We’re basically done here, kids. We’re not going to maintain this website as we have done for the past 3 (4?) years. We’ve outlined the reasons below. Mostly this screed is a result of Joethedough’s fevered mind - and while Flashboy and Qwghlm have read and approve this message, it’s he who takes ultimate responsibility.
1) Twitter has it covered. The hashtag #sexyalevels covers all bases and has basically always felt like the best way to enjoy the day.
2) We’re all fabulously important people now. Seriously you guys. we’re like the 1% these days and this shit does not look good on golf club applications. Or we’re just busy.
3) Our weapons are useless. In the 3 (4?) years we’ve been doing this, most media outlets remain unrepentant in their skeevy coverage. Worse, some of them have been being a little knowing and arch in their skeeviness. “Look! We’re being ironically appalling. Aren’t we adorable?”
4) You guys knew this was a joke, right? (Part I) People send emails and lose their tempers about this. And it’s kind of easy to get why. And - eh - they’re kind of right. Is there such a thing as ‘glorifying through contempt’? Because there should be. And this is probably what that looks like.
5) You guys knew this was a joke, right? (Part II) People also link to the site saying things like “lovely knockers on here”, and oh god.
6) This thing has become a feedback loop. Cf. “We’re being ironically appalling”. As Chris Cook noted in the FT last year, this isn’t just something that newspapers do in isolation. The news agencies only submit the kind of pictures they think news publishers want; the photographers only take pictures they think their agencies are looking for; and the more publicity-savvy schools only pick and choose their most “beyootiful girls” to pimp out to the snappers. So it goes, right? Nobody is shocked, shocked by this stuff. But it’s sort of begun to feel like giving it a name and making it a big jolly media in-joke is only reinforcing that - what originated as a piss-take starts to feel like it’s become a pro bono branding exercise for the whole sweaty-palmed business.
7) Smash patriarchy, amirite? We’re dicking about here, obviously, but at the heart of this one-joke website is the tiniest, most serious core of fundamental truth: This weird boner that Fleet Street has for soft, female flesh is not OK and we all pay a psychic toll because of it. Now you’d be right to point out the psychic toll we pay is smaller than that which we pay for all the other sexist bullshit in the world, but that’s scarcely the point. It feels all enabley.
8) Dude, aren’t you like, old? Well, I am. Chris and Tom are young and beautiful but I’m an old, old man. I’m 36. I have a wife and son and I moderate a website that collates pictures of 18 year old girls for a joke that even its creators struggle to justify. As the great man once said, it’s no way to run a fucking ballroom.
OK. That’s us nailed to our cross. Thanks for listening. We’re aware it’s absurdly po-faced and over the top to post something like this on a website like this - but we mean it. We’re doneso. Take it home, Annie:
Shame to see it go, but as they say the Twitter #sexyalevels still exists to mock and needle all parts of the sexist system that only celebrates the A-Level results of conventionally-attractive (usually white) girls.