Categories: Crisis management / Culture Wars

27 January 2018

10 comments

Say no to the PC mob: bring back darts sexy walk-on girls

Following the scandal over the groping of girls at the Presidents Club’s reportedly debauched charity gala at the Dorchester Hotel in London, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) has axed its leggy showgirls. To appease feminists and the PC brigade that hates darts, with or without its girly appeal, the PDC finally caved into requests to kiss goodbye to the pretty women who walk male darts stars on to the stage. Darts fans have been betrayed.

For the past twenty years, predominantly middle-aged working-class white men in T-shirts, wearing jeans with tight belts that showcase protruding beer bellies, have played each other at the oche at PDC tournaments. They have competed in front of thousands of often legless fans dressed as sheiks or in other forms of so-called culturally appropriated attire. The sex appeal was supplied by undeniably gorgeous girls wearing thrilling outfits, one-size too small to retain any sense of modesty.

As for the supposedly vulnerable abused and objectified women themselves, married mother-of-one Daniella Allfree, 30, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, told The Sun: ‘Men in power have never tried to take advantage of us.’ She added: ‘It’s a shame this vocal minority have ended our job, like they’re doing us a favour.’ The former world champion Raymond van Barneveld commented: ‘I will really miss the girls! For me they are a part of the darts.’ Meanwhile, thousands of fans have created a petition to reinstate the girls’ exciting walk-on part at PDC darts tournaments.

What aspect of darts culture will be next for the chop?

Today, fans get increasingly raucous during the course of bouts of darts streamed on live TV into millions of ordinary homes in which children are present. What kind of example of adult behaviour does it set to broadcast the sight of thousands of drunken lasses and lads sitting at, standing on or prostrate under tables stacked with jugs of beer? Surely, the time has come to take the alcohol and obscene behaviour out of darts?

And how did it come that we ever made a virtue out of white men with beer guts engaging in a pub game? Surely, at a time when obesity is perhaps the major threat to the future health of our kids, we need better role models than darts provides?

And it cannot go unsaid that there are no black players at the top of the PDC tree. Racism must surely be at play. Otherwise how else can we explain why some white members of a predominately white audience ‘black-up’ their faces and pretend to be caricatured black characters? That’s simply not acceptable.

I could go on getting morally outraged to signal to you, dear reader, how virtuous I am and how low on the pecking order of humanity I view darts players and millions of their fans to be. But the PDC is darts culture commercialized. It is simply suicidal of it to piss off its true fans to appease those who hate its entire persona; those who wish it didn’t exist at all.

The banning of the walk-on models by the bosses of the PDC is yet another example of how those at the top of our institutions – including the likes of BP going ‘beyond petroleum’ and MacDonald’s selling vegan burgers and pretending to be green – lose touch with those who matter most to them in order to satisfy the insatiable demands of those who couldn’t give a toss about them, or who actually want to sabotage the very world they have spent years creating.

In an age in which the football terraces have been abolished and football sanitized, darts was – and still largely is – the last free zone for working-class people to go out and behave without inhibition in a mostly harmless fantasy world of their own making. I say, keep darts authentic. Bring back the girls! Or the world will be much less fun, and the PDC will destroy its USP and go into decline as fans and sponsors fade away.

Be Sociable, Share!

10 responses to “Say no to the PC mob: bring back darts sexy walk-on girls”

  1. Oh dear Paul – if only life is as divided as you seem to imply.

    I laughed out loud at your representation of the darts culture. And as you well know, the changes in football came about from safety issues and big money. BTW, football terraces have returned in many grounds as “safe standing” spaces.

    Yes there is a counter-reaction against a lot of sexist and other behaviours, but much of the resultant change is a result of general societal shifts. Generally we’re all just moving away from things that are frankly just embarrassing and out-dated.

    In the late 1980s, when I started in the motor industry, it was common in a car plant for men working on the production line to make monkey noises (ie act like gorillas) if women were around. It would never have been tolerated at the new Japanese car plants and today such “cultural norms” would seem absurd. They did at the time really and probably would have faded out anyway.

    The fact that darts players need to be escorted by (as you choose to describe these working women) “leggy showgirls”, “pretty women”, “undeniably gorgeous girls wearing thrilling outfits, one-size too small to retain any sense of modesty” to create a “girly sex appeal” for those (men/women/families) who enjoy watching the game (live or on television) would be hilarious, if it wasn’t really quite sad.

    Do the players actually need escorting into the arena? Couldn’t their mums or other carers help them out?

    Come on – is darts just a pantomime performance like the old Saturday afternoon wrestling had become? I thought it was supposed to be a skilled sport!

    And if you think that darts is “the last free-zone for working-class people to go out and behave without inhibition in a mostly harmless fantasy world of their own making”, I think you’ve lost touch with your roots.

  2. Nathan says:

    Christ alive, you’re a neurotic cunt.

  3. Thomas Eagle says:

    Hi Paul, I hope you’re well. A friend’s post on facebook about the parallel decision by F1 to get rid of grid girls made my thoughts crystallise a bit:

    Free will of the majority of the participating women, and good behaviour of the majority of participating men notwithstanding—I am of the opinion it’s a good thing to reduce the opportunities for (generally) men to cast (generally) women in these subordinate / decorative roles, because:

    1) darts and motorsport are two activities in which men and women can theoretically compete against each other, and in which I can’t imagine that biological differences can account for much difference in performance, yet women are underrepresented in both (8% of motorsports https://www.msauk.org/Development/Women-in-Motorsport, dunno% in darts but http://www.patrickchaplin.com/Ladiesdartshistory.htm). I suspect that having women in purely decorative roles for the gratification of men does little to encourage women to take part in the sport, women to watch the sport, or men to take female competitors seriously. That feels outdated. And perhaps the organising bodies of these sports understandably think they have more to gain by not excluding 50% of the population than they do by appeasing the loudest or most retrograde parts of their existing audience.

    2) gender inequality (in opportunity, pay, share of domestic work, access to education, etc) still needs to be tackled, and the dominant model of women as (let’s face it) passive sex objects doesn’t help. I find it hard to take the (generally male-supported) arguments defending women’s “choice” to be pit / walk-on girls (or strippers, or whatever else) seriously when the same support doesn’t appear to be extended to women’s “choice” to get equal pay for equal jobs, or access certain roles, or have their men do a proportional share of domestic tasks (present company excluded, I hope), or whatever else. When there’s more equality, I think it will once again seem fine to have “being young and attractive” as a temporary career path, rather than as the most visible yardstick for 50% of the population in the eyes of the other 50%.

    3) most men are well-behaved, but some men behave terribly (towards the women at these events, or towards others), and when we / they do, the outcomes are statistically much worse for women than they are for men if / when women behave badly [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_crime to take just two: Males = 98.9% of those arrested for forcible rape (US); Women = 77.4% of victims killed by their spouses or ex-spouses (UN 2011)] and in that context, I think (without facts to back me up) that we men need fewer, not more, models of female sexual subservience and subjugation.

    On another tack, I think you weaken your premise (on Spiked as well) by setting so many irrelevant traps for your “opponents”: if I disagree with you, you can cast me as “virtue signalling”, you can say I’m “anti- working class”, or you can say I’m “anti fun”, or say that I’m just being “PC”, or you can say I’m “against the free will of the women who participate voluntarily” – you give yourself a lot of “a-ha, I told you so” escape clauses!

    Furthermore, you seem to sidestep the issue that triggered this current cascade of PC behaviour. You defend all these wholesome working class stereotypes (to which I’m an outsider, but – I think – you are too?) and you hide behind some lovely language [I feel like one can do a solid Google Translate on this phrase: the last free zone for working-class people {=”men”} to go out and behave without inhibition {=”badly”} in a mostly harmless {=”sometimes harmful”} fantasy world of their own making {=”arena in which they hold all the power”]… but what do you think of wealthy, white, middle-aged men (you and I both tick at least two of those three boxes, so can safely assume we’re able to comment) groping young waitresses—paid or otherwise, forewarned or otherwise—and asking if they’re prostitutes at an ostensibly benevolent charity event?

  4. Thomas Eagle says:

    … I also found myself wondering … have you suggested to the Zurich Salon committee and membership that there be scantily-clad walk-on girls to accompany speakers to their seats at your debates? If so, what was the response? If not, is there any particular reason why you don’t think it’s appropriate?

  5. Paul Seaman says:

    Thomas, I respect both your comments and I thank you for them. Yours is a view held by many. It is a legitimate and reasoned point of view. But in the world of darts people generally see things differently. And that difference of perception acted upon forms a major part of the appeal of darts to its core fans.

    Just as the lovers of darts shouldn’t be allowed to impose their game, world view and standards on people on your side of the argument, I suggest that opponents of walk-on girls have no right to deny others their pleasures, culture or jobs. But that is effectively what has happened. Darts has been made to bow to what ‘others’ believe to be socially acceptable. This did not come from the fans, the players or from the game’s organisers. It came from small groups of well-connected feminists and campaigners, and most-influentially from broadcasters virtue signaling (here the virtue signalling is plainly hypocritical and opportunistic) following recent scandals.

    Men don’t behave terribly toward women at darts events. While the behaviour is clearly a bit lewd by some standards, it is mostly good natured and anything else is illegal or not tolerated (nobody justifies sexual abuse). The women acting as walk-on girls are not victims. And I don’t think that women are such delicate creatures that the sight of some of them acting in one role stops others from striving for another more elevated one. No more than having male street cleaners stops other men from wanting to become CEOs. In other words, I think it is patronising to suppose that women have such weak characters that the sight of walk-on girls will hold back their self-perception and social progress in the modern world; which produces more female graduates in the humanities than male, and also more female doctors.

    Moreover, women and men both get to act in a decorative fashion in many trades and professions: acting, all forms of show business, waiters and waitresses, bar staff etc. Strictly Come Dancing reveals more flesh than the darts’ walk-on girls. Vogue does nudes and Hollywood stars flaunt their MeToo credentials in little black dresses designed to showcase their curves, thighs and breasts to best effect. We just need to be relaxed and honest about this stuff.

    I don’t find gender inequality proven. Though some substantial proportions of women and men do choose different paths in terms of their career paths and ambitions. But that difference is about choice rather than being anything to worry about. I also suggest that the evidence does not the support pay-gap hype. See: The gender pay gap is dead http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-gender-pay-gap-is-dead/18032#.WnR9r4JG1UM

    Women are taken seriously in sport. However for whatever reason women’s darts is not of the same standard – not even close – as the men’s game. The same goes for tennis,football and boxing etc.

    Concerning the Zurich Salon the answer is simply that context is everything and that the content of something determines its form and tone. The Salon and darts are chalk and cheese. Moreover, darts on TV or in front of big crowds is a spectacle in which the often inebriated crowd dressed in fancy dress – much of it offensive in the eyes of many – lets loose and gets increasingly loud and active as the night progresses.

  6. Paul Seaman says:

    Heather, your comments are welcome. However, I question your argument that the opposition to the likes of walk-on girls is the ‘result of general societal shifts’ and that ‘we’re all just moving away from things that are frankly just embarrassing and out-dated’. The problem is that there is a culture war in play.

    And while the side you have chosen is going in one direction, the other side is not moving with you. The nature of this battle was to my mind best described in ‘The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics’ by David Goodhart, the former editor of Prospect magazine, when he categorized the conflict between ‘anywheres’, ‘somewheres’ and ‘inbetweeners’. The recent Brexit vote (Goodhardt was for Remain and wrote the book to examine the reasons his side lost) showed that ‘somewheres’ were in the majority and ready to push back against the powerful grip of ‘anywheres’ (25 percent of the population) on what constitutes ‘socially acceptable’.

    Yes, I agree: thank God we have come a long way from the 1980s when you started out in the motor industry. I share your sense of triumph at the progress we have made. Yet I don’t think we should conflate walk on girls at darts with the bad old days or with the abuse of women or flashbacks to the past.

    If I read your comment correctly, you get it. Darts is not a compelling game when played in silence in front of a crowd of tens of thousands while being broadcast to millions on TV. What made darts the unlikely major sporting spectacle it has become were all the additions: music, comperes, mass crowd participation, including loads of alcohol, chanting and politically incorrect fancy dress, and, yes, walk-on girls alongside men my age! In contrast snooker, another sport played by working class blokes in front of working class audiences, required few such novel additions because it was inherently compelling.

    In my view you touch on some of the issues relating to football and to why it changed but you miss the point that it too was part of a culture war. Football became a symbol over which people fought for their own cause in order to win the culture wars (even Tony Blair and David Cameron felt obliged to reinvent themselves as fans as the game became a classless pursuit that denied its origins and became reinvented). Many football fans, pining for some fun and atmosphere, then turned to darts for the pleasures they once found in football. And the PDC actively encouraged them to see the darts as the alternative, in an arena in which they could express themselves as they once did at football matches. I agree with you about pantomine. It’s so British and appealing that it has now gone global!

    Thomas says I’m middle class. He’s correct. But, Heather, I have not lost touch with my working class roots. Darts – and to some extent cricket – provide one of the last mass outlets for letting off steam and escaping the conformity of everyday life in an unruly yet controlled manner. The truth is that football has changed (sanitised), pubs declined (smoking bans etc), night entertainment put under curfew (hence the launch of the Nighttime Industries Association to save it). Meanwhile, darts has filled the vacuum, and some – at the PDC for instance – have made loads of money from that.

    I don’t view women as being anything but my equal. They are not vulnerable creatures. They are not victims. The walk-on girls and their fans in the world of darts should be left alone so long as they obey the law. And, thankfully, all forms of sexual abuse are illegal and socially unacceptable; even in the world of darts..

  7. Paul – I’ll come back with a more considered response later, but for now, here’s some data that shows a shift has started in the demographic make up of televised darts away from older working class men: http://www.smg-insight.com/darts-bigger-more-diverse-than-you-think/

  8. Paul Seaman says:

    Heather, I followed the link. It confirms that it is not just working class blokes watching. The audience is increasingly diverse and international in its demography: including Royalty at Ally Pally and one third of the TV audience being female; though I suspect they are most likely not middle class women.

    But the massive hike in audience took place in the context of walk-on girls and the appeal of the current format. It offers no evidence that ratings would increase further if the atmosphere was calmed down and/or the girls removed. I also note that the darts bosses in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Austria have all announced that they will keep using walk-on girls.

  9. Thomas Eagle says:

    Hello again Paul – thanks for your reply 🙂

    Reading a bit more about this, the outrage feels artificially stirred up: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/darts/677355/Darts-PDC-axe-walk-on-girls-from-TV-events-in-shock-decision says the walk-on girls are just not going to be present in the televised darts, and it’s not A New Thing either – they already weren’t present when the BBC broadcast darts in 2016 (before the Presidents Club Groping Scandal and Hashtag Me Too, and Trump and the other battles of the Culture War). No mention is made of walk-on gils losing their jobs at untelevised live events. As far as I can tell from other reports like the Daily Star piece, the PDC hasn’t been “made to bow” to “feminists and the PC brigade”, it has chosen to bow to the chequebook-wielding broadcasters, and by extension, their sponsors and advertisers, and presumably the audience information carefully gathered and sifted by PR, consumer research and marketing professionals like yourself.

    “Men don’t behave terribly toward women at darts events. While the behaviour is clearly a bit lewd by some standards, it is mostly good natured and anything else is illegal or not tolerated” seemed to beg a Google, which returned a married father of four world champion darts player who is doubtless the sole exception: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-42543/Darts-champion-fined-indecent-assaults.html . I think I get the point you’re making though: a woman’s choices should not be limited, and nothing should deflect attention or punishment away from men whose behaviour is unacceptable or criminal. The language and passive voice of victimhood wrongly deflects attention from the perpetrators. On that, I think we agree.

    “I think it is patronising to suppose that women have such weak characters that the sight of walk-on girls will hold back their self-perception and social progress in the modern world” – it sounded like you were countering a point of mine, but I don’t think I wrote anything like that. My opinion is that MEN have weak characters and can’t quite deal with [cough] “gorgeous girls wearing thrilling outfits, one-size too small to retain any sense of modesty”, not so much that women’s self-perception will be limited by it. Rape, assault and sexual harassment statistics suggest that many of us men do indeed get very confused by this. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5092587/Sexual-harassment-work-causing-women-depression.html).

    Incidentally, the correlation between these two articles is interesting:

    1) https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/11/01/sexual-harassment-how-genders-and-generations-see-/ – “The genders and generations are broadly united on the more obvious and severe forms of harassment. More than 80% identify upskirt photos, bum pinching, flashing and requesting sexual favours as either always or usually sexual harassment.”

    and 2) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/02/grid-girls-f1-follows-darts-by-calling-time-on-women-in-hotpants – “The grid girls […] would have their bottoms pinched […], there would be photographers sat on the floor behind them, taking pictures of their bums, or up their skirts. They had to giggle and pretend that was OK.”

    The sort of male behaviour towards the females at a sporting or charity event, that perhaps falls under the umbrella of “a bit lewd by some standards” turns out to be almost universally acknowledged as sexual harassment by men and women of all ages. What then do you think should happen to the men who are caught doing it? It is a scandal, not a ‘scandal’, isn’t it?

    Incidentally, you mentioned that one of your sons agreed with you and one with me – I don’t remember if you’re married, nor if you have daughters, but if you do, what do the women in your life say on the subject?

    Last point – Darts and the Salon are chalk and cheese? “A spectacle in which the often inebriated crowd … lets loose and gets increasingly loud and active as the night progresses” is EXACTLY how I hoped the salon would be! I admit I’m a bit disappointed 🙂

  10. Paul Seaman says:

    Thomas, I’ll answer you in full later, but first let me answer this question from you:

    “What then do you think should happen to the men who are caught doing it? It is a scandal, not a ‘scandal’, isn’t it?”

    The ‘scandal’ referred to was at the Presidents Club charity dinner at which no criminal complaints were made. Some of the bad behaviour described was – according to the FT undercover reporter – reciprocal. The nature of the event was clear: the girls were told to wear short black bottom-hugging dresses, to wear knickers of a complementary colour, to bring sexy shoes in one of two colours and, I believe, they were given a makeover. There were some girls there who were shocked by some of what went on; but nobody made a complaint to the police (the non-disclosure agreement they signed did not cover illegal activities; including sexual harassment). Moreover, most of the guests were well behaved and seriously intent on raising money for charity. Sure, the format of the event was archaic and questionable. But we live in a free society, not a police state. Yet there has been a witch hunt since that has seen many people who merely attended – and accused of doing no wrong, even in the legal but unacceptable category – humiliated in public, and some sacked by their employers. Charities short of money for children in serious need of medical care have felt obliged to hand back massive amounts of cash; I find that virtue signalling highly questionable. I’m not defending sexist behaviour. I’m calling for a sense of proportion, the exercise of common sense, and respect for due process, which means people are innocent until proven guilty.