AMBER LOVE 26-MAY-2014 This year has not been good for gender equality. When we finally see some progress in human rights like more states allowing marriage equality and occasionally seeing transgender rights addressed, how does misogyny rear its ugly head so dangerously?
Let us take a step into the way back machine to March 30, 1981. On that date, President Ronald Reagan and James Brady were shot by John Hinckley, Jr. who claimed to be so in love with actress Jodi Foster that he was caught in the delusion of her movie TAXI DRIVER. In it, Robert DeNiro’s character tries to protect the young prostitute character and eventually attempts to assassinates a Senator. Hinckley decided to act this out because he “loved” Foster. The male ego stepped in and Hinckley believed he was entitled, even destined to be with Foster. This sexual drive is considered erotomania, a condition where the person believes someone famous, powerful, or “out of their league” is in love with them.
On Valentine’s Day in 2013, Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He can’t even deny it. His defense is that he thought there was an intruder in the house even though Steenkamp was not in bed next to him. He’s trying to get a judge and jury to believe that he couldn’t possibly be a murderer because he was actually defending Steenkamp. This trial is still ongoing in 2014.
In 2014, Maren Sanchez, an honor student was stabbed to death by a male student that claimed to be in love with her. His motive was that she wouldn’t go to the prom with him.
In Nigeria, 270 girls were stolen from their school to be used in the sex trade. The perpetrators used the girls as bargaining chips to free Boko Haram members from captivity or said the girls, who they forcefully converted to Islam, would be “married” which is code sex slavery.
Today I pulled up my Google News page because I saw a headline on Twitter for ABC News that said the Nigerian girls were located. What I saw was that the story was off to the right side in a smaller font (image above). The top stories were the recent Santa Barbara massacre and the headlines and photos were Grade A sexism from the various media; more on that below. (Google News shows a headline from one outlet with related stories by other sources under it). Google News caught up about an hour after Twitter (image below). It sure seemed that the news was too busy making a celebrity out of the Santa Barbara killer than the victims of any of the sexist crimes occurring.
Originally when Steenkamp was mentioned and the only thing ever said about her was “his girlfriend who was a model,” I thought I’d dismiss it agreeably assuming that if she was a district attorney, a dentist, a teacher, or anything else that the press would identify her according to profession as well. They had plenty of photographs to choose from since she was a model so each and every picture was gorgeous.
Now we have the media who have tracked down the girl that was the allegedly the subject of the Santa Barbara killer’s ire. This is the young woman who supposedly ridiculed him in middle school when he had a secret crush on her. She wasn’t even aware that he liked her. Although who really knows the truth? I don’t. First reports said she rejected him. Then they said she was his “pal.” Then it became that he wasn’t even on her radar and the crush was a secret. I realize those are the sort of details that change as a story unfolds. But once the press discovered who she was, the disparity in the photos used in headlines was apparent. When it came to tracking down the girl who allegedly drove this coward to his crimes, media chose to use a couple nice normal pictures of her but their headlines featured her in a bikini. All showed the shooter picture of him sitting in his car.
I asked one of the vocal feminists I follow on Twitter if she thought the pictures would be the same if Steenkamp or the California girl had been anything other than models. She said, “I think so, provided they could be discussed in similar terms as desirable, vacuous, unattainable.” She’s probably right. The mainstream media would pick up any silly selfie or gratuitous drunk bar shot found in a Facebook gallery to use.
I’m not embarrassed by my drunk photos, modeling photos or even my porn photos. However, when I die, I prefer the images that my loved ones have to see on the news should I be newsworthy, not be something inappropriate to them. Hell, I hope they’re me in costumes. When it comes time for someone to create a salacious memoir, then by all means, crack those galleries. But if my parents have to ever see my picture on the news I hope it’s me dressed as Wonder Woman.