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Stop Girl is the nickname given to a woman who was briefly filmed by an ESPN cameraman during a college football game in 2010. The video clip was subsequently converted into an animated GIF and her innocuous reaction to being filmed on camera drew much curiosity from internet sports blogs and forum communities, particularly on Reddit where there is an entire subreddit dedicated to the Stop Girl.
On September 18th, 2010, a University of Arizona student was filmed by ESPN during a football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Iowa Hawkeyes. At first unaware of the camera, she begins to laugh and mouths the word “stop” at the cameraman upon realizing that she is being recorded (shown below).
On May 12th, 2011, an animated GIF of the video was submitted to the /r/pics subreddit, but the post only received 18 up votes and 5 comments prior to being archived.
On May 21st, 2011, Redditor luhjan resubmitted the animated image to the /r/gifs subreddit, where it received over 1,200 up votes and 80 comments before it was archived. On June 22nd, 2012, the /r/thestopgirl subreddit was created, which gained more than 11,900 subscribers in the next eight months. On October 8th, the Internet news blog The Daily Dot published an article about the subreddit, noting that most submissions included links to the same Stop Girl animated GIF. On December 20th, the viral content site BuzzFeed published a list of the “54 best animated GIFs of 2012,” ranking the Stop Girl at number 32. On December 28th, Redditor Dino97 submitted a post to the /r/funny subreddit, claiming he had been banned from /r/thestopgirl for posting an animated GIF of a woman being hit by a stop sign (shown below). Within two months, the post received more than 48,000 up votes and 1,500 comments.
The same day, the single serving site TheStopGirl was created, which features the Stop Girl animated GIF on the homepage. On January 2nd, 2013, /r/thestopgirl was featured in a list of bizarre subreddits on the tech news blog Mashable. On February 19th, Redditor RadioactivePie submitted a post titled “I got banned from /r/TheStopGirl for posting this” to the /r/funny subreddit, featuring an edited version of the GIF with Sony Corporation CEO Kazuo Hirai superimposed over the original woman’s face (shown below, left). Within three weeks, the post garnered upwards of 32,000 up votes and 600 comments. The same day, Redditor zoeypayne submitted an edited version of the GIF in which the woman’s teeth were blacked out to the /r/gifs subreddit (shown below, right).
On March 7th, 2013, ESPN published an interview with a woman named Sarah who identified herself as the Stop Girl. In the interview, Sarah revealed that she was mouthing the word “stop” and not “no” as some Internet users had speculated. The following day, Redditor NIGUAR submitted a post to the /r/pics subreddit, featuring a photo of Sarah holding a sign reading “I am the Stop Girl” (shown below). Within 10 hours, the post received over 1,900 up votes and 280 comments.
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