Today I’ll be blaming the Internet. More precisely, I’ll be blaming Dude Nation’s appropriation of the Internet as a women’s-oppression-delivery device.
Rare is the behavior the humanitarian outcome of which may be said to improve when performed by insensate mobs, and perpetual penisism is no exception; the phenomenon of internet voyeurism magnifies a zillionfold the misogyny of a single “hubba.” To wit:
The other day WaPo reported that some knob sports blogger, an excrescence who by definition exalts the basest impulses of his species, had posted a photograph of an obscure record-breaking high school pole vaulter. The photo showed the woman at a meet, adjusting her ponytail. The knob sports blogger titled the blog entry “Pole vaulting is sexy, barely legal.” He is a dude, so naturally he felt inclined to add “Hubba hubba and other grunting sounds” to his jokey ‘analysis’ of her athleticism.
Because it is the prime directive of dudes to circlejerk all over the internet, downloading images of the pole vaulter soon became pretty much the only purpose to which they put their computers. Eighteen-year-old Allison Stokke, whose crime was pole vaulting while female, had achieved internet pornaliciousness.
Which freaked Stokke out. Says WaPo:
Stokke read on message boards that dozens of anonymous strangers had turned her picture into the background image on their computers. She felt violated. It was like becoming the victim of a crime, Stokke said. Her body had been stolen and turned into a public commodity, critiqued in fan forums devoted to everything from hip-hop to Hollywood.
After dinner one evening in mid-May, Stokke asked her parents to gather around the computer. She gave them the Internet tour that she believed now defined her: to the unofficial Allison Stokke fan page [...] complete with a rolling slideshow of 12 pictures; to the fan group on MySpace, with about 1,000 members; to the message boards and chat forums where hundreds of anonymous users looked at Stokke’s picture and posted sexual fantasies.
The Washington Post calls this “unwanted attention.” I call it out-and-out pornulational harassment, but it is not permissible, when reporting on human rights violations endured by women, to be too sympathetic. Here’s what the WaPo reporter had to say about how the knob sports blogger initially came to violate Stokke:
She was hot. She was 18.
Lest we fail to suffiently appreciate the degree to which her physiognomy compelled the helpless knob sports blogger to “react [...] on instinct” by pornalizing her, WaPo gives readers an overview of her hotness:
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.
The knob sports blogger perceived that his next action — to post her photo without her permission and caption it with wolf-whistles for the prurient enjoyment of his 18-to-35-year-old male audience — was “a no-brainer.”
I’d make the obvious joke, but it’s a no-brainer.
His exploitation of Stokke has brought him some much-engorged exposure and popularity. Oh, he’s caught a bit of flak since Stokke and her parents went public with their revulsion, but he’s a dude, so there’s no taking her pictures down or apologizing for his part in her public humiliation. Instead, he has posted new “high-res photos [...] with the written permission of the photographer .” Take that, young high school girl! Way to smack down that teenager, knob sports blogger! Boo-ya!
Dude Nation’s automatic assumption is that any woman who flouts paternalistic convention by appearing outside her home is a public toilet. That a public woman, such as a teenage athlete, has no right to the slightest dignity is commonly considered a settled point. Quoth the knob sports blogger in a second post facetiously titled “Please be respectful of Allison Stokke “:
It’s 2007, people: time to realize that attractive women athletes will always be recognized and — yes, sometimes — obsessed over. Is it right or wrong? I don’t know. But it’s reality.
He doesn’t know if making a teenage girl feel like a public toilet is right or wrong? Yeah, and I’m Candida Royale.
Of course he knows. He just doesn’t give a flying fuck. Neither does anyone else in his tribe, which is why this thing he innocently pretends not to understand is also a thing he calls ‘reality.’ The motto of young male pornocrats — ‘women are public toilets’ — would be vulgar as a guiding principle even if women actually were public toilets. The fact that we are human beings makes Dude Nation’s religion one of surpassing cruelty and malice.
1. The photographer, it seems, had originally threatened the knob sports blogger with legal action unless the original pictures were taken down, but now that the Stokkes have voiced their outrage in national media, “[the photographer] no longer finds them a sympathetic cause.” Nail that uppity bitch!
2. It will surprise nobody that the 160 + comments to this ‘be respectful of our sex toy’ post can be summarized, leaving out the overwhelming preponderance of vulgarity, as “I’d hit it. What’s a pole vault?”