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Berners Lee wanted to make the web fun. What's the best way to do that? Pictures of pretty girls, looking pretty, evidently. "Sex sells!" Jean-François Groff reportedly told Berners Lee about which image to upload at the time. "It's media. You put a pretty girl in the media, people will notice the media. And whatever is around the pretty girl? Sure."
It doesn't recently sound like Groff was much of a feminist, but he sort of had the sex part right. However, it's worth considering that the Cernettes image became more lasting because scientists thought it was cute and funny. So maybe the Cernettes image was the very first photo uploaded to the web or maybe it was the fifth. But it was almost certainly the web's original meme, the first cultural artifact that got passed around.