I’m sure there’s a portion of Barstool’s beloved 15-24 demographic that has no idea who Allison Stokke is. And for as much as that pains me, I’ll give more context. Allison Stokke was a pole vaulter who went viral around 2007/2008 for a photo where she looked really sexy and, it being a different time then, all the sports blogs and writers who are now so sanctimonious about not objectifying women and whatever breathlessly came themselves over how hot this barely legal girl was.
Fast forward to now and the photos above come on the heels of an article on ESPN where Allison Stokke discussed her previous crush of internet fame and no one seems to be discussing either. Besides some weird anecdotes about grown men sending her postcards declaring their love while she was still in high school, there was some interesting talk about where her head is at with her looks-based fame now:
Says Stokke: “At Cal, I wrote about it once for a Sociology class. We were supposed to write about some deep thing that affected you emotionally, and then you had the option to share, or not share and delete it. And I didn’t share it. I deleted it. I wish I still had that somewhere, because I think it would be very different now.
“My response back then, in 2008 — was I flattered? In some ways, sure. But I was overwhelmed, too. And I think my response to being overwhelmed was to just stay away from it entirely. But now, I’m trying to figure out how to reclaim it and own it and push it in the right direction. And benefit from it — in terms of fueling my training. And if I try to ignore it, it will take on a life of its own. Which is what I did in college: ignore it. And I lost control of my own story.”
So overall I’m not sure how to read that. I look at this article, her saying she wants to control her own story, see these pictures coming out and how her Instagram looks like a Nike ad (or at least a Shredz Instagram “fitness model” promotion) now, and the additional photos strategically hitting the internet shortly thereafter and I see a woman grabbing control of her own story. She has to have seen the other women who’ve commoditized this stuff for the good of their career and goals and now wants to get in while she can on her own terms. And who am I not to support that? If this happened five years later, she’d either be instantly rich for promoting herself as a sex symbol or instantly a feminist icon for rejecting it and endearing herself to internet women. So this is the time that we as a website should be there for her and give her attention now that she needs it to get to the next level. It’s the least I can do to pay her back for her initial viral fame:
Here’s to you Allison Stokke, may you achieve the success you deserve relative to the attractiveness you display in every single photo.