Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Eyes Off the Prize

Today's Washington Post carries the story of a female pole-vaulter who was the subject of degrading sexist comments in the blogosphere and a number of fake social networking pages. In "Teen Tests Internet's Lewd Track Record," high school track star Allison Stokke and her family complain about unauthorized and voyeuristic uses of her image in cyberspace. As a minor, she might have had a better case, but as an eighteen-year-old adult and arguably a public figure, I think she doesn't have much of a case to protest her Internet defamation on legal grounds. Of course, the article also gives free advertising to sleazy sites like Free Leather, which posts clips like this one that literally present female athletes as sexual animals. At least she didn't do anything that would jeopardize her academic record, like the women mercilessly humiliated at BadJocks.com.

Update: Apparently this is such a major and newsworthy story that The Los Angeles Times is covering Stokke's plight on the front page. See "Pole vaulting getting her lots of Internet looks, not all by sports fans." I think the sleazy title says a lot about the interest in this story as well.

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