Is Banning Walk-On Girls From Darts An Own-Goal For Feminism?

An ostensibly progressive move also feels a bit like class snobbery, says Hayley Campbell


The Professional Darts Corporation has decided that walk-on girls are bad and, effective immediately, they’ve cancelled the whole idea. 

Darts players will just have to walk onto the stage in their big shirts all on their own. “We regularly review all aspects of our events and this move has been made following feedback from our host broadcasters,” said a PDC spokesperson. The Women’s Sport Trust applauded the move. “Motor Racing, Boxing and Cycling... your move,” they said.

It sounds good: the mute girls standing there in pretty dresses are a relic from our sexist past that should be deleted from our lives, like powerful movie producers wanking into pot plants, like actresses trading bleak sex for roles. But maybe not. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live soon after the announcement, PDC walk-on girl and model Charlotte Wood said that the darts made up 60% of her income. “I have chosen to do this job. I go to work. I put on a nice dress. I escort darts players to the stage. I smile and that is it.” She doesn’t see what the problem is. It’s an easy gig. She chose to do it.

It’s not inherently anti-feminist to choose to do a job that uses your body and your looks. Some of the most outspoken feminists I know stripped in bars because the money was better than working behind one. They used the cash they earned with their body to fund their art, their degree, to pay the rent for whatever cheap dive they were living in so they could buy time to do the thing they wanted to do. They exploited a system set up to exploit them. They chose to.

Read more at Esquire.