Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Allison Stokke: The New World of the Internet and Female Athletes...

The Washington Post today has a story on the front page of their website about Allison Stokke, an 18-year old pole vaulter from California who is not getting attention for her athletic or academic achievements, but for the way she looks.

Needless to say, she nor her family does not welcome the attention. She had been featured on various blogs like With Leather and other messsage boards and forums.

Here is the link to the article: Click Here

As a blogger myself who follows baseball and sports for the most part, I think what has happened to Ms. Stokke is a symbol of our times. I have 3 sisters, 2 of them who were collegiate athletes, and she being only 18, any father or older brother seeing their daughter sexualized on the web would be a cause for concern.

If I were in the position of Allison's father, I'd be.

Information travels faster and more efficient than ever, and it sucks that a young athlete's life has had to have been turned upside down as one poster said, "she's a young, beautiful woman and also an athlete".

That being said, I don't see anything pornographic or illicit about the pictures (unlike Ms. Antonella Barba of American Idol) and she may not have much recourse. She might be trapped in this image for time to come, and get unwanted attention, sadly.

Right now, I just see a tremendously good athlete, not some sex symbol. Hopefully, there might be a balance, but most people are visual and see what is front of them and she may be stuck in this.

However, if I were her, I probably would not appreciate the attention for the way I look, but rather for my athletic and academic ability.

In a word fixated on beauty, and with images from the modeling world, Playboy and Maxim, Ms. Stokke is a victim of the public who likes their athletes good looking and proficient at what they do. In the eyes of many, she might be that rare combo.

She might embrace it, she might not – but it is her right to do so.

At her age, though, there is still a level of innocence still expected, and perhaps her family feels it has been taken away from her. For now, it looks like she does not want to venture into a world where she’d be looked upon like Anna Kournikova.

It's not fair, but it is what it is...

Updated: More Thoughts on Allison Stokke and the Whole Debate on the Internet and Blogs...

25 comments:

the wayward o said...

matt ufford hemming and hawing in the article is kind of sad and funny at the same time ... he's like 'hey i just posted a picture of a young girl it's not MY fault.'

uh huh. sure buddy.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Very true, Wayward One. It'a ll about getting attention...

For me, with three sisters, I know where the father is coming from and most of them would be p/o'ed if they saw their daughter on the net and the object of some guys' dreams.

However, thanks the to net, there's nothing that can done to stop it as long as she is performing in public.

Then pictures become fair game to anyone, much as we do.

I try to stick to covering professional athletes, teams and prominent people, not high-school kids.

littles: said...

If the goal of a blog is to drive traffic to your site, then Ufford succeeded when he posted the picture of Stokke.

And now he is on the front page of one of the most powerful MSM sources in the world.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

No doubt, littles. With Leather focuses on that type of material and is catered to that market, so bless his heart he's gotten MSM attention.

A lot of the sports blogs mix in sports commentary, and sex -- at least most of the high-traffic/popular ones do.

It's not the thing I do, and I would have strong reservations in doing so.

the wayward o said...

before you do this to a young athlete, you have to ask yourself: do i want to be the guy who is one step away from being a moustachioed perv at the boardwalk? matt obviously forgot to ask himself that question. or he asked himself and the answer was "YES."

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Right on, Wayward. I would never do that.

However, a lot of people don't seem to understand that.

This is a young girl doing her "thing" and what she loves, she surely did not ask for any of this...

Ed Valentine said...

This post is definitely in bad taste. I think you need to leave high school kids alone. She is a beautiful young woman, but she should be allowed to make her own choice about when and how to present that. With Leather shamelessly used her to get traffic, and it worked. That sucks.
http://valentinesviews.blogspot.com/2007/05/stokke-post-crosses-line.html

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Valentine, I agree with you.

I don't know if this was directed to me, but I do not like what With Leather did. I said flat out it was ornery and wrong what happened.

Some guy now has fame for posting a high school girl's picture.

It should be choice how she should be portrayed, not bloggers on the internet...

Ed Valentine said...

Maryland, I was of course referring to the With Leather post, not yours. You and I are on the same side of this issue.

mister scruff said...

what the hell , she's famous now. if i'd start talking to some very good and trustworthy PR reps. like it or not, she's the next Anna Kornikova.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Mr Scruff, the difference between Allison, Anns Kournikova, Danica Patrick or any other athlete who uses hee sexuality to market her self, is that Ms. Stokke is still in high school, and clearly wants no part in it for now.

If she were older, and she wanted a part in the whole uproar - fine; however, she's still just a teen in my eyes, and to objectify her is just wrong.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Thanks, Valentine for the clarification...

Anonymous said...

The lady pole-vaulted 13' 6". That's freaking incredible! What an athelete!

Mike said...

You don't want to know what I'd do to her. Seriously

hawgsports.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

...and the creeps weigh in. I see it took all of 12 hours...

WinningTheTurnoverBattle said...

The thing about this story in the Post is that it has had the exact opposite effect of what I'm sure this girl's father wanted. I for one had not heard about this story until the Post article, but within a minute googled up the picture in question as well as a host of others that have popped up. If anything doing the Post story made things far worse for this girl.

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Anonymous said...

"THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ALLISON STOKKE PHENOMENON" - March 31, 2008

(ALL PEOPLE IN AGREEMENT, PLEASE FORWARD AND POST THIS POSTING AT YOUR WILL ON ALL SITES REGARDING MISS STOKKE)

I had not heard about Allison Stokke or the internet fame she has attracted until today. I was actually searching online for information about another person named Allison and I stumbled across many of the websites, pages of blogs, TV interviews, pictures etc about this young woman.

I have spent most of the day reading about the whole sensation and the attention her, her family and boyfriend have endured and I would like to make reiterate some of the remarks I have read and bring up some new food for thought - things I have thought about a lot in American society that have not really been mentioned in any of the things I have read regarding Allison Stokke's phenomenon.

All in all, let me just say that this whole thing is a huge testimony to the statement I have not heard anyone refer to, and that is:

"THE DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA"

I'm sure we all agree that the internet is now a dangerous place. It is a place where people we never see or meet can hide in the privacy of their own homes and comment on, post pictures of, watch videos of and truly affect the lives of people they may or may not know. I think these people need to:

"GET A LIFE"

It is clear and evident that Allison Stokke is a beautiful young woman with much talent. It is sick that all these people have made her into a sex symbol online without her consent and have created this phenomenon.

"DON'T YOU BLOGGERS AND ONLINE TIME WASTERS HAVE ANYTHING BETTER OR REMOTELY CONSTRUCTIVE TO DO WITH YOUR LIVES? AND IF THIS IS IT, YOU ARE A POOR EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING".

Does seeing an attractive girl in athletic attire really make you want to go ahead and ruin people's lives because it turns you on that much? And if you are turned on that much, you've probably had very little experience with women of any kind.

Furthermore, your comment and websites about whether or not her boyfriend is a 'douchebag' is even more appalling. You are all

'OBVIOUSLY JEALOUS"

to the point that you'd spend your life trying to ruin her boyfriend too. You do not know her boyfriend and you do not know her. You idiots should no better than to

"JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER"

I'm sure she is a very nice young woman and I'm sure she has much better judgement about people and her boyfriend than you lonely computer geeks and internet bloggers ever will.

"I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU GUYS POST YOUR OWN PICTURE WHEN YOU WRITE THIS STUFF - BUT WE KNOW YOU WON'T BECAUSE YOU'RE COWARDS".

If Amanda Beard wants to pose nude for Playboy let her. Leave this young girl alone. If Allison Stokke one day decided to pose for Playboy too, then we are all terrible judges of character, but we know that won't happen.

"HER AGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS"

I have read on many pages, that if Allison was in her 20s or older, none of this would be a problem.

"THAT IS GARBAGE"

Stop and think what kind of harassment the internet, media and you blogging idiots give movie actors, models and celebrities. America has become used to bringing down celebrities and posting pics, videos and comments about women and men we see in movies. Paparazzi is a HUGE problem in America and in Hollywood etc, don't bring all that into the life of a young and talented high school girl from California...

"AS HUMANS WE HATE TO BE MADE FUN OF - REMEMBER HOW IT FEELS TO PICKED ON A T SCHOOL OR WORK BY A FELLOW STUDENT OR CO-WORKER? WELL TIMES THAT BY A MILLION AND YOU MIGHT BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND HOW ALLISON AND HER FAMILY FEEL".

America is in the age of celebrity scandals, stolen sex tapes, celebrity madness and worship, internet porn, anonymous blogging etc etc etc.

To all you perverted, sick and lifeless internet bloggers and Allison Stokke sickos:

"DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE OR SOMETHING THAT WILL HELP OTHER PEOPLE LIVES - BETTER STILL GET A LIFE OF YOUR OWN-

YOU GUYS ARE ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC"..

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

It's been a while since I have touched on this topic.

I'm not sure if you're attacking me or whatever, but my point was the internet is a shady place, despite it's usefulness and working in IT security, it's no surprise this happened.

I'm saying you just have to be careful, and if I was a friend, boyfriend, brother or parent of Ms. Stokke, I'd be shocked.

It's crazy -- this is probably the most commented piece I have ever had on the blogs...

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