Amanda Knox and the Stigma of the Sexist Media.
Been seeing a lot of sexist shit about this acquitted woman Amanda Knox. As an attractive, young and female murder suspect she has been getting a lot of attention in the press apparently (I’m so out of touch).
It seems in Facebook and Twitter comments, like in many areas of society, commentators can openly join in with the sexual objectification of this woman while simultaneously slut-shaming and victim-blaming her for it. Whether this woman committed murder or not (the courts have now cleared her) she has been marked and demonised as sexual object and ‘media whore’ before she has even had a chance to do anything deemed ‘slutty’ or ‘money grabbing’.
A quick mental gender reverse and … yes I can confirm that a male former suspect would never be treated like this. In fact I don’t need to imagine; her ex-boyfriend who was convicted of the same crime, it has been pointed out, got far less coverage than she did and I would be quick to remind any sexists reading that this is the media’s doing, not hers.
What should be obvious is that the murder conviction is not a necessary element in the unwarranted (okay, it’s always unwarranted) slut-shaming, hounding and sexist demonisation of a woman targeted by the media. Just look at any of those odious annually compiled lists of ‘most annoying people’, overwhelmingly populated by women whose only crime appears to be living under a media microscope (rather than, say, murder). Yes many are sick of hearing about these women, but can we not have a point of self-awareness where we realise that venom should not be channeled into those sexist bon mots that just roll off the tongue (a little too easily) but into a critique of the industry and culture that funds those upskirt paparazzi shots (what a slut!), illegally placed bathroom cameras (OMG she’s on drugs? FOR SHAME!) and relentless tabloid slander…?
Bring in the fascination our sexist society has with female murderers and this woman is going to be marked for life and in most people’s eyes she’ll deserve every bit of shit slung her way. Even when cleared by the courts, the idea of a female killer holds a lot of interest and she will never truly be redeemed.
Having read somewhere that, in cases of violent crime, women often serve harsher sentences and are less likely to be granted parole than their male counterparts I turned to Google. Many of the top results are yahoo answers (or similar) discussions asking ‘why are women given lighter sentences than men?’, followed by a stream of utter ignorance taking the original question as fact revealing it was just another exercise in sexism rather than a fact-finding mission.
This article by Rachel Thwaites from ‘The F Word’ has said it all before, so do check it out.
Women are not expected to commit violent crimes and this is because of the myth of some inherent ‘caring’ nature (as opposed to a man’s natural aggressive nature). Women are far less likely to commit violent crimes than men. This means that women on average commit less serious crimes, so they obviously, on average, serve shorter sentences as well as making up a smaller percentage of the prison population! But when they do commit these more serious crimes, why are the tabloid press so quick to invoke the outdated idea of ‘evil’ or ‘witchcraft’? How can it be more ‘evil’ for a woman to commit the same crime as a man? Why are they more harshly judged?
If Amanda Knox was a man, at the centre of this highly-publicised murder-mystery, would we be blaming and shaming him for a suspected million dollar book-deal? I reckon he’d be the venerated hero and we’d be eagerly awaiting his stoic or tearful exclusive on our favourite chat show. So shut up.