t think many men have.
posted by Aidan Kehoe 5 minutes ago


jesushchristonapogostick!!! This is not about male reactions to female bodies. It's about sexual harassment. Are you trying to say that men have no choice but to sexually harass women they find attractive?
posted by footnote at 7:11 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Depends on how you define sexual harassment.
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on June 1, 2007


You're a black boxer in the 1920s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You're a a Jewish athlete, living in a Polish ghetto in the 1930s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You're a Japanese-American athlete in California in 1940 with four great years of college track ahead of you. Why let the comments of others define you?

This is a bigger issue than reacting to comments from others you don't like. It's part of a larger system of behavior that reduces and demeans women's efforts and becomes a barrier to success. It falls along a continuum of behavior that is mildly to violently oppressive - of course, my examples are admittedly extreme because we know that even more oppressive behavior followed. But they are on the same continuum of belittling, devaluing, and dehumanizing the target of discussion.


Miko, that's great. Fly the flag. In the meantime, should I introduce you to my sister, who has almost finished her medical specialisation & who completed an M.Sc on the side in aboriginal health whilst raising a newborn? Shall I introduce you to my other sister with honours in botany, working on environmental impact studies? Would you like to meet an ex of mine with a Ph.D in literature and the University Medal for her Honours thesis? Shall I introduce you to my mother, a nuclear fucking physicst until she retired? And her sister, another doctor? And another sister, a university lecturer? And another sister, a top-ranking public servant-cum-artist-cum-art-skewl teacher?

Guess what? Every single one of them children or grandchildren of WW2 refugees from the Baltic states. Starting from nothing. Not letting the comments of others define them. Including, dare I say, not giving a flying fuck for a second for your assertion that It's part of a larger system of behavior (sic) that reduces and demeans women's efforts and becomes a barrier to success. It falls along a continuum of behavior that is mildly to violently oppressive

Fuck that idea. In the real world, real women do things, whatever the hell you might think.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:32 AM on June 1, 2007


jesushchristonapogostick!!! This is not about male reactions to female bodies.
Yes it is.
It's about sexual harassment.
No it’s not. Anyway, that was a false dichotomy. I mean, the Olsen twins are actresses, not porn stars, and if this is sexual harassment, then so is a *lot* of material online about them.

Saying ‘I’d like to fuсk her’ about someone out of earshot and saying ‘I’d like to fuсk you’ to someone (who doesn’t want to hear it) in earshot are distinct things. The former is crass; the latter is crass and threatening, and I’m happy to call it sexual harassment. From my reading of the stories, no-one’s done the latter.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 7:34 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Aside from 4 or 5 comments by jackass dumbfucks at the top of this thread, the only one harassing anyone one here is you, footnote.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:34 AM on June 1, 2007


Wow UbuRoivas,
That last comment really says it all...hard to tell if it's oafish satire...

Or the ultimate in defensive asshat male posturing.


*puts on asshat & postures:

defensive? against what? i don't see your point. and how does the comment say it all? *puzzled*

satire, yes, absurdity, more so. oafish? my username does derive partly from Ubu Roi, after all, as you would have noticed, not Pantagruel. seriously, the thing is, she *will* be forgotten. That's the way of things. A sponsorship deal & a gold medal, and she might be in the limelight for five years or so, like that Russian turned Australian who was the toast of the Aussies for a while - Tatiana Grigoievna? - another pole vaulter. Whatever happened to her? Who knows or cares? Who would remember her in ten years time? Easy...nobody but her family & the Olympic almanac nerds.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:46 AM on June 1, 2007


Aside from 4 or 5 comments by jackass dumbfucks at the top of this thread, the only one harassing anyone one here is you, footnote.posted by Dave Faris

Leaving aside the provocative inanity of the second part of your comment, Dave - there has been a ton of mumbles about that old standard - the ungovernable guy sexual response.

Oh sure, many of the defensive men here acknowledge there are lines that are best not crossed (i.e. comments from the "jackass dumbfucks").

But NOT crossing that line seems to be regarded like stifling a fart at a dinner party as a nod to ridiculously dainty manners.

Being crass has nothing to do with being manly.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:57 AM on June 1, 2007


You're a a Jewish athlete, living in a Polish ghetto in the 1930s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You're a Latvian couple with a newborn, caught between the Nazis & the Soviets in 1944. You spend six years in refugee camps before being given the privilege of emigrating to Australia, with nothing to start you off (literally) but a bucket and a spade. And yet you raise doctors, scientists, university lecturers...

Why let the whingeings of wannabe ivory tower feminists define you?

Why pander to the mollycoddled pathetic whinings of privileged prettygirls who had their photos taken in shorty short short short shorts (for the jocks only!) and now act like it's the toughest thing in the world? Get a fucking sense of perspective, already!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:02 AM on June 1, 2007


The world has changed.

This post makes me want to scrap my flickr account.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:11 AM on June 1, 2007


Ok, well lets put it this way : your shrill accusations won't convince anyone who isn't already a fellow misandrist.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:42 AM on June 1, 2007


Why pander to the mollycoddled pathetic whinings of privileged prettygirls who had their photos taken in shorty short short short shorts (for the jocks only!) and now act like it's the toughest thing in the world? Get a fucking sense of perspective, already!posted by UbuRoivas

What in the world is eating you?

She's a brainy young woman photographed to advantage in entirely appropriate athletic gear.

She's not had yet old enough to become one of your "doctors, scientists, university lecturers..."

For crying out loud - she's already more than fulfilling the implicit demands of privilege.

In your earlier comment, you got your jollies condemning her to an imaginary future as just another forgotten Olympic statistic...you envisaged her as some bit of totty on some cubicle jockey's screen for his passing idle, pleasure.

Do you imagine any of the women you claim to admire would applaud your comments here?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:43 AM on June 1, 2007


Do you imagine any of the women you claim to admire would applaud your comments here?

I'd have to defer to their better judgement, but I'd imagine that they'd regard her "obstacles" as trivial in the extreme.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:53 AM on June 1, 2007


Do you imagine any of the women you claim to admire would applaud your comments here?

on second thought, fuck, yeh, they would. they, like me, would say "get some fucking perspective, already!"

ps - "claim to"?!? ok, i concede defeat. having some intarwebs wonkers drool over you is tougher than surviving the eastern front of WW2 & making a success of your life out of nothing. I can totally understand how tough it is on Ms soon-to-be-forgotten. shit, if only our families could trade places. (obviously, i'd keep the upcoming lucrative sponsorship deals for myself, as compensation for all the horiffic hardship...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:03 AM on June 1, 2007


(horrific)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:04 AM on June 1, 2007


UbuRoivas,

So unless you make a "success of your life out of nothing" - you're not allowed to complain about anything?

Funnily enough, my own relatives fought at Gallipoli, Culloden (take your pick uburoivas, I got plenty!) for far more important things than claiming bragging rights for being a sanctimonious prick about a young teenage athlete.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:38 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Guess what, guys? You don't get to chose whether or not somebody takes offense at or feels threatened by your comments. If you find out that they feel offended or threatened by you, then what do you do? Apparently you say, "keep on taking it, little girl, cuz I gots my freedom of speech as a manly man." That's all well and good, but it still makes you an asshole. Saying that "women are some of my best friends" (the UbuRoivas defense) doesn't really change things.
posted by footnote at 10:05 AM on June 1, 2007


Wow, UboRoivas, your comment about your female relatives is amazingly boorish and paternalistic and full of unintentional irony. So, what, did your father die and now you're the official spokesperson for the women in your family? Are you sure you've gotten all their thoughts on feminism correct...or does it matter?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:21 AM on June 1, 2007


Oh, and a shoutout of support to Jody Tresidder and Miko for what must surely feel like pounding their heads against a brick wall.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:26 AM on June 1, 2007


This is basically about what kind of person you'd like to be. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would go to the mat defending adolescent commentary.

the trouser-snaked among us don’t sign up for how our bodies and our minds work when it comes to sexuality; the trouser-snaked among us don’t sign up for how our bodies and our minds work when it comes to sexuality;


This evolutionary argument about sexuality doesn't really hold water. Have you not noticed that female sexuality has changed its expression quite a bit during the last few centuries? That women's sexual behavior today is a very far thing from what it was in, say, the 1880s? Nothing about our outward sexual behavior is immutable and programmed.

In any case, I repeat that this is not sexual behavior - it's social behavior. It's one thing to be attracted to or aroused by a photo. So why not sit home and wank to it and keep it to yourself? That's not what happened here. Instead, what happened was that a large number of people felt compelled to display it in their own context and with their own commentary, for the benefit of others of their own gender. If you think it's all right, why not put up a photo of your own wife, daughter, sister, mother or girlfriend and let the guys have at it?

Those are suggesting that this isn't equivalent to extreme incidences of oppression in history are correct - it's not equivalent. But if you don't look at the second part of my statement -- that this incident is on a continuum with any number of ways of demeaning women, mild to violent, then you're being disingenous. This incident, seen on its own, is not a big deal. This incident seen as part of a large social pattern of men's public treatment of women is a pretty big deal.
posted by Miko at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


UbiRoivas, some of my best friends are successful women, too.
posted by Miko at 10:29 AM on June 1, 2007


Miko: This is a bigger issue than reacting to comments from others you don't like. It's part of a larger system of behavior that reduces and demeans women's efforts and becomes a barrier to success.

Uh huh. Except this is bullshit. Your comment with this assertion has now collected 100 favorites.

My comments debunking it with evidence, have gone largely ignored, lending yet more credit to the aphorism that a lie will travel half way around the world before truth can get its boots on.

You haven't bothered to respond. Where is your evidence?
posted by dgaicun at 10:29 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


What evidence are you talking about? That you would like this?
posted by Miko at 10:31 AM on June 1, 2007


Oh, I see what you're talking about. Never mind. No, I haven't bothered to respond to the 240+ comments in this thread because a whole lot of them are poorly thought out, off topic, aggressive, or just didn't take the conversation much of anywhere. The thread really isn't about the relative attractiveness of men or about attractiveness at all.
posted by Miko at 10:33 AM on June 1, 2007


The thread really isn't about the relative attractiveness of men or about attractiveness at all.

Uh, that's nonsense, it's about being unfairly judged based on appearance, and you are wrong - male appearance is a larger barrier to success (pay and performance evaluation) than female appearance. Period. So. . .

Sorry to rain on the irony party, but this IS what it's like for a girl: no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.

. . . is false. Males are disproportionately judged, punished, and rewarded, over and above their merit, on their physical appearance. Not females - Males.

And. . .

It's part of a larger system of behavior that reduces and demeans women's efforts and becomes a barrier to success.

. . . . . . is false. Males are disproportionately judged, punished, and rewarded, over and above their merit, on their physical appearance. Not females - Males.

Get it? You are wrong.
posted by dgaicun at 10:52 AM on June 1, 2007


a sample of 737 male and female MBA graduates from the years between 1973 and 1982

Damn, that's some pretty old data, dgaincun. 1989 study.

As far as the second one, you might want to read the whole paper. It's more complicated than you suggest: minority status, experience, and formality of dress were also factors; the group of attractiveness raters was made up of only six people, and the study authors admitted having problems with the data that came from the group. They also mention that students did not rate a single one of the professors even one full point above an average of 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 in attractiveness, perhaps due to their "inability to judge these older people." In any case, it was not a study of whether there is an 'attractivenes penalty' for men, it was a study of whether productivity was the factor influencing the rates of pay, and whether productivity might be associated with beauty.

All I'm left with is the awareness that many people here are willing to work very hard defending this behavior. Simply put, men are not uncontrollable beasts. Why should it be so shocking to hear "This behavior is rude, inconsiderate, and damaging to relationships, and should be discouraged."?

You don't have to be a women's studies graduate to understand that sexual predation and violence and unwanted sexual attention are part of nearly every woman's life, and that this is part of that continuum. To ask that we thoughtfully evaluate what we could conceivably have to gain from shrugging off, defending, or encouraging more behavior like this seems only respectful in light of our shared humanity.
posted by Miko at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Males are disproportionately judged, punished, and rewarded, over and above their merit, on their physical appearance. Not females - Males.

??????????????
posted by gsteff at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


You're a black boxer in the 1920s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You're a a Jewish athlete, living in a Polish ghetto in the 1930s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You're a Japanese-American athlete in California in 1940 with four great years of college track ahead of you. Why let the comments of others define you?


Miko, these comparisons are so extreme as to be meaningless--the question of degree here does, in fact, matter. Moreover, I think you made my point for me: because many strong black or Jewish individuals did not allow the perceptions of others to define them, others' perceptions were, in fact, eventually changed for the better. Inner strength, not victimhood, created change in the extreme situations you mention, as well as in more mundane ones.

Couldn't we reach for a more mature definition of male sexuality, one that didn't encourage men to commodify images of women (largely in order to call other males' attention to their own heterosexuality)?

I didn't choose to define my sexuality, I just pay attention to how I am. I often find women visually appealing (arousing, even), I just choose to be polite about it--like most men do. That many men feel like posting drooling, juvenile comments on websites regarding a woman's appearance (and/or what they'd like to do with her) speaks to a specific few individuals' immaturity. The debate here should not be, in my view, about the base nature of men's sexuality (or more accurately: some people's view of one typical aspect of men's sexuality), but rather about the fact that communication protocols, because of the perception of anonymity, are different on the internet. If this were 10 or 15 years ago, and Ms. Stokke's photo made it into Sports Illustrated, I assure you that just as many men would have had similar reactions--the difference is that she never would have heard about it.

I would chastise those making lewd comments about her image to consider whether or not they'd say such things to this young woman personally--I'd bet that nearly all absolutely would not. They'd do what most men do, every day: if we see an attractive woman, we think "hey!" and move on. Some people haven't learned that it's rude to be rude, no matter the issue, setting, audience, whatever. The issue all of this kerfluffle about her picture raises is far less about men's sexuality (and all of the indignance coming from some posters is, from my perspective, equally as tiring as the lecherous comments that started all this), and more about the more transparent, public nature of discourse that used to be kept inside one's head or among a few people. Attractive young women have always had lecherous thoughts thought about them, I promise. The difference now is that, unfortunately, Ms. Stokke heard a bunch of those thoughts.

If you're going to be indignant about all of this, please direct indignation appropriately: toward the behavior of those individuals who have behaved poorly, inappropriately, or in a harassing manner toward Ms. Stokke. But please, stop with the thought police, and stop with the strawmen: no matter your opinion, it's perfectly OK for men to be as we are--what we think is our own business; how some few behave is what's at issue.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:10 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]



Where does privacy begin and end is an interesting question, or rather what is public and private. Did she sign up for this by participating in a sport, most certainly not. What I am pondering since reading this post is what mechanisms do we have in place to curb if not prevent the machinery of the Internet from plowing over someone's privacy/rights? Do any of have those privacy/rights?

Specifically I am thinking of the entire opposite - Paris Hilton. Someone nearly begging for the spotlight, and has encouraged the feeding of the gossip & paparazzi. If she were to say, please leave me alone, I don't think it would hold much water since tomorrow she invites them to partake in her washing her car or something.

This on the other hand is uninvited, and is what bothers me. I wonder if the next step is for paparazzi cruising high schools to snap photos. This is only a step away from the various websites out there now. I would say it's wrong, but am not sure what would stop them if the students are performing in a public forum.

I say all this from the viewpoint of being tired of hearing about Lindsey, Paris, whomever and their drama. The other aspect that I question is if the attention is wanted at all. If she became a meme for outstanding talent and not looks, is that equally justified. I believe the attention should be on the exposure as well, not just the type of exposure.

(Note: I like my life and don't wish exposure, none.)
posted by fluffycreature at 11:11 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


dgaicun, your aggressive narrowsinglemindedness undermines any attempt at persuasion. The article you cite (I can only see an abstract) is not within a couple of light years of so-called proof of your wild-eyed assertions. It's an opnion, whether or not it throws in psychology, criminology or even Simpsons references. But seriously mate, you're coming off like an overbearing dick as far as my reading goes.

On preview: Oh, ok. Well I'll go read the whole thing (I was looking at the linked PubMed cite).
posted by peacay at 11:12 AM on June 1, 2007


What America needs are burkas. Then, women can be free to excel in whatever field they want, without the fear of being judged for the thickness of their thighs, or the size of their breasts.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:14 AM on June 1, 2007


(On preview:

It's one thing to be attracted to or aroused by a photo. So why not sit home and wank to it and keep it to yourself? That's not what happened here. Instead, what happened was that a large number of people felt compelled to display it in their own context and with their own commentary, for the benefit of others of their own gender.

We do seem to agree. Where I take issue with what you've said is that it quickly transgresses from the point on which we agree--that reprehensible behavior is reprehensible--to thought police, i.e., 'men shouldn't think and feel certain ways.')
posted by LooseFilter at 11:15 AM on June 1, 2007


I am just stopping by here to thank Miko for her articulate and well thought out comments. Her degree of calm is inspiring in no small measure. Thanks, Miko!

Otherwise, I am avoiding reading the other comments because I know many of them will make my head explode with frustration; and also because I've already spent way too much of my time on this planet talking around these points with people who have neither the will to understand or the.... what's the word. Humility? to listen to what anyone might have to say beyond their own sense of entitlement, enmeshed as it is in what must be, to them, relations of power that are utterly invisible.

But yay Miko!
posted by jokeefe at 11:26 AM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is 5'7" really too tall for gymnastics?

Dude, periods are too tall for gymnastics.

at the 1992 Barcelona Games, the average height and weight of American female gymnasts was four-foot-nine (1.45 metres) and 83 pounds (37.65 kilograms)
posted by goo at 11:30 AM on June 1, 2007


Moreover, I think you made my point for me: because many strong black or Jewish individuals did not allow the perceptions of others to define them, others' perceptions were, in fact, eventually changed for the better

PARDON??? Loosefilter.

I think you might want to rewrite the above for clarity (to put it mildly...)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:31 AM on June 1, 2007


about being unfairly judged based on appearance

No, there's an important difference. My original comment was not about being "unfairly judged based on appearance," which implies that somehow it would all be fine if people were fairly judged; it was that "women can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance." In other words, my objection to the behavior is not that the subject of the photo is pretty (or not pretty) but that her achievement in any field is still not free of the judgement of men about her appearance. This is symptomatic of the experience of many women when being publicly discussed: that though they may excel in any number of ways, their appearance is often emphasized, for the positive or the negative, over other qualities of personal worth.

I'm definitely not 'wrong' on this issue. My perspective is strongly supported by life experience, knowledge of women's history, and familiarity with plenty of research in the social sciences. I don't concede that men suffer more because of appearance on the basis of dgaincun's two studies, one based on 20-30-year-old data, and one based on a small sample testing a different hypothesis.

I would encourage anyone feeling unsympathetic to this point of view to spend some time reading about women and the media - the web resources alone are staggering. Also, ask some trusted women in your life how they feel about the images of women around them and the comments they hear about those images - or even about themselves and their own experiences living in a female body.
posted by Miko at 11:34 AM on June 1, 2007


I'd never advocate for thought police. Just voluntary change.
posted by Miko at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2007


Why pander to the mollycoddled pathetic whinings of privileged prettygirls who had their photos taken in shorty short short short shorts (for the jocks only!) and now act like it's the toughest thing in the world? Get a fucking sense of perspective, already!

It's amazing just how close to the surface the hostility is-- just below "Hawt!" and "I'd let her smoke my pole!" there's an easily ignited reservoir of anger and contempt.

This issue isn't about the men fumbling in their laps at the site of that photo. It's about the fact that she didn't consent to having it taken or distributed within a vast boys' club who are, at least in part, now frothing about their "right" to scrutinize and make use of her image for their own erotic purposes, whether or not she is comfortable with it. Try and use you imagination, guys... I know it's difficult to try and put yourself in that place of being held and evaluated by the gaze in all its social power and masculine privilege, and to try and construct in your mind all the complicated things that attend on that gaze for women (freedom of movement, for one), but give it a go, okay?

Okay, enough already.
posted by jokeefe at 11:37 AM on June 1, 2007


Miko, your criticisms of the paper are, to say the least, exceedingly weak and irrelevant. The paper still demonstrates no less than what I said it did, and you still offer no counter-evidence.

All I'm left with is the awareness that you will work very hard to ignore evidence and take accountability for your false assertions in this thread.

As to the "wrongness" of commenting on sexy pictures on the Internet, my crticisms of this have also gone ignored. That it is a form of "violence" is completely laughable.

The article you cite (I can only see an abstract) is not within a couple of light years of so-called proof of your wild-eyed assertions. It's an opnion,

Um, I provided three citations; regardless of what this "proves" (something I never suggested - I understand science, mmkay, thanks), how many citations did Miko provide for the opposite assertion which raked in 100 favorites, and 20 high fives?! I've certainly made the superior case here.
posted by dgaicun at 11:38 AM on June 1, 2007


Erm, site="sight".
posted by jokeefe at 11:39 AM on June 1, 2007


I've certainly made the superior case here.
posted by dgaicun at 11:38 AM on June 1 [+]
[!]


*dies in fits of hysterical laughter*

Um, no.
posted by jokeefe at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2007


Get it? You are wrong.

No she's not. Men are discriminated against/for on the basis of their appearance in a narrow professional context while women are discriminated against/for on the basis of their appearance in almost every social interaction in our culture. Get some context, here.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Give up, dgaicun. They've circled the wagons, and nothing will dissuade them in their frustrated headbanging self-righteousness.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:43 AM on June 1, 2007


Jody Tresidder: I'm not sure how what I wrote is being perceived as offensive? I'm thinking about, for instance, the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s--the primary engine of which was an oppressed group of people choosing to define themselves differently than they were being defined by those around them, and who chose to stand up for that.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:44 AM on June 1, 2007


but that her achievement in any field is still not free of the judgement of men about her appearance.

Right, and to the extent that "judgment" can be measured (in the form of reward and punishment) - this is a bigger problem and barrier for men - not women. Yes, you were wrong. Period.

I don't concede that men suffer more because of appearance on the basis of dgaincun's two studies, one based on 20-30-year-old data, and one based on a small sample testing a different hypothesis.

Please cite a superior and "newer" dataset supporting your assertion. Thanks.
posted by dgaicun at 11:44 AM on June 1, 2007


while women are discriminated against/for on the basis of their appearance in almost every social interaction in our culture.

Quantitative citations please. Thank you. /Comic book guy>
posted by dgaicun at 11:46 AM on June 1, 2007


Sorry, dgaincun, it's just that the thought of trying to cite almost everything ever published in the entire fields of social psychology and women's studies relating to gender, the media, and body image kind of exhausted me.

It's okay. There's not much further to say. When posting my first comment in the thread I knew it could become a boiling lava pit, and though I didn't want it to, I also didn't want this to become yet another place on the internet where the phenomenon was replicated.

It's heartening to see that lots of people agree that women in the public eye could be treated with greater respect and in a less sexualized manner. Anything anyone wants to do to help that happen, be they male or female themselves, would certainly be welcome to a large swath of the population. The first part is about making that case it can cause needless damage, hurt individuals, reduce trust between genders, and even depersonalize women in the eyes of men, making crueller actions seem less unthinkable.
posted by Miko at 11:49 AM on June 1, 2007


By the way, my thoughts and feelings about this have been ambivalent ever since I first saw the story a couple of days before it found its way here. But the drooling fratboys in this thread dissuade me from participating in the discussion. They've ruined the discussion. dgaicun is showing all the hallmarks of a crank on his hobbyhorse, the rest seem caught in an adolescent outrage. It's an embarrassment to MetaFilter.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:52 AM on June 1, 2007


dgaicun, I'm sorry I didn't go and read all the refs - I hit the linked 'evidence' here.

This does not change the fact that you have been acting like a dick.

Browbeating makes people walk away, not listen.
posted by peacay at 11:53 AM on June 1, 2007


Right, and to the extent that "judgment" can be measured (in the form of reward and punishment) - this is a bigger problem and barrier for men - not women. Yes, you were wrong. Period.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

This isn't even worth arguing with. Honestly, it's not.

It's an embarrassment to MetaFilter.

Agree with EB on this one.
posted by jokeefe at 11:54 AM on June 1, 2007


LooseFilter, w/r/t the Civil Rights movement - don't you see that's exactly what's going on here? These discussions - not always comfortable ones - are one of the ways in which the Civil Rights movement made its gains - along with, not coincidentally, the women's rights and gay rights movements. Lots of the people still hanging in this thread feel that we are defining ourselves by this very act of voicing our thoughts on the matter. The Civil Rights movement wasn't a result of just a few exceptional people who took dramatic action or succeeded in spite of oppression - it was a broad social movement of daily small actions by millions of people that, taken in the aggregate, began to affect change. Change that meant you didn't have to be the exception to the rule to succeed.


Yes, you were wrong. Period


I love how a person can keep saying that and still not make it true.
posted by Miko at 11:56 AM on June 1, 2007


Sorry, dgaincun, it's just that the thought of trying to cite almost everything ever published in the entire fields of social psychology and women's studies relating to gender, the media, and body image kind of exhausted me.

Wow, Miko sorry to trouble you, I know its cumbersome to support the claims you make.

But if you could please spare a moment, just pick out a couple of good quantitative, controlled studies that support your assertions against my evidence. It shouldn't be hard with that virtual juggernaut of supporting research I'm told you have. Thanks.
posted by dgaicun at 11:58 AM on June 1, 2007


If it's something you actually are interested in learning, there are plenty of resources available to you. I'm just not concerned with your argument about men being penalized for their appearance -- mainly because it's just a red herring based on your misunderstanding of my first point, but also because the 5% difference one small study shows kind of pales in comparison to the 23%-54% difference the US Census shows nationwide between men's wages and women's wages, even when controlled for factors other than discrimination.

Anyway, your typing fingers clearly aren't broken. To understand why people are interested in looking critically at the use and discussion of women's images and appearances, start with the link I gave above (plenty of links to outside web resources on women's studies, and there's always Google (+web +resources +women's +studies) and your friendly local reference librarian, of course). And happy reading. It's time for me to leave this discussion because I'd like to leave it feeling civil.
posted by Miko at 12:28 PM on June 1, 2007


I'm not sure how what I wrote is being perceived as offensive?

Loosefilter

I didn't remotely intend calling you "offensive". You weren't.

It's just you were originally writing in such large, general terms, one could be forgiven for thinking you meant that Jesse Owens won WW2!

dgaicun

Poorly conceived social psych. studies based on absurdly limited samples and dubious interpretative criteria are a dime a dozen - and there is no career benefit for serious social scientists to spend time shredding them.

Get yourself a more plausible study before you start demanding rebuttal cites.

Etheral Bligh

You are right. This thread has gone down the plughole. But I loved your gallantry (a fabulous quality in women as well as men).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:31 PM on June 1, 2007


Here's two examples:

Wage effects of obesity among young workers Soc Sci Quart 71,130-141, 1990, Register, CA, Williams, DR
Obesity, occupational attainment, and earnings Soc Sci Quart 78,756-770, 1997, Pagan, JA, Davila, A.

Both show that obese women pay a higher wage penalty than do obese men.

But this is really beside the point. The studies you've fixated upon show greater appearance bias against men in a few environments. How you can claim, then, that men are discriminated against on the basis of appearance more then women generally is beyond me. It's aggressively ignorant of the larger social context where national beauty pageants exist for women but not for men, where women get plastic surgery far more often than men, where women are far more likely to have body pathologies like anorexia or bulimia than men, where little girls are told to be pretty while little boys are told to be strong. You're being stupid, and in a very annoying fashion.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:50 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ok, Miko, noted, you have no conter-evidence.

5% difference one small study shows kind of pales in comparison to the 23%-54% difference the US Census shows nationwide between men's wages and women's wages, even when controlled for factors other than discrimination.

I call sophistry. This is an entirely different issue. "Females are discriminated against for being female" != "females are disproportionately judged on appearance."

The former can be entirely true with the latter being entirely false. (e.g. we know females face employment discrimination by identical resumes sent out with male and female names getting different results.) Let's not muddy the water by conflating different issues.

Poorly conceived social psych. studies based on absurdly limited samples and dubious interpretative criteria are a dime a dozen

I can't think of a more clear-cut way to test the relationship between appearance and wages/performance evaluation than to look at the relationship between appearance and wages/performance evaluation! I mean what the hell. Either the idea that women are disproportionately judged by their appearance over their merit is falsifiable or it is not. If it is, then what better evidence are you basing your assertions/beliefs on? If it isn't falsifiable, then the idea is gibberish and it is stupid.
posted by dgaicun at 12:52 PM on June 1, 2007


I don't think Metafilter will be a very interesting place when male WOOT-ing will be suppressed by female opprobrium.

There are already sufficient subjects on metafilter that result in congregations of in unison droning comment-bots.

One particular one comes to mind; the one about object paraphilia. It struck me in that thread that people were at pains to point out that they did not laugh at the perversion. Apparently it's mefi-socially not appreciated when you find a person who fucks trains ridiculous.

And yes, she's young, sexy, well-toned etc. Which generates a strong reaction among men. And that in turn can be threatening to other women for all kinds of reasons. That's no fun, but it's life.

In other words: bowing to the feminist gender studies/politics and 'male gaze' bollocks leads to a more lifeless, grey discours. It forces men to negate a part of their maleness.
(see what I did there; some gender studies look-alike jargon. Boring, isn't it?)

Btw there's loads of hot young women like that in the university town that I live in. I don't understand why this picture warrants an internet meme.
posted by jouke at 12:54 PM on June 1, 2007


In other words: bowing to the feminist gender studies/politics and 'male gaze' bollocks leads to a more lifeless, grey discours. It forces men to negate a part of their maleness.

Oh noooooss!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:56 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heh
posted by jouke at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2007


You can't have my bucket.
posted by jouke at 12:58 PM on June 1, 2007


Either the idea that women are disproportionately judged by their appearance over their merit is falsifiable or it is not.

Sweet Jesus. Don't you know any women who you could just ask about this? Go on, run by any woman in your life the idea that men are judged more often, and more harshly, than women with regard to appearance and then get back to us. Oy.
posted by jokeefe at 12:58 PM on June 1, 2007


Both show that obese women pay a higher wage penalty than do obese men.

Right, and skinny men pay a higher wage penalty than skinny women. Hey, I'll bet women with beards pay a higher wage penalty than men with beards!

This is why 'attractiveness' is a better global measure of appearence discrimination. Women and men are punished for different features, but we are looking at who suffers more overall from appearance bias.
posted by dgaicun at 12:58 PM on June 1, 2007


And yes, she's young, sexy, well-toned etc. Which generates a strong reaction among men. And that in turn can be threatening to other women for all kinds of reasons. That's no fun, but it's life.

My understanding of the issue here is that the problem was the fact that the subject of that photograph objected to the uses to which her image was being put, and the kind of attention she was getting. The whole "I'm a man and therefore my mighty personal dowsing dick points thusly, so shut up" bit is off topic.
posted by jokeefe at 1:05 PM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


You're a a Jewish athlete, living in a Polish ghetto in the 1930s. Why let the comments of others define you?

You can't be fucking serious. I'm amazed not only that this thread won't die but now Ms. Stokke is being compared to Jews in the Lódz ghetto. Amazing, simply amazing.
posted by MikeMc at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


jokeefe The whole "I'm a man and therefore my mighty personal dowsing dick points thusly, so shut up" bit is off topic.
These topic boundaries you see are all in your head.
And making a caricature out of my argument doesn't help either.
But go ahead; bore us to death with your gender politics.
posted by jouke at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2007


Interestingly, Allison's name doesn't appear on Google Trends at all for today or yesterday. I wonder if they specifically took her name out, or if she's already fallen off the radar.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2007


dgaicun

Look, it's up to you.

Find a less crapulous study - one with a terrific sample base and excellent controls.

Otherwise, you really ARE up against common sense - the sort that comes from turning on my TV and clocking the ratio of old guys to young hotties mouthing the news headlines for starters....
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:28 PM on June 1, 2007


How you can claim, then, that men are discriminated against on the basis of appearance more then women generally is beyond me.

Ethereal Bligh, here were Miko's comments:

. . . this IS what it's like for a girl: no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.

And:

It's part of a larger system of behavior that reduces and demeans women's efforts and becomes a barrier to success.

These are empirical statements. Appearance discrimination can be measured. Men can discriminate against men based on appearance. Men can discriminate against women. Women can discriminate against men. Women can discriminate against women.

Either men disproportionately discriminate against women based on appearance or they do not. "What they do" and "barrier to success" can only reasonably apply to a few narrow domains of human endeavor - if male and female employers are more likely to discriminate against men based on appearance and male and female students are more likely to discriminate against men base on appearance, the most I can say is the ball is now in your court. Please refine your hypothesis. Do female athletes face more appearance discrimination? Artists? Who are you suggesting then? A barrier to what kind of "success"? What arer you suggesting then?

It's aggressively ignorant of the larger social context where national beauty pageants exist for women but not for men, where women get plastic surgery far more often than men, where women are far more likely to have body pathologies like anorexia or bulimia than men

Actually my third reference above showed females are more likely to obsess over these things to impress and compete with other females.

Attractiveness is judged more important by men in picking mates than it is to females. So, yes, men "discriminate" more in dating based on attractiveness. Females therefore, in part, emphasize attractiveness voluntarily more than men do. Men, on the other hand, have greater variance in mating success and suffer more overall because of it - e.g. men are more likely to commit suicide or be virgins. Women are more "choosey" - i.e. "discriminate" more than males - in their mate selection overall.

Anyway we are moving into more subjective waters here. Pay and performance evaluation provide more objective criteria to notions such as "success", which is the issue here.
posted by dgaicun at 1:31 PM on June 1, 2007


Find a less crapulous study

Jody, the sample sizes and controls on those studies were fine. They were published in peer review journals, and you are full of shit. If you want to stick to your intuitions, I can't stop you, but stop pretending like you know a damn thing about social science. You don't. Go away until you have somthing of substance to add here.
posted by dgaicun at 1:35 PM on June 1, 2007


Sweet Jesus. Don't you know any women who you could just ask about this? Go on, run by any woman in your life the idea that men are judged more often, and more harshly, than women with regard to appearance and then get back to us. Oy.

Come on, you can't substitute anecdotal evidence for studies. Dgaicun has at least provided some cites for his position. You're essentially saying "this is so obvious that I don't need to provide any cites!".

The fact is, you do if you want to convince anyone who doesn't already believe what you believe. You don't have to cite every study in existence, but one or two would be nice.

If it's just about preaching to the choir, well, carry on.

Lastly, I'd point out that as a female you have no idea what the subjective male experience about being judged based on appearance is like just as you (correctly) point out that as males we can't know what the subjective female experience is like.
posted by Justinian at 1:58 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


‘the trouser-snaked among us don’t sign up for how our bodies and our minds work when it comes to sexuality;’
[cutting the second time you pasted the same thing]
This evolutionary argument about sexuality doesn't really hold water.
Miko, you know, I might take you seriously if you addressed what I wrote in sum, instead of picking single sentences to contradict, outside of the context they were written in.

Then again I might not, because what you write is empirically ridiculous, independent of that; you don’t believe that young men have a higher drive to have sex than do young women? Have you had conversations on the subject with either? You don’t find the evolutionary hypotheses for why such a situation exists reasonable?

Anyway, enjoy your weekend either way. I’m not really interested in taking this further.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 2:24 PM on June 1, 2007


Then again I might not, because what you write is empirically ridiculous, independent of that; you don’t believe that young men have a higher drive to have sex than do young women? Have you had conversations on the subject with either? You don’t find the evolutionary hypotheses for why such a situation exists reasonable?

You're misreading her. She made a distinction between what's innate and behavior.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:36 PM on June 1, 2007


dgaicun

You say I'm "full of shit".

I say that's better than trying to defend an opinion based on "data" a quarter of a century old.

How you can go from:

a sample of 737 male and female MBA graduates from the years between 1973 and 1982

to the thumping great generalization that:

Males are disproportionately judged, punished, and rewarded, over and above their merit, on their physical appearance. Not females - Males.

...is beyond me.

(You'll find, for a start, a significant change in the proportion of males to females in graduate program admissions since the 1980s for a start.)

Get yourself some up-to-date pay & performance stats - with controls.

If the findings of that original study were sound, you should have no problem offering less dusty examples. (Valid studies being reproducible and all that?)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:09 PM on June 1, 2007


Jody: You're picking apart dgaicun's studies without providing any at all to support your position. Why is that?
posted by Justinian at 3:39 PM on June 1, 2007


Not being able to read the full article, I can't tell if these conclusions:

Results indicated that more attractive men had higher starting salaries and they continued to earn more over time. For women, there was no effect of attractiveness for starting salaries, but more attractive women earned more later on in their jobs. By 1983, men were found to earn $2600 more on the average for each unit of attractiveness (on a 5-point scale) and women earned $2150 more.

...in the study to which dgaicun links are using sex normalized dollar amounts, or not. In fact, dollar amounts are misleading in any case, as the correct metric would be deviation from a normalized distribution of pay for each sex.

For example, if women earn less money than men, which we know, and if women are less represented in the highest paying jobs, which we know, then even when women receive greater penalties/rewards from deviating from median attractiveness than do men, men will still see bigger penalties/rewards in dollar amounts. This will be especially true for graduates of MBA programs (the subjects of this study) where women are offered more junior positions at lower salaries than are men and where men are greatly disproportionately promoted to senior positions and much higher salaries than are women.

Furthermore, let's consider the relative number of professions between men and women where physical appearance is considered an important job requirement. I can think of only two or three in the case of men while I can think of ten or more, off the top of my head, in the case of women.

If appearance is important and people are constantly judged by it, then the relative importance between men and women should be reflected in the sizes of industries devoted to male and female appearance. Looking at those relative sizes, what does that tell us?

dgaicun's citations don't support the claims he's making—it's not even clear if they support the much more narrow claim he'd be making were he more cautious and less axe-grinding.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:50 PM on June 1, 2007


So unless you make a "success of your life out of nothing" - you're not allowed to complain about anything?

Of course you are. I just saw this comparison:

You're a a Jewish athlete, living in a Polish ghetto in the 1930s. Why let the comments of others define you?

and thought some perspective was called for, since it's a situation not too far from home.

So, what, did your father die and now you're the official spokesperson for the women in your family?


Um, they're not on metafilter, as far as I know.

Are you sure you've gotten all their thoughts on feminism correct

Who's boorish & patronising now? Are you asking how well I know my own female relatives' thoughts on feminism? I have to admit, I was a bit hazy on their interpretation of Irigaray, but after an all-night phone conference, we've sorted that out & they agree with me totally on every single point under the sun. We also sorted out the spokesman issue, although that term isn't 100% accurate, since I'm still pre-op FTM.

...or does it matter?

At this point in the thread? Are you serious?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2007


But go ahead; bore us to death with your gender politics.

jouke, honey, I haven't even scratched the surface of what I consider gender politics in this thread. Believe me, if I were to really let it rip, you would be dead of boredom in a microflash. I'm being, like, restrained, here.

you don’t believe that young men have a higher drive to have sex than do young women? Have you had conversations on the subject with either? You don’t find the evolutionary hypotheses for why such a situation exists reasonable?

Young men don't have a higher drive to have sex than young women do. In the first place, you can't make such huge generalizations between groups with any hope of accuracy, because differences between individuals will be greater; and in the second place, I have been a female teenager, with a purse full of birth control pills and a well-notched bedpost. My friends and myself were just as confused by lust, just as ravenous, just as helpless in the face of desire as any equal set of boys.

The reason it may appear that women have a lower sex drive is simply because the consequences for women are so much different, and more serious. Forget just being called a "slut", which was bad enough; pregnancy is the biggest fear. And it's one that has only really been under female control-- and only then in developed countries-- for a few decades at most. Historical context is important.

And because I don't want to argue with a bunch of guys hammering their chests and going on about their masculinity-- whatever that means to them, as you guys do know that masculinity is culturally determined, right?-- I'm going to head off to happier pastures, pausing only to wave at EB.
posted by jokeefe at 4:03 PM on June 1, 2007


Where are your studies, Jody? Oh, that's right, you're an idiot. Go away now, you have no information to offer.

In the mean time I've found two more studies which agree with my previous two studies on male and female appearance, starting salary, wages, and performance evaluation.

This study looked at attractiveness and income among male and female Canadians. While appearance was rewarded and penalized with men in the form of higher and lower income, there was no relationship between appearance and income for women. Again males faced a higher discrimination for appearance than women. (who, in fact, faced no appearance based discrimination at all in this study)

Yet another study looked at the same income/appearance relationship on datasets in both Canada and America. The authors write:
"Particularly surprising in light of some popular discussion (e.g., Wolf, 1991) is the absence of significantly larger penalties and premia, for women than for men. If anything, the evidence goes in the opposite direction. . . "
In other words, every single study that looks at the relationship between appearance and attactiveness finds that men are discriminated against more on this basis (rightly or wrongly) than women. All the studies point in the same direction.
posted by dgaicun at 4:08 PM on June 1, 2007


*waves to jokeefe*

I should say that I believe that there are innate cognitive differences between the sexes, which include things like arousal triggers, and which I think result in some behavioral differences. Even so, I don't see how any of this could be used in support of the arguments being presented here by some men. Not only am I skeptical about the particular claims being made here connecting behavior with those innate masculine traits, the whole naturalistic argument as a defense of any behavior is bogus to begin with.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:18 PM on June 1, 2007


Why pander to the mollycoddled pathetic whinings of privileged prettygirls who had their photos taken in shorty short short short shorts (for the jocks only!) and now act like it's the toughest thing in the world? Get a fucking sense of perspective, already!

I still take the above seriously UbuRoivas

Love to know whether your sundry female relatives would beam their approval at that falling-backwards-into-the-bushes-on-the-edge-of-the-girls'-playing-field-in-an-unbuttoned-raincoat-unhinged-rant.

Or whether perhaps you've recovered your temper?


Jody: You're picking apart dgaicun's studies without providing any at all to support your position. Why is that?
posted by Justinian

Because his study is woefully, unusually out-of-date.

That matters in the social sciences where 25 years is an eon.

Either it's produced results that are worthless - or at least highly questionable.

Or there is a far superior study - bigger sample, less questionable methods, broader basis for the initial judgements - that merits proper discussion.

And I'm still waiting... ("like patience on a monument"...).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:20 PM on June 1, 2007


dgaicun's citations don't support the claims he's making—it's not even clear if they support the much more narrow claim he'd be making were he more cautious and less axe-grinding.

Um, so you don't actually read the studies, yet you still feel confident enough to oink: "dgaicun's citations don't support the claims he's making". Seriously, you go away too Ethereal Bligh.

You, along with 100 other favoriteers, feel no compunction to "agree 100%" with Miko, despite the fact that those assertions were pulled out of an ass and written down in a stream of conscious feelin' oppressed orgasm. But hey, that's fine, because you all already believed those things. RAH, RAH, RAH #1, HOMETEAM!!

But I actually take same time to look into the social science literature and find a number of studies that directly contradict Miko's well-applauded claims, and what do I get? Lots of angry posts about how I haven't proven anything, how my evidence sucks, how I'm an ideologue, how my evidence is too old, how the samples aren't big enough, how I'm a crank on his hobbyhorse, and how my intelligence is low. Bullshit. To paraphrase Roger Ebert, your criticisms suck.

So when people already believe things, no evidence is more than fine, but evidence to the contrary is never good enough.

Fine folks. But don't call me the ideologue.
posted by dgaicun at 4:27 PM on June 1, 2007


dgaicun

Your first link goes only to the abstract - can you help?

Your second link (again to the abstract) states:
"Effects [of beauty being an advantage/disadvantage] for men are at least as great as for women."


Which seems - to me -a very far cry from your original statement:

Males are disproportionately judged, punished, and rewarded, over and above their merit, on their physical appearance. Not females - Males.

In any case, I can't yet see the studies in their entirety.


And "full of shit" (aka moi!) would love to read 'em.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:38 PM on June 1, 2007


Love to know whether your sundry female relatives would beam their approval at that falling-backwards-into-the-bushes-on-the-edge-of-the-girls' playing-field-in-an unbuttoned-raincoat-unhinged-rant.

Or whether perhaps you've recovered your temper?


Temper? Dunno about that, but my humour & bombast are intact. I thought shorty-short-short-shorts was a dead giveaway, deriving, as it does, from Chief Wiggum dancing on the beach singing "who wears short shorts?" when a ship loaded with hotpants grounded itself, but references like this are lost on some people. *sigh*

I stand firmly by pandering to pathetic privileged prettygirls & perspective, especially the alliteration therein, broken up by the four-syllable "mollycoddling" (um, bombast, anybody?), interspersed with the playground nerdy-ner-ner-ner-ner of the aforementioned shorty-short-short-shorts.

In the right accent, the gals would have a giggle.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:38 PM on June 1, 2007


(seriously, Jody, put on the most outrageous camp accent you can possibly come up with & give it another go. you'll find it quite different to what you thought...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:40 PM on June 1, 2007


Also, dgaicun

While I've got the quote to hand - you wrote this:

Many, many people would consider it their dream come true to find such rapid fame over their beauty. Deal with that.


So don't be too quick to yell foul and "look at my objective studies" when an early angle of yours was how grateful our young pole vaulter should be for lashings of attention based solely on her looks, which was based on your sweeping assumptions about what "many, many" folk really desire.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:52 PM on June 1, 2007


The second study dgaicun links to in his most recent comment can be found in full here. Reading it, as far as I can tell the authors did not correct for the relative differences in male and female income distribution and are making the mistake of only looking at the deviation from an hourly rate for the average-looking person. This doesn't tell us which sex is more discriminated against on the basis of appearance. If women in general occupy a much narrower wage range than do men, then the rewards and penalties of appearance discrimination will also be narrower.

Um, so you don't actually read the studies, yet you still feel confident enough to oink: "dgaicun's citations don't support the claims he's making". Seriously, you go away too Ethereal Bligh.

Well, I just did read the one I was able to read in full (not just the abstract) and it doesn't support your claim. Anyway, my "oink" was carefully phrased: these studies don't validate your claim that...well, allow me to quote you in full:

Males are disproportionately judged, punished, and rewarded, over and above their merit, on their physical appearance. Not females - Males.

...which goes way, way beyond anything any of these studies are showing. I didn't need to read the whole articles to know that, it's evident from the abstract. But having read at least one full article, I find that it doesn't even validate your claim in the limited domain in which it might have.

On the other hand, if we are forced to look at narrow cases that are arguably indicative of the question at hand—that is, which sex is more judged on the basis of appearance—then the examples I've given, of the relative sizes of the beauty industries, the relative number of appearance-based jobs, the relative amounts of plastic surgery, the relative amounts of body dysmorphic issues, are all much better indicators than are the relative earning rewards/penalties for non-average appearing men and women in a few studied environments.

You're taking a narrow-case example and misusing it as evidence of the your wide-ranging claim while ignoring the caveats that apply even to the narrow-case examples. That's not science, it's crankery.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:52 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


"...I stand firmly by pandering to pathetic privileged prettygirls & perspective..."

Frankly UbuRoivas,

I think your female rellies should keep you chained to the dunny.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:58 PM on June 1, 2007


dgaicun

On careful reflection, it seems to me you're taking a narrow-case example and misusing it as evidence of the your wide-ranging claim while ignoring the caveats that apply even to the narrow-case examples. That's not science, it's crank-


Oh jinx!

Beaten to it on preview by Ethereal Bligh
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:07 PM on June 1, 2007


Some days my cell phone doesn't work. It's really annoying. And then other days I get a bunch of spam email and I have to delete it. Or some unwanted visitor knocks on my door and I try to ignore their solicitation. Or I'm at the gym and the creepy guy is there...AGAIN. Some days people leave shitty comments on my blog. Or a comment I leave on Metafilter gets misconstrued and people lambaste me. Or maybe somebody hacked my MySpace page and I have to change my password. It's life...it happens. I try to let it roll. I am successful in not having a bad day because I've had lots of experience in dealing with daily bullshit... and I'm not 18 anymore.

But what if one day everything changed? Instead of your cell phone not working, you'd have to change your number because your friends can't get through...thousands of people are calling you. Forget Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and Blogger...your pages are being pillaged and commented and hacked. You shut those down too, lest you give people too much information and fodder. You dread going to your workout because there are now literally 5x as many people as you're used to, and there all there to look at YOU. You were self-conscious before, but now...whoa! What do you do? How do you let it roll now? What if you're pissed because it's harder to perform? What if you want to do something about all this unwanted attention? But if you do, people will judge you and say you're "feeding the media". But if you don't do anything, then what? You've never been through this before.

After about five bad days, yeah, you'd want it to stop. After a month, how would you feel? You didn't ask for this.

Sitting around and stressing about the guys thinking she's so pretty is not what's getting her down! But EVEN IF IT WAS, why aren't we just leaving her alone? Do we feel we must punish her? Teach her a lesson about life? Make her toughen up? I don't get it.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:15 PM on June 1, 2007 [5 favorites]


I think your female rellies should keep you chained to the dunny.

But the kitchen chain wouldn't reach far enough for them to feed me. What do you expect them to do? Throw my meals at me?

Apart from that, *waggles finger, intones singsongingly*: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.

Now, I've gotta run. There's a primary school swimming carnival on at the pool up the road today.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:26 PM on June 1, 2007


(I forgot my gumboots)

why aren't we just leaving her alone? Do we feel we must punish her?

Um, I dunno about you, but I'm just shooting the shit on a website.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:29 PM on June 1, 2007


I was using "we" in the collective sense...meaning the range of people that make up a culture that appears to think that exalting someone to this level of fame, then commenting, harrassing, judging, admiring, etc. is acceptible and expected. It includes all of us...shit shooters and harrassers and stalkers...we all have a part to play.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:49 PM on June 1, 2007


E.B., my first study only looked at professional occupations. Another looked at University professors. Another the full range of occupations. No matter how you subdivide it, the regressions show what they show. I think your argument is pretty damn weak. Seriously, where are your studies?

allow me to quote you in full...which goes way, way beyond anything any of these studies are showing.

Jesus Christ, no it doesn't, and the studies say as much. Men are disproportionately discriminated against in starting salary, wages, income, and performance evaluations in comparison to women. (for two of the studies there was no discrimination against women at all on the basis of appearance for starting pay and income - leaving all the appearance discrimination for men)

if we are forced to look at narrow cases that are arguably indicative of the question at hand. . . are all much better indicators than are the relative earning rewards/penalties for non-average appearing men and women in a few studied environments.

So you're just going to ignore my comment already responding to this??

the relative sizes of the beauty industries

This does not show discrimination. It shows demand. Do you understand the difference?

the relative number of appearance-based jobs

This does not show discrimination. It shows demand. Do you understand the difference?

the relative amounts of plastic surgery

This does not show discrimination. It shows demand. Do you understand the difference?

the relative amounts of body dysmorphic issues

Again, my 3rd reference showed that women are responsible for pressures that relate to unhealthy thinness. Men are not attracted to anorexic women! Similarly some men have a sickness where they want to look like those grotesque guys from workout mags. This is not evidence that females "discriminate" against men - females don't like that! It doesn't actually show discrimination at all - preferences and even social pressures are not "discrimination".

None of those things demonstrate discrimination by males against women whatsoever.

If you can show that ugly/pretty female computer programmers or ugly/pretty female pizza delivery people or ugly/pretty female managers or ugly/pretty female athletes are punished/rewarded more relative to ugly/pretty male computer programmers or ugly/pretty male pizza delivery people or ugly/pretty male managers or ugly/pretty male athletes, then we have discrimination. This kind of evidence really does show appearance-based discrimination, and shows that, if anything males are discriminated against in this fashion more than women. Period.

Simply saying "Look there are more female fashion magazines!" does not consitute any kind of evidence that females are discriminated against whatsoever - Christ!

The fact that you would privilege such squishy nonsense as "evidence" above the quantitative, controlled statistical research I provided is just pathetic.

It's not surprising that the people here so willing to criticize my 5 studies haven't provided one fucking citation in support of their ideas. I'm not holding my breath. You've got nothing but religion and it shows.
posted by dgaicun at 5:56 PM on June 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


meh. the simulacrum of her is just the topic du jour that allows us mefites to have a rant. tomorrow, she'll be forgotten, and we'll be discussing whether or not bunnies should be circumcised.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:59 PM on June 1, 2007


Should say: Men are disproportionately discriminated against [on the basis of appearance] in starting salary, wages, income, and performance evaluations in comparison to women

Obvious from the context, of course, but when you argue with desperate people everything you say is given the least charitable spin. Such is cargo cult debate.
posted by dgaicun at 6:00 PM on June 1, 2007


"(I forgot my gumboots")

Well mind you don't slip on any hard, wet surfaces then UbuRoivas!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:02 PM on June 1, 2007


Why the fuck are we talking about studies? They're fucking irrelevant to the issue. A picture gets put online and inspires much masturbation or whatever. Instead of just passing it around or ignoring it, a bunch of people feel the need to talk about it in lascivious detail, and the person in the picture gets bombarded with unasked for attention, and she wants it to stop. I don't understand what is so goddamned difficult about doing that. It's just courtesy.

I mean, Jesus Christ, if it turns you on, and you jerk off to it, then great, but do you need to share that with the world and the photo's subject, especialy after she has asked that you not? Just keep it to yourself, you'll enjoy it just as much, I assure you, and you won't end up looking like an asshole who just has to share every little burble in their head with the rest of the world.
posted by Snyder at 6:09 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


With every comment, dgaicun, you sound more and more like a creationist attacking evolution.

preferences and even social pressures are not ‘discrimination’.

I mean, c'mon. You're now just making transparently absurd assertions. You've displayed numerous forms of sloppy thinking.

For example, why do you exempt female discrimination against other females? Miko's assertion wasn't that all the discrimination women face is from only men. Another example: I cite two studies where women are discriminated against more than men based upon their appearance and you claim those don't count. Another example: I point out how the quantification of discrimination in the studies you've cited are flawed when they are used to compare relative amounts of discrimination between men and women. You ignore that criticism even though that flaw underlies every one of the employment surveys you've cited, as far as I can tell. And most of all, you keep asserting that a handful of studies showing appearance discrimination in employment outcome supports your grandiose claim about all men and women in our culture(s).

It's you who has religious conviction, not me. You're the one with an obvious chip on your shoulder. It's not worth arguing with you about this. Your rants belong back in your Men's Rights bitchfests, not here.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:21 PM on June 1, 2007


nah, the mens' rights sites have moved on. they're all complaining about how male rabbits are having forced circumcisions, on the basis that it reduces the spread of mixamatosis, even though we all know it's the fault of the slutty female bunnies for leading them on with their wily sexual power.

and i'm happy to report that i managed to stay upright in the showers at the pool.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:48 PM on June 1, 2007


What it is like to be a girl, as far as I can tell (try to follow along, if you don't get why many women don't necessarily like the kind or quantity of mass anonymous sexual attention that you do): you walk through a world populated by men who are taller and stronger than you (we're talking nearly half of everyone you see), most of whom want to have sex with you or someone like you, and many of whom don't try very hard to hide it, whether it's looking up and down your body, or saying how pretty you are, or telling you to smile, or saying what a sweet ass you have and how he'd like to tap that. Even if it was just 1% of all the men you walked by on the street who behaved like that, that's five or ten such incidents per day.

Couple this with the fact that, in this world, some of those men (who are taller and stronger than you are, and are around pretty much everywhere you go) have been known to rape people like you. It's not exactly rare; it happens enough that people like you tend to avoid walking around at night, especially alone. People like you tend to avoid certain streets, or even entire neighborhoods, because of reports or rumors of what happens to people like you there. For people like you, this is just a sad fact about the world you live in.

Now, I may be wrong, but I think that fact alone would change your perception of the sexual attention and lewd remarks that you'd be getting on a regular basis from total strangers who are bigger and stronger than you, at least a few of which are probably rapists. Maybe you wouldn't really welcome comments from anonymous strangers on various websites on how hot you were, or how much they want to put their dicks in your mouth.

As a man, a compliment from a passing female stranger on one's own attractiveness often (perhaps usually) feels very gratifying. As a woman, it's not so simple. Two reasons: men are more likely to be sexual aggressors, especially in public and towards strangers. So for women, these comments and gestures are not rare, but common. Also, rape and sexual assault are not rare, but all too common. So this all breeds a certain amount of reflexive unease in many, many women when a male stranger comes up to them leering and saying, "Hey, baby! You are looking fine!" Context — the neighborhood, how the man looks, his height, weight, and bearing, what he's wearing, how he talks and moves, the time of day, how many people are within earshot, et al. — plays a big part in whether a woman will find an approach from a man flattering, creepy, or frightening.

In other words, it's not about jealousy. It's not even about gender-based employment discrimination. It is about how people treat men and women differently, based not just on appearance but on sex and gender (plenty of hot guys walking around without other, bigger, stronger guys catcalling them all day), and how that shapes the subjective experience of the world for people of each gender. How it can make the world a scarier place for many, and how it can cause a previously confident, nigh-fearless young woman* to start circumscribing her life because the stares and the calls and the thousands of comments about her body parts scrawled on the bathroom walls of the Internet are all getting to be a bit too much. She is someone like you. But maybe you weren't born a girl. If you don't get it by now, please try to think about what it would be like.

*Launching oneself over twelve feet into the air over and over again, for hours upon hours, day after day, especially after one has already broken bones doing it, takes some guts.
posted by skoosh at 12:05 AM on June 2, 2007 [4 favorites]


Aidan Kehoe: Saying ‘I’d like to fuсk her’ about someone out of earshot and saying ‘I’d like to fuсk you’ to someone (who doesn’t want to hear it) in earshot are distinct things. The former is crass; the latter is crass and threatening, and I’m happy to call it sexual harassment. From my reading of the stories, no-one’s done the latter.

See, to me this is the really interesting question. If someone says it to your face, it's clearly harassment. If someone says it but you're never aware of it, it's clearly not.

But what if people say demeaning or hostile things about you on the Internet? Is that private, or public, or what?

Partly it's a question of scale, as iamkimiam points out. The Internet is a huge place. Even if almost everyone has good manners, and only a tiny percentage of people make demeaning or hostile comments, that's going to be a lot of people. (Plus there's a much, much smaller number of people who may be outright dangerous, but I'll leave that problem aside.)

But even without the scale factor, there's been cyber-bullying cases at high schools. Some kid gets singled out, and other kids make nasty comments about him or her on a website or an e-mail list (not necessarily associated with the school, it might be something like Facebook). Depending on the circumstances, the target feels either humiliated or actually threatened. (Usually there's comments which taken literally are threats, but can also be downplayed as humorous.)

You might say that a website is a distinct and separate community, and you're not going to see these kinds of comments unless you go seeking them out, so there's a simple solution: just stay out. But the Internet is more than just a collection of separate places; in some ways the whole Internet feels like a single community, linked together by Google and other sites such as MetaFilter. If something of interest happens anywhere on the Internet, it's likely to show up on MetaFilter, Fark, Slashdot, or some other popular site.

You can't tell someone who's receiving unwanted attention that the solution is to stay off the Internet. That's just not practical.

To me, the deciding factor would be, "If I google my name, does this kind of thing show up at the top?"

I don't know what the answer is. I'm not optimistic about social change: even if 99% of people have an absolutely respectful attitude towards women, the remaining 1% is enough to cause big problems. Something like Stokke's strategy--accepting that she's now, involuntarily, a public figure, and adopting the kinds of tactics that celebrities have always used to manage their image, like doing interviews with sympathetic outlets--may make sense. Another approach would be to get your side of the story out through the Internet itself, e.g. through an official website or blog, to at least push down the Google results.

fluffycreature: I wonder if the next step is for paparazzi cruising high schools to snap photos. This is only a step away from the various websites out there now.

Ouch. That'd be a whole different problem. And you're right, I don't know that there's any legal barriers in place right now that would prevent this.
posted by russilwvong at 12:11 AM on June 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ethereal Bligh, it's early in the morning and my thoughts prior to coffee are usually befuddled. But I'm not sure your criticisms of the Hamermesh and Biddle study are valid. The various tables, for example Table 3 on p.1181, show that they are running separate regressions for each gender. They are clearly therefore showing the effect of men's attractiveness on men's wages, and women's attractiveness on women's wages. Also, again with the pre-coffee disclaimer, doesn't the fact their dependent variable is the log of wages mean that the parameter coefficients can be interpreted as estimates of the percentage effect of the independent variable on wages?

Part of your comments suggested that what econometricians call heteroskedasticity may be a problem (that is, the variance of the wage at high beauty levels is higher than the variance of the wage at low levels of beauty). Separating the datasets into men and women, as they have done, removes any male-female bias in the results that this could cause. (Though as an aside for the pedantic, I realise it does nothing to remove the heteroskedasticity itself.)

In a blatant appeal to authority, I'd point out that the article was published in the prestigious, peer-reviewed American Economic Review. It's very unlikely that a paper would make it in there suffering from problems (and I don't mean to sound condescending when I say this) as 'obvious' as the ones you point out.

I hasten to add that I'm just correcting some claims about the econometrics study, not pledging my support to either camp in the wider debate.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 12:19 AM on June 2, 2007


Also, again with the pre-coffee disclaimer, doesn't the fact their dependent variable is the log of wages mean that the parameter coefficients can be interpreted as estimates of the percentage effect of the independent variable on wages?

But that's not enough because it's measured against the wage for the averagely-attractive, not as standard deviations from the median for each sex.

In a blatant appeal to authority, I'd point out that the article was published in the prestigious, peer-reviewed American Economic Review. It's very unlikely that a paper would make it in there suffering from problems (and I don't mean to sound condescending when I say this) as 'obvious' as the ones you point out.

That's a good point and because of it I was surprised that my objection seemed valid when I read the full paper. But the comparison of the effect for men and women is not the major thrust of the study—accounting for my objection would make that particular comparison valid but in many other ways make the numbers less useful and certainly less immediately comprehensible. Keep in mind that some other studies cited and which I looked at seem to simply compare differences in yearly wages directly.

Still, I could be wrong. I'm not an economist or a statistician.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:41 AM on June 2, 2007


russilwvong,
You can't tell someone who's receiving unwanted attention that the solution is to stay off the Internet. That's just not practical.
It’s not practical for software developers like us, but how do you imagine (again) the Olsen twins and Lindsay Lohan deal with the problem?

And even as a software developer, I’m sure there are huge swathes of the net you have nothing to do with; MySpace, or Bebo, or Hi5, or the more inane chatrooms, or the sillier fanfic; it is possible to make a conscious decision to avoid things you don’t like, while accepting that other people are allowed to like what they do.

skoosh, I understand why she feels how she does, as far as I can tell. That doesn’t make her reaction the most reasonable one; she has to continue to live in this world, and other people in similar situations do it successfully. I can see why she’s worried, but while her position now is more risky (by some small percentage), she also has opportunities she didn’t before, and focusing on the risk to the exclusion of the opportunity does not lead to a good mental place.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 3:08 AM on June 2, 2007


But that's not enough because it's measured against the wage for the averagely-attractive, not as standard deviations from the median for each sex.

It's not. They use a cross-sectional model which looks something like:

ln(wagei) = β0×attractivei + β1×uglyi + ... other factors ... + εi

wagei is the individual's wage, not the mean or median wage or anything like that. attractivei is a dummy variable: 1 if the individual is in the top third, and 0 if not. Similarly, uglyi is 1 if the individual is in the bottom third, 0 if not. They are running separate regressions for men and women. The OLS estimate of β0 tells you the effect of being attractive on wages, for that gender. Similarly, β1 tells you the wage effect of ugliness, for the gender in question. The both-gender average wage isn't used for anything in this method. This method tells you the "beauty premium" and the "ugliness cost" for the specific gender.

Here's an example of why this makes sense. Say we're looking at the "beauty premium" for men only.

First, let's say wages are only determined by attractiveness, and everything else is a constant term α. Do the regression:
ln(wagei) = β0×attractivei + β1×uglyi + α + εi

Say the results are:
ln(wagei) = 0.05×attractivei - 0.05×uglyi + 1.95

Imagine an average person:
0.05×0 - 0.05×0 + 1.95 = 1.95
Now pretend they're attractive:
0.05×1 - 0.05×0 + 1.95 = 2
Compare the wage difference:
ln(wageav) = 1.95
ln(wageatt) = 2

wageatt/wageav: exp(2)/exp(1.95)
= 1.051
=> 5.1%

So there is a "beauty premium" for men of about 5%, which is exactly what the β0 originally suggested.


Apologies to everyone else for this random derail into statistics. I'm sure there are plenty of non-statistical reasons to criticise dgaicun's paper, it's just that EB's reasons weren't correct.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 3:57 AM on June 2, 2007


You're missing my point. dgaicun is assuming that the greater difference in wage outcome of appearance discrimination for men than women means that men are more discriminated against than are women. But if men have a wider range of salaries than women, then the same amount of discrimination will result in a larger effect on wages for men. The method used in this study compares the relative effects of appearance discrimination on wages, but unless it accounts for the differences in wage distribution for men and women, it's not directly comparing levels of discrimination.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:51 AM on June 2, 2007


you walk through a world populated by men who are taller and stronger than you (we're talking nearly half of everyone you see), most of whom want to have sex with you or someone like you, and many of whom don't try very hard to hide it,

And this makes us different from the rest of the animal kingdom, how? 400 or so messages ago, I pointed out that we are wired for sex, and to be attracted to youthful and beautiful things. It might be nice if we could all control our urges and not think about procreation 23 out of 24 hours per day. Some can, some can't.

No amount of credit hours in a university gender studies program are going to trump biology 101.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:53 AM on June 2, 2007


I acknowledge that it might be better, in terms of one's psychological health, to simply ignore those areas of the Internet where these comments are cropping up. But as said before, as a practical matter, it can be difficult to do so — if she were a Mefite, how easy would it be for her to break the habit and not reload this thread over and over? How easy would it be for you not to read what other people were saying about you on (perhaps) your favorite sites? Especially if stalkers are a concern, as they understandably are for her father.

Also, I think a lot of commenters have just completely skipped over or mentally blanked out the first paragraph of the Post article:
Stokke had tired of constant phone calls, of relentless Internet attention, of interview requests from Boston to Brazil.
[...]
The wave of attention has steamrolled Stokke and her family in Newport Beach, Calif. She is recognized -- and stared at -- in coffee shops. She locks her doors and tries not to leave the house alone.
At this point, the attention has invaded her regular life. She is now a bona-fide minor celebrity; pretending the fans aren't there is no longer a viable option. The interviews for the Post and Fox News are not so much meant to reduce the attention, I think, as to modify the attention so it's not so much "ZOMG HOTTNESS" and maybe more, "Look, an accomplished young pole vaulter (who's also very pretty, yes) with actual feelings, who would like to be treated with some respect." This is basically what she did two years ago with one website poster. How do you reach over 310,000 people on the Web and tell them to chill out? Take it to newspapers and cable news channels that can spread your message just as fast, in one day, as the Internet mob can. Not a terribly irrational decision, in my eyes.
posted by skoosh at 5:11 AM on June 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dave Faris: "Natural" does not mean "immutable", nor does it necessarily mean "acceptable". Some places (Italy, from what I've heard, and New York City) have more street harassment than others (small towns in Iowa). It's not merely a question of biology; like pretty much every other aspect of our lives, our behavior is modulated by cultural and subcultural prescriptions and proscriptions. It's perfectly natural in the animal kingdom to kill the creatures that make us angry or frightened, but in most contemporary human societies, that's not acceptable behavior, and so happens rarely (even in the trigger-happy United States, I guarantee that the ratio of homicides to incidents of people wanting to kill someone is pretty low; heck, the ratio of homicides to the number of times I've wanted to kill someone is pretty low). All I'm saying is, more men could hold their tongues, if effectively taught to do so (especially by their peers and role models); we are not slaves to our hormones.

Also, in most of the animal kingdom, females are larger than males. In some cases, they decapitate their mates and eat their still-quivering bodies after coitus. It's all perfectly natural.
posted by skoosh at 5:31 AM on June 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


And speaking personally, I only think about sex (not necessarily procreative, either) about 17 hours a day. The rest of the time, I'm asleep.
posted by skoosh at 5:34 AM on June 2, 2007


It might be nice if we could all control our urges and not think about procreation 23 out of 24 hours per day. Some can, some can't.

This kind of gets to the heart of it, dave farris.

Urges, schmurges - you are already controlling your urges by not acting on them.

What a lot of women (and men) here are saying is no different, really, to the gruff voce of yesteryear raised above the babble in the town diner: "aw, watch your mouth there, buddy".
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:02 AM on June 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


again with the pre-coffee disclaimer, doesn't the fact their dependent variable is the log of wages mean that the parameter coefficients can be interpreted as estimates of the percentage effect of the independent variable on wages?

uncanny! you know, i was just emailing allison the other minute - or at least, somebody claiming to be her - and those were almost exactly my words!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:11 AM on June 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


uncanny! you know, i was just emailing allison the other minute - or at least, somebody claiming to be her - and those were almost exactly my words!

If that's code for "that sentence just quoted made me feel my gumboots are on too tight" I'm with you...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:25 AM on June 2, 2007


Goddamn Google Street view. I'm telling you, it's going to be the end of privacy for cat's and Amazonion athletes everywhere.
posted by NortonDC at 11:52 AM on June 2, 2007


Heh, apologies for the derail. (I still think the paper doesn't actually suffer from the problem EB says it does, but I realise I'm probably the only person remotely interested in that. I also have work I should be doing instead of Metafiltering, so I don't have enough time to think about it any more).

Jody, what does "made me feel my gumboots are on too tight" mean? I've never heard this expression, and Google isn't helping.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 12:05 PM on June 2, 2007


I've never heard this expression, and Google isn't helping.
posted by Aloysius Bear

Sorry about that AB.

I was just being a bit pert (but in a friendly way - after a somewhat tart exchange earlier) to UbuRoivas - & picking up on Ubu's previous reference to "gumboots" (which are wellington boots/galoshes in the OZ & NZ vernacular).

So it was essentially a made-up phrase corresponding to "making one's brain hurt" - with a slightly mollifying edge, based on the standard notion of mirroring someone else's native lingo to show "no hard feelings".

Which basically meant that I couldn't follow your statistician stuff - and that's even after going back and looking at dgaicun's flipping study. I was assuming Ubu was also saying your digest of the equations was a little abstruse.

If you follow.

(And this is no diss to your explanation - merely a humble acknowledgement of my terrifying stupidity in such matters).

I should be working too. But it's too stinking hot & thundery & I'm distracted by having to attend - for various complicated reasons - a serious science lecture in an hour or so (and I'm not a scientist...) & the outfit I was going to wear (for dinner afterwards) is gonna be a limp rag at this rate...

Trust your weekend goes well...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:43 PM on June 2, 2007


I was assuming Ubu was also saying your digest of the equations was a little abstruse.

Well, it struck me as more than a little absurd (in the non-perjorative sense) that a thread on the objectification of women, aka "hey, check out the hawt hiskewl tottie" could throw up such an esoteric piece of statistical analysis, and i wondered what our second favourite pole-vaulter of the moment would think were she to read it.

It's also an example of why i love this place. I bet that a sentence like that hasn't been posted anywhere else on the intarwebs regarding the Stokktacle. In fact, I like the quote so much, as a pure turn of phrase, that I think it bears repeating:

doesn't the fact their dependent variable is the log of wages mean that the parameter coefficients can be interpreted as estimates of the percentage effect of the independent variable on wages?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:01 PM on June 2, 2007


doesn't the fact their dependent variable is the log of wages mean that the parameter coefficients can be interpreted as estimates of the percentage effect of the independent variable on wages?

I'd hit that!
posted by Justinian at 5:32 PM on June 2, 2007


And you, sir, are worse than Hitler.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:56 AM on June 3, 2007


With every comment, dgaicun, you sound more and more like a creationist attacking evolution.

I've contributed to TalkOrigins and various evolution/biology/science topics on Wikipedia. I've been arguing with cranks on the Internet for years, and let me assure you Ethereal Bligh, you are one of them. Not I. You are completely clueless about the methods of evidence in science: you ignorantly dismiss peer-reviewed studies as "flawed", and provide no evidence whatsoever for your competing perspective.

Another example: I cite two studies where women are discriminated against more than men based upon their appearance and you claim those don't count

Cherry-picking specific appearance traits to support a global claim is pretty fucking lame, dude. Did you know that women are, on average, bigger than men? It must be true, because their breasts are bigger!

Another example: I point out how the quantification of discrimination in the studies you've cited are flawed when they are used to compare relative amounts of discrimination between men and women. You ignore that criticism even though that flaw underlies every one of the employment surveys you've cited, as far as I can tell.


The studies in question are well-cited in the economics literature as showing exactly what I have said they demonstrate. Moreover the authors of the study in question use their results as evidence of exactly what I said their study demonstrates. Again I quote them:
"Particularly surprising in light of some popular discussion (e.g., Wolf, 1991) is the absence of significantly larger penalties and premia, for women than for men. If anything, the evidence goes in the opposite direction. . . "
Aloysius Bear's brief but respectable primer is zipping right over your head, as is the irony that you think you are spotting "obvious flaws" that somehow snuck past the peer-reviewers of the top economics journals in the profession. If I am wrong, the authors of these studies, as well as the peer-reviewers, as well as the journals that published them, as well as the hundreds of other studies that have cited them are wrong too. If I am wrong for citing "tainted" sources (*wank* *wank*), I am at least in good company. A privilege the Creationists - and my evidenceless contenders here - do not share.


Your rants belong back in your Men's Rights bitchfests, not here.

Is your name, 'Matt', Ethereal Bligh? No? Well then, fuck you. My comments do belong here. This is not your house.

Debunking a claim is not the same as caring at all (personally or politically) about its antipode. I don't give a shit about "men's rights". I'm not going to let high-fiving bullshit (fully testable assertions which have been widely disconfirmed by the social science literature) pass by unchallenged. The genuinely Creationist behavior of my detractors here - including you - merits response. That isn't "ranting", it's janitorial duty.
posted by dgaicun at 2:03 AM on June 3, 2007


get with the fucking program, dgaicun.

the 1970 2007 version of The Dictionary of Received Ideas clearly states:

no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.


note: "one way or the other" could mean, positive, negative, or neutral, and will vary from person to person. in other words, people might or might not judge you positively or negatively, according to your appearance. truer and more significant words have never been spoken
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:19 AM on June 3, 2007


The studies in question are well-cited in the economics literature as showing exactly what I have said they demonstrate.

You keep saying that. It doesn't make it true. You've said they demonstrate that men are more judged than women on the basis of appearance. Did you intend to say that in some contexts, men are judged more on the basis of appearance than are women? Looking at your comments, it seems like you were making the universal claim.

Aloysius Bear's brief but respectable primer is zipping right over your head, as is the irony that you think you are spotting ‘obvious flaws’ that somehow snuck past the peer-reviewers of the top economics journals in the profession. If I am wrong, the authors of these studies, as well as the peer-reviewers, as well as the journals that published them, as well as the hundreds of other studies that have cited them are wrong too.

I shouldn't have said that it was a "flaw" because for their purposes, it wasn't. For your purposes, it would be. That paper doesn't show those men were more discriminated for/against on the basis of appearance more than women, it shows that discrimination on the basis of appearance had a larger effect on men's wages than on women's wages. The two things are distinct. They are distinct because the relationship between the amount of appearance discrimination and its effect on wages will only be the same for men and women if the wage distribution for both sexes are the same.

Because this study doesn't take that into account, all it can compare between the sexes are the effects of appearance discrimination on wages, not the relative amount of appearance discrimination itself. But it is the latter which you are concerned with—it is your claim that the study demonstrates greater appearance discrimination against/for women than men. It doesn't do this.

Cherry-picking specific appearance traits to support a global claim is pretty fucking lame, dude.

What exactly is general appearance, then? All evidence is going to be specific. In the one study I've read that you've cited, it's "attractiveness" (and quite possibly "facial attractiveness"), which is just one among many ways in which people might discriminate on the basis of appearance. Obesity is another. So is height. Sure, "attractiveness" is somewhat more general than weight or height. But it's not so general that it alone could decide the general claim about which sex is more judged on the basis of appearance. And, frankly, if you think attractiveness accounts for the bulk of appearance discrimination, I'd argue that weight is the single most influential trait on attractiveness. That women pay a substantially greater wage penalty for being overweight is not insignificant to this debate.

But, again, it should be noted that the effect on wages cannot be used for comparison purposes between men and women unless relative wage distributions have been taken into account.

You are completely clueless about the methods of evidence in science: you ignorantly dismiss peer-reviewed studies as ‘flawed’, and provide no evidence whatsoever for your competing perspective.

I have provided evidence, as I argue above. Of course I am well aware of the "methods of evidence in science". Your accusation that I do not is a non sequitor. And of course you're aware that peer-reviewed studies can be, and often are, "flawed".

I'm not going to let high-fiving bullshit (fully testable assertions which have been widely disconfirmed by the social science literature) pass by unchallenged.

But they haven't been widely discomfirmed. You've not demonstrated that "women are more discriminated against on the basis of appearance than men" isn't true. You've demonstrated that in some contexts it isn't true, and that's being generous. Please, I am begging you to email any of the authors of any of the studies you've cited and ask them: "Do your studies prove that men are more discriminated against on the basis of appearance than women?" I promise you that no one will agree with you on that conclusion.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:28 AM on June 3, 2007


EB - You've got to admit that dgaicun has provided more evidence for his position than anyone has provided for the opposite, at least. Picking at his data isn't the same as providing contrary evidence.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 PM on June 3, 2007


But Justinian...you don't need fancy-arse studies or so-called evidence to prove the obviousness of received ideas. How many old & ugly female newsreaders are there, for example, when male newsreaders can keep working until they keel over?

Remember, that is only one tiny part of the all-pervasive & systematic discrimination: every time you hear anybody make any kind of comment whatsoever about a woman's appearance, it's a subtle reinforcement of womens' place as inferior objects within the phallocracy, negating their own experiences, perspectives, achievements & subjectivity.

Do you really think even for a second that the photo of Ms Stokke would have circumnavigated the intarwebs if she hadn's been attractive? What if she looked like tubgirl? What then?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:39 PM on June 3, 2007


I dunno, would Brad Pitt or George Clooney be as big as they are as movie stars if many women didn't consider them attractive? One suspects not. Is that evidence of systemic discrimination?

(Hahah, trick question, of course it is discrimination. Not all discrimination is bad. Discrimination just means the act of discriminating.)

Yeah, I know you're being tongue in cheek. But I don't want to be tarred as mocking anybody.
posted by Justinian at 3:27 PM on June 3, 2007


EB - You've got to admit that dgaicun has provided more evidence for his position than anyone has provided for the opposite, at least. Picking at his data isn't the same as providing contrary evidence.

That's true. And if his position had been that Miko was wrong, that it's not true that everywhere women are more discriminated against on the basis of appearance than men—that here are some studies which show that appearance has a larger effect on men's wages than it does women's—then I wouldn't be arguing with him. But that hasn't been his position. His position has been the universal opposite of Miko's: that men are more discriminated against than women on the basis of appearance in general.

There are good reasons for the so-called "received wisdom" about women and appearance discrimination and it's going to take a lot of evidence to turn that on its head. It should take a lot of evidence to turn that on its head. Meanwhile, dgaicun provides evidence that counters the conventional wisdom in certain contexts.

Furthermore, I'm not "picking at his data", either. The data is fine. I have no problem with the study we're arguing about and its conclusions. It is dgaicun who is making assertions about relative amounts of appearance discrimination, not that paper's authors. Whether or not they are consciously aware that their analysis doesn't say anything about the relative amounts of actual discrimination, they are certainly aware that they're writing about wage differences that result from that discrimination. The actual discrimination side of it is a black box for them.

I'm making an issue about this because the claim that dgaicun is making hinges entirely on this difference. Because for whatever reason he wants to see greater appearance discrimination against men than women in the results of that study, it doesn't occur to him that the relative wage differences that result from appearance discrimination might not be a reliable indicator of the relative amounts of discrimination which give rise to those wage differences. And when I do point that out, he is blind to it and throws appeals to the authority of peer-review when what is really at issue here is his interpretation of the study, not the study itself.

Note, also, how he has responded to my counter-cites of the obesity studies. He calls that cherry-picking even though "attractiveness" is itself only a subset of the many ways appearance discrimination could manifest. On the other hand, he also says that while women are discriminated against for being overweight, men are discriminated against for being skinny. He doesn't provide a citation for that claim. Why does he assume this is true? I'll tell you why: he's constructed a narrative about appearance discrimination on the basis of these studies that he now mistakes for truth. His narrative fills in all the gaps and, consequently, allows him to make the universal claim he's made. That's having an agenda, not being a stickler for truth and good science.

Another example of his agenda is that he has commented that women discriminating against other women on the basis of appearance disproves Miko's claim. But Miko nor anyone else here has said that men are the only people discriminating against women. When someone responds to Miko's claim (that women are more judged on the basis of appearance than are men) with "But it's women doing the judging, so you're wrong!" what are we to think of that non sequitor? Partly that he's not thinking very clearly. Partly that his interest here is not just in contesting her specific claim.

While I believe that women are, in general, more discriminated against on the basis of appearance than are men, I don't believe that men aren't discriminated against on this basis. Let's remind ourselves what Sagan said: extreme claims require extreme evidence. Conventional wisdom is that women are, in general, more discriminated against on the basis of appearance than men. Dgaicun has made the opposing claim. He didn't claim that there are exceptions to the conventional wisdom: that would have been a minor assertion requiring conventional evidence (which he provided). He made a much larger claim. It wasn't me who made Miko's claim originally—I don't think the onus is on me to support it. I've been taking issue with dgaicun's wide-sweeping claim, which is perfectly reasonable of me to do.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:03 PM on June 3, 2007


Thanks for the thoughtful post, EB.
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on June 3, 2007


Do you really think even for a second that the photo of Ms Stokke would have circumnavigated the intarwebs if she hadn's been attractive? What if she looked like tubgirl? What then?

I suspect that if there were pictures of tubgirl using a vaulting pole, there would be dozens, if not hundreds, of people on Metafilter alone who would be keenly interested in it.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:21 PM on June 3, 2007


Let's remind ourselves what Sagan said: extreme claims require extreme evidence.

Chomsky said something similar: when trying to counter "conventional wisdom", people are forced to jump through all kinds of intellectual hoops that do not apply when they support the conventional wisdom, such that the time & effort required to back up claims contrary to the accepted wisdom is so much greater, ensuring that contrary views do not get the airing required for them to gain a foothold.

Thus, one can make a broad, generalistic claim like "It's part of a larger system of behavior that reduces and demeans women's efforts and becomes a barrier to success", and because that claim has been chorused loud & wide since at least as far back as the late 1960s, people instinctively nod their approval & react with "That sounds reassuringly familiar, and I can think of various (confirmation-biased) examples that fit this model, so I'ts probably true".

On the other hand, it's an uphill battle to assert the opposite. dgaicun's studies are apparently limited in their applicability. NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark is an example of a woman achieving power & status despite her looks, but even mentioning her looks at all is, in itself, further evidence for the assertion that appearance is always dragged into it, so it's a lose-lose situation for people who claim that the situation isn't as dire as Miko & others would suggest.

Overall, I do probably do actually side more with the Miko view of the world, although I doubt that the situation is nearly as bad as is often claimed. On the other hand, I've always been a fan of devil's advocates, iconoclasts & gadflies of all descriptions, and generally suspicious of groupthink, so I find dgaicun's arguments & references refreshing, at the very least.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2007


What do you make of the comments on John Edwards appearance in the presidential campaign, Ubu? Hell, Ann Coulter called him a fag flat-out. It certainly seems to me that men's appearance is judged just as often as women's, simply with different standards.
posted by Justinian at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2007


pure speculation: is it possible that in dgaicun's studies, the people responsible for pay & promotions were actually consciously trying to exclude appearance from the calculations? ie, specifically because the feminist discourse on this point has been so loud & strong?

where males were concerned, however, because the accepted wisdom is that appearance-based evaluations are the bugbear of women alone, perhaps the evaluators didn't consciously filter appearance from their decisions, so a possibly natural human trait of favouring the more attractive was allowed to run its course unhindered...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:48 PM on June 3, 2007


Ann Coulter? Why would anybody listen to that horse?

But yeh, it could be more acceptable, in PC terms - if less common - to comment on a man's appearance...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:53 PM on June 3, 2007


is it possible that in dgaicun's studies, the people responsible for pay & promotions were actually consciously trying to exclude appearance from the calculations? ie, specifically because the feminist discourse on this point has been so loud & strong?

That's certainly possible. Another possibility is that across all professions, men actually are judged more by their looks than are women. Another possibility is the one I propose: that women are still more judged on the basis of appearance, but because women occupy a narrower portion of the wage spectrum, and at lower amounts, than do men, the wage consequences of lesser appearance discrimination are nevertheless greater for men.

Another thing that comes to mind related to this is that, IIRC, the authors of that paper didn't take into consideration that less attractive women have more opportunity to drop out of the job market entirely than do less attractive men (because being supported by a spouse is still much more available to women than to men). So while less attractive women who have difficulty finding jobs that pay well have the option of dropping out of the market altogether, less attractive men do not. This means that on the low end, the discrimination against less attractive men will show up in wage differences while a portion of that against the less attractive women will be left out of the results entirely. Thus overstating the wage impact on men relative to women.

The lack of women at the high end of the wage scale also distorts the results (which is included in my objection that women's wage distribution is narrow and at the low end relative to men, but I mention it for clarity). We know that women are hugely underrepresented at the highest levels of business management with the correspondingly highest salaries. If more attractive men are discriminated for positively for those high paying jobs, while women almost aren't represented at all, then the aggregate effects of positive discrimination on wages by appearance will be exaggerated for men. It's the same effect of uneven job (and thus wage) distribution at the high end as we saw at the low-end: more attractive women otherwise receiving equal or greater appearance discrimination than men are not included, in a sense, in the high-end wage results because they weren't going to be offered those jobs in any case.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:41 PM on June 3, 2007


less attractive women have more opportunity to drop out of the job market entirely than do less attractive men (because being supported by a spouse is still much more available to women than to men).

I would imagine the opposite to be the case: that more attractive women have greater opportunity for dropping out of employment, because they're more likely to be married in the first place, and secondly, because the amount of crap that a man is willing to put up with is largely proportional to the hotness of the person involved, and supporting a freewilling stay-at-home financial parasite* rates as craptacular in many mens' books.

*ducks
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:49 PM on June 3, 2007


pictures of tubgirl using a vaulting pole

* washes brain with caustic soda poured in the ears
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:52 PM on June 3, 2007


I would imagine the opposite to be the case: that more attractive women have greater opportunity for dropping out of employment, because they're more likely to be married in the first place

That's a good point. But you realize, don't you, that it means that positive discrimination for women on the basis of attractiveness would be underrepresented by wage differences, too?

because the amount of crap that a man is willing to put up with is largely proportional to the hotness of the person involved, and supporting a freewilling stay-at-home financial parasite* rates as craptacular in many mens' books.

Even if that's true, you're not accounting for who less attractive women marry—they well may marry less attractive men for whom marriage prospects are poor in any case, thus making the men disinclined to divorce on the basis of a spouse's non-employment. In any event, your unmodified suppositions, especially in combination, would result in mostly only good-looking women being housewives. How true is that in your experience? :)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:29 PM on June 3, 2007


It approaches 100%, EB.

(when I'm dreaming, anyway)
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on June 3, 2007


But you realize, don't you, that it means that positive discrimination for women on the basis of attractiveness would be underrepresented by wage differences, too?

Exactly what I was implying.

your unmodified suppositions, especially in combination, would result in mostly only good-looking women being housewives. How true is that in your experience?

Don't be so disingenuous. We all know that women let themselves go to rack & ruin once they have snared themselves a breadwinner * ducks even lower

(it may be worth mentioning also that attractive women are more likely to have snared successful men, reducing their need to take on lucrative but unpleasant or stressful roles, or to work unpaid overtime to kiss the bosses arse, or similar things that can increase remuneration)

Fair enough point about people partnering up with their perceived ballpark level of attractiveness. Incidentally, I understand that more attractive people are actually less likely to marry, or they marry much later, as they find it harder to meet partners who match up with their own sense of self-worth. Apparently, this phenomenon is backed up by empirical studies, which I can't be bothered googling.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:00 PM on June 3, 2007


There are certainly diminishing returns contributing to this thread. Almost all of Ethereal Bligh's objections have been responded to by me numerous times, but instead of engaging those answers, he ignores them and repeats himself.

His position has been the universal opposite of Miko's: that men are more discriminated against than women on the basis of appearance in general.

This was dealt with here and other places. To the extent that Miko's assertions could be falsifiable, they are false. Her comment was loaded with occupation and talent-based terminology. Importantly this literature is able to speak to this kind of claim in straightforward manner. My comment is certainly not the "universal opposite" of Miko's because I don't believe Miko really has a coherent or falsifiable claim. It's like saying I'm arguing the opposite of 'Twas Brillig and the Slithy Tove'. I don't believe Miko n' friends want Miko n friend's viewpoint to be coherent or falsifiable. I think it was embarrassing, inconvenient, and unpleasantly shocking for them even to discover here that their claims could even be checked! Once these claims were checked and found to be false, they simply reinvent their claims in such a way that they are even more subjective, muddy, and untestable.

This is what Ethereal Bligh wants. He wants to reinvent the fact that women like fashion more than men as the "Real Discrimination". This is pure sophistry. It isn't discrimination in any true sense and is not what Miko was trying to accuse when she explicitly fingered ubiquitous and special male discrimination against females on the basis of their appearance as holding them back from success.

It is dgaicun who is making assertions about relative amounts of appearance discrimination, not that paper's authors.

This is pure bullshit. The authors and other researchers who cite these papers say these papers show exactly what I say they show. I have quoted the authors of one study twice now, explicitly saying their paper disconfirms the popular assertion that female appearance has a higher effect on female wages than male appearance.

it doesn't occur to him that the relative wage differences that result from appearance discrimination might not be a reliable indicator of the relative amounts of discrimination which give rise to those wage differences. And when I do point that out, he is blind to it and throws appeals to the authority of peer-review when what is really at issue here is his interpretation of the study, not the study itself.

No, actually I know why you don't get the paper. I know the flaws in your reasoning. It's not solely an appeal to authority (though it certainly is - justly - a part of it). One commentator tried to point them out to you and you clearly didn't get it. I can't teach physics to a rock. The flaw you think is in the paper is accounted for in the model. The most I can say is, even if you don't get it, if you have any sort of reasonable humility, which do you honestly find more plausible: that the authors and the reviewers (who understand the models) missed a mistake that you caught, or that you (who doesn't understand the models) mistakenly spotted a flaw that isn't there?

And again, yes the authors are taking their results to show what I say they show. I can show you similar quotes from other research papers, but the fact that you are curiously blind to the unambiguous quote (contradicting the claim as made by Naomi Wolf) I keep repeating from these authors, makes such a labor seem pretty pointless.

On the other hand, he also says that while women are discriminated against for being overweight, men are discriminated against for being skinny. He doesn't provide a citation for that claim. Why does he assume this is true? I'll tell you why: he's constructed a narrative about appearance discrimination on the basis of these studies that he now mistakes for truth. His narrative fills in all the gaps and, consequently, allows him to make the universal claim he's made. That's having an agenda, not being a stickler for truth and good science.

Ha, you are such a dick. Sorry I wasn't just "making shit up" to fill in my secret "men's rights" (*wank* *wank*) agenda. From Gintis and Bowles Determinants of Earnings paper which provides many citations (page 3):

"Obese women and thin men appear to be penalized [in earnings]"

Oops, were you wrong again? 'Attractiveness' covers the gestalt of appearance judgment including grooming, weight, and face. I could cherry-pick traits in the same lame-ass way, but it gets us nowhere. You are cherry-picking because you are grasping. (that weight has a direct, appearance discriminatory effect on wages is controversial anyway, since some research shows skinny people who were only fat as adolescents nevertheless earn the same as other fat adults. But I digress.)

Another example of his agenda is that he has commented that women discriminating against other women on the basis of appearance disproves Miko's claim. But Miko nor anyone else here has said that men are the only people discriminating against women.

Sorry, but Miko's narrative was explicitly one of male on female discrimination:

"no matter how good you are at what you do, you can never escape judgement, one way or the other, for the reaction of men to your physical appearance.

She didn't say "people to your physical appearance". My citation in response that females are equally harsh in illegal discrimination and more harsh in informal judgment was therefore apt. Also apt: "preferences and even social pressures are not "discrimination"".

While I believe that women are, in general, more discriminated against on the basis of appearance than are men, I don't believe that men aren't discriminated against on this basis.

In what capacity? Using what data? Where are your quantitative, controlled studies?

the authors of that paper didn't take into consideration that less attractive women have more opportunity to drop out of the job market entirely than do less attractive men

This certainly makes it doubtful that you even read the paper like you said you did. The authors explicitly test this hypothesis (pp 14-15), find a small effect, and write: "However this selectivity has no important impact on the basic estimates of looks on earnings".
posted by dgaicun at 8:37 PM on June 3, 2007


The Determinants of Earnings

www.santafe.edu/~bowles/jelpap.pdf
posted by dgaicun at 9:05 PM on June 3, 2007


This would never have happened in Iran, because only women are allowed to be present at female sporting events. I met some female volleyballers in Esfahan, and asked how they play in hejab..."Oh, no. We wear singlets & hotpants. It's just that no men are allowed: no male officials, trainers, coaches or relatives...none at all". Perhaps they were on to something...?

On the other hand, freedom's messy. People have more choices - they're free to photograph & discuss women. Stuff happens. That's what happens in a democracy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:33 PM on June 3, 2007


Dgaicun, you've misrepresented what Miko has written, you've misrepresented what I've written, you've misrepresented the conclusions of the papers you've cited, you egregiously contradict yourself within the span of three sentences of the third paragraph of your most recent comment, you call me names and you imply that I'm a liar. That makes you one of the most bad-faith commenters I've encountered on MeFi in a long time. To top it all off, you can't seem to grasp the idea that wage differentials are not the same thing as appearance discrimination differentials and, as a result, you conclude I'm the one who's not smart enough to understand what we're arguing about. That makes you both stupid and arrogant. You're wasting my time.

I'll leave you to ponder this quote from the study we've been discussing:

What is most interesting is that the ratings of women are more dispersed around the middle category. This is a common finding in the social-psychological literature: women's appearances evoke stronger reactions, both positive and negative, than mens'.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:23 AM on June 4, 2007


And for completeness's sake, Aloysius Bear wrote:

Part of your comments suggested that what econometricians call heteroskedasticity may be a problem (that is, the variance of the wage at high beauty levels is higher than the variance of the wage at low levels of beauty).

...and this is not what I've been suggesting. Aloysius Bear didn't understand my complaint (not against the paper, but against how dgaicun was interpreting the results of the paper) and so his response to me about it was irrelevant.

Earlier today, I started to write an example up and do the math and analysis on it as was done in this paper, but I gave up after awhile realizing that it was too much work to justify since dgaicun is not really paying attention to what I'm writing, anyway. But I will write out the basics, and anyone who wants to can elaborate on it themselves.

Imagine that there are a hundred men and a hundred women. They are differently attractive. For simplicity's sake, both men and women divide equally into, say, three ranges of attractiveness. There's one interviewer who decides on jobs, salaries, and promotions. This interviewer allows attractiveness to influence his employment decisions for all people, men and women, equally. That is, neither men nor women are discriminated against/for on the basis of appearance more than the other. There are ten different jobs/salaries for men, ranging from 30K to 120K, and the men will be equally distributed between those ten levels. For women, there are just two different jobs/salaries at 30K and 50K, and the women will be distributed equally between the two.

Now the interviewer makes his decisions, using appearance as a factor equally for both men and women.

How will wages correlate to attractiveness? If we come up with coefficients as was done in the study we've been discussing, how will the coefficients for the men and the women compare? Will they be the same?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:43 AM on June 4, 2007


(and you know, when I first saw this post, i just knew we were going to sink in the murky depths of heteroskedasticity. again)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:39 AM on June 4, 2007


Metafilter: the murky depths of heteroskedasticity
posted by cortex at 6:53 AM on June 4, 2007


Elaboration: it's not heteroskedasticity because that would be an actual problem with their research. But their methods are fine: they're properly correlating attractiveness to wages. And it's not a problem if we want to compare the separate correlations for men and women—because, after all, we're still talking about wage differences. If x amount of attractiveness correlates to y amount of wage difference for men and z amount of wage difference for women, then we can of course say that y is greater or less than z.

The problem comes in when we want to use a relative wage difference as a stand-in for relative amounts of appearance discrimination. The authors don't do this, they limit themselves to conclusions about the wage differences themselves. But, for example, dgaicun concern has been about levels of appearance discrimination, not just the relative levels of the outcome of appearance discrimination. In making his argument, he's implicitly assumed that the relative amount of wage discrimination can be understood to be a proxy for the relative amounts of appearance discrimination. But that will only be the case when the distribution of all wages is the same for both men and women.

Again, look at something like the example I give in the previous comment. Take the most simplified example: job interviewers rate male and female attractiveness and their conclusions are the only variable they take into consideration. If men have salaries that differ a total of, say, 200% while women have salaries that differ a total of, say, 1%, then the resulting wage differences according to attractiveness will be large for men but small for women. Because they're forced to be small for women. Within that small range, the interviewer's bias is just as strong for women as it is for men. But the resulting wage differences are much smaller because the salary range is much smaller. If, using this example, someone were to see from the results that because the wage premium for attractiveness for men is 200% while the wage premium for attractiveness for women is 1% that therefore men are discriminated against 200 times more strongly than are women, they'd be wrong. Men are discriminated against the same amount as women.

One might argue that surely the outcome is what matters most: if a man's salary can be affected 200% by his attractiveness while a woman's can only be affected 1% by hers, then surely the man has a bigger problem? And, sure, that's true. But the thing is, we know that the relative amounts of of how big of a deal this is are contingent upon something that doesn't have to do with attractiveness. That is to say, it doesn't reflect the bias we're looking at—it's independent. And if women's salaries were to rise and occupy the same range as men's, they'd have the same size resulting problem men do, in this hypothetical. Since we're concerned about the actual appearance bias, and because we've (tentatively) agreed that it's unfair, then the contingent salary range which heavily determines outcome is irrelevant. We really want to get at the actual relative levels of bias. At least if we're comparing men and women. Which, of course, is exactly what we're doing in this thread.

We'd need more information on wages in these papers to account for the wage distribution and to then get at the actual relative levels of appearance discrimination. The conclusions could be any number of things, including that women are more discriminated against on the basis of appearance, or that men are. However, the bit I quoted from the paper in a previous comment is suggestive: that people respond more strongly to the appearance of females than they do males, and that this is well-demonstrated in the social-psychology literature. That's good reason to suspect that the appearance bias would be stronger for women than men. This still could, nevertheless, result in greater wage differences for men than women.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:27 PM on June 4, 2007


Zzzzz.

Hard to believe this mess actually started out with a picture of a pretty girl. You guys really know how to let the wind out of people's sails.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:13 AM on June 5, 2007


Well, speak for yourself. Maybe pretty girls are your thing.

My pigeon just happens to be heteroskedasticity.

I am actually so pleased to have found other heteroskedasticists in this community that I am going to update my profile to reflect my calling.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:23 AM on June 5, 2007


Maybe pretty girls are your thing.

Are you sure you're not a homoscedasticist?
posted by Dave Faris at 12:54 AM on June 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I guess that my vagina must have robbed me of my sense of humor, because I just don't get the joke.

Ugh.

And yeah, I know, you're dying to tell me to loosen up/take a nap/chill out/have a cup of tea and stop being a bitch about a little light-hearted fun. Just pretend you already made the comment, I read them and was suitably chastised, etc.


Is this one of those vagina monologues?
posted by c13 at 5:51 AM on June 5, 2007


Dave Faris: hm, yes, maybe I am confused. I'll update my profile again. Perhaps bicuriousscedastcist...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:47 AM on June 5, 2007


Christ, I leave for a few minutes and all the sudden people are going all heteroscedastic on my ass. Brings a tear to my professional statistician eye.

Just to be clear though, I am not homoscedastic, merely a standard deviant.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:28 AM on June 5, 2007


All I know is I react strongly to belle curves.
posted by cortex at 11:38 AM on June 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


a posteriori, I presume.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:19 PM on June 5, 2007


especially when two-tailed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 PM on June 5, 2007


(depending on the quality of the sample, of course. i mean, vital statistics are significant for these sorts of unions & combinations. perhaps this is just my particular a priori selection bias, though, and a standard normal curve is suitable, at the end of the day, for a good mean square root)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:59 PM on June 5, 2007


Dorks.
posted by c13 at 4:15 PM on June 5, 2007


At least I'm getting sum.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:09 PM on June 5, 2007


bugger. a set of standard normal curves
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:32 PM on June 5, 2007


It's only proper that pole vaultress and monsterpig boy get married and have kids that are ultra-internet celebrities, just for the sake of continuity.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:10 PM on June 5, 2007


pigs might fly.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:30 PM on June 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


(d'oh! i hadn't seen monsterpigboy, and assumed he was like starwarskid, but in a monster pig suit. wow. what a monster pig! i'll try again..."nah, they're unlikely to get together - he only hits pigs")
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2007


Turns out Daddy, who's so upset at the sexualization of his precious daughter, is a creep.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:20 PM on June 5, 2007


Turns out Daddy, who's so upset at the sexualization of his precious daughter, is a creep.

Yeah, that was mentioned previously in this thread. As strongly as I feel against that defense tactic, I also quite strongly disagree that from his use of it he can be described as a "creep". That's his job as a defense attorney. He has an ethical obligation to use whatever tactics he has at his disposal to defend his client. The problem is that we continue to allow the admissibility of this sort of argument, not that anyone continues to use it. They are obligated to use it. And because of this fundamental truth of our adversarial legal system, what a defense attorney says in court (or in a public defense of his client—though that's much more questionable) should never be confused with his own personal beliefs.

I don't doubt, however, that a great many defense attorneys, simply by virtue of the psychological difficulties involved in maintaining such an advocacy role, end up actually believing a number of dubious and/or morally repulsive things.

If you've not ever worked in an advocacy/adversarial capacity, you may not really understand the subtleties and difficulties doing so. I experienced this when I was a rape crisis advocate. There, my job was to play a particular institutional role. That role was to advocate for my client's interests, regardless of my personal beliefs or feelings about either the client or the circumstances of their rape. Specifically, that means that the small percentage of false accusations of rape that occur, and which an advocate might suspect, are irrelevant to the advocate's duty. You can have your own personal doubts and dislikes, but in your capacity as an advocate, you do not question the victim's account. It's not your job to do so.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:35 PM on June 5, 2007


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