The Media's Obsession With Jumping A-level Girls
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Like the start of the grouse season, the August A-level results day has its own traditions. The first of which is images of young attractive blonde ladies jumping, hugging and kissing must be used to illustrate the story.
This year however there's something of a back-lash, organised through the #waronblondes hash tag on Twitter and spearheaded by Christopher Cook, the FT's education correspondent.
Siblings, twins and triplets are popular but only if they've got the same high results. If one's clutching a fist of D grades it's never going to fly. The craze started back in 2004 when sisters Lil, Helen and Kate became the first triplets to be admitted to Cambridge. Their story was helped no doubt by their red, white and blue tops. Nearly every news organisation ran it.
Traditionally the Independent tended to take a different slant. About six years ago they had a girl in tears clutching her results with the headline 'What Now?' and advice on applying via clearing.
So how have the UK media done this year? Have we moved on, or played it safe and sexiest?
Well, (surprise surprise) the Daily Mail went for a mega montage of hugs, jumps and hair.
The Daily Telegraph opted for jumps too, probably because this was one of the first of this year's images to hit the PA wire.
The Sun also ticked all the boxes with blondes, jumping and a triplets story tacked on the end of the piece.
The BBC managed to find a rare thing, a celebrating group of boys, bravo chaps.
Sky News focused on the UCAS call centre and all the enquires they'd be handling, which was a rather unusual angle.
The thing is, photographers are conscious of the stereotype and so do try and shoot a more varied amount of images. On sites such as Press Association and Getty there are pictures of boys and mixed groups of teenagers. It's just fellow picture editors fail to choose them as they're perhaps not eye-catching enough. I guess the other thing is that, if you're dreams have been crushed and you've not got the results you wanted, you're hardly going to hang around smiling for the photo-op but instead more likely to slink off to the pub to work out what you're going to do next.
For those that have got the grades they needed to secure a place at university, a future of fun, adventure and debt awaits. As for the media's reporting of your successes, well if you can't beat 'em, join 'em I say, so here's The Most Excitable, Jumpiest, Girliest, Twintastic A-level Results Gallery... EVER!
Until next year....
Andrew Webb is the Picture Editor for AOL UK and the Huffington Post