The Internet has done a lot of terrible things for our world.
It’s corrupted our minds, our youth, and it’s made pornography much more accessible than it has any right to be. Without a doubt, the world was a much simpler time prior to the Internet becoming commonplace in our homes.
But the world wide web has also done some good for the universe. Aside from providing you all with my wonderful voice, that is. And that good thing is animated .gifs.
If you don’t know what an animated .gif is — you do. Maybe you just never heard the terminology. But they are live captures of actual events, usually lasting about three to five seconds. Why they are called .gifs, or whether they are pronounced “giffs” or “jiffs” is something I do not know.
But what I do know is that their brief length caters perfectly to our ADD-ridden society. And not only are they three seconds long, but they repeat on a loop. So not only are you watching something awesome, but you are watching something awesome over and over again.
The beauty of these live images is that they so often sum up the things you are trying to say. If you are confused about something, rather than saying “I’m confused,” you can just show an image of a dude making a humorous yet confused face, and it speaks volumes.
Not many things make me laugh harder than a well executed .gif. However, they don’t always have to necessarily be funny. In fact, a .gif can evoke an emotion other than humor.
Which leads me to Stop Girl.
During sporting events, networks will often instruct their cameramen to pan on fans whose facial expressions best embody the performance of the team they are supporting. If the home team is losing by 25 in a basketball game, they’ll find a fan who looks miserable. It’s a quick shot that sums up the game perfectly, and it makes it more relatable to the viewer. It’s an effective strategy.
Well two years ago, during a college basketball game between the University of Iowa and the University of Arizona, the home team — Arizona — had just blown a sizable lead, and found themselves tied in the fourth quarter.
The cameraman, during a slow moment, happened to find one female collegiate in the crowd who looked absolutely devastated that her team had just blown a lead. But when the girl notices the camera pointed directly at her, her emotions do a complete 180, and she goes from misery to joy in the blink of an eye.
I’m… I’m in love.
The girl, who became known as “the Stop Girl,” became an Internet sensation. The general .gif has been viewed more than one million times, and an entire Reddit subforum has even been devoted to her. Which is beyond creepy.
But it’s extremely easy to see why the Stop Girl became so beloved.
At the onset of the clip, she is absolutely brokenhearted. She looks like every single member of her family just died. And then they magically came back to life only die again in a more brutal fashion.
But then, within a flash, her smile suddenly erupts, her face overcome with dimples, and then she playfully yells at the cameraman to stop. It is absolutely adorable. It’s the human version of a cat playing with a ball of string.
And then it keeps going! Everytime she becomes sad again, I become nervous that this next time — for some reason — she will not become happy again. That she will stay sad. But then she doesn’t! The cycle repeats itself.
The reason why this became so popular, I think, is due to the range of emotions that unfold in such a short period of time. She goes from heartbreak to happiness in two seconds. And you know how you experience that spontaneous burst of laughter, and then you try to fight it no avail? That’s exactly what she is going through, and this .gif captures it.
And the fact that she’s extremely cute doesn’t hurt, either. She has a lovable smile, and of course she is wearing a bow. It just wouldn’t work if she wasn’t wearing a bow. And for a small girl, I also find humor in that she’s drinking a large soda that, as it turns out, won’t be illegal in New York City anytime soon.
I’m not going to lie. When I first saw this clip, I watched it for about eight minutes straight. I didn’t do any other extracurricular activities during that time. I just sat there and stared.
Two years later, ESPN tracked down the Stop Girl. They questioned her about the Internet fame, and what she thinks about it. Naturally, she admitted that she was a little creeped out by all the people drooling over her.
They also took a more current picture of her.
A number of people might look at this photo and say, “Ew. 2/10. Would not bang.”
But I think it’s pretty evident that she’s not even trying to look attractive in this photo. Her hair is ragged, she’s wearing no makeup whatsoever, and her clothes look like she just picked them up from a Salvation Army thrift shop an hour before this photo was taken. Plus she’s not wearing the bow.
I also think she’s one of those girls who looks better in real life (or in this case, a .gif) than in a still photo. It’s amazing how many times that works — both ways.
If she tried to look good, she’d look good. In fact, I think that she purposely avoided looking good in a devious attempt to deter all of the Internet creepers away from her. She’s a smart one.
Thankfully, the ESPN article does not reveal her name, and therefore, she will always be known as “the Stop Girl,” and nothing else.
And I think the world needs to take advantage of that. Instead of Stop signs having the words “STOP” written across them, a video image of the Stop Girl yelling her trademark demand would be a much more effective implementation. Are you telling me that more people wouldn’t be inclined to stop at intersections if an adorable girl was the one telling them to through an adorable smile?
It would be a brilliant idea to — wait, I have to stop typing. She’s telling me to! She’s telling me to!