The Shouty Woman

December 14, 2006

To the ‘journalists’ covering the Ipswich murders…

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 1:33 pm
  • The victims were over 18. Therefore they are women, not girls. Calling them girls trivialises and infantilises them. If five twentysomething males had been murdered, you would not be calling them ‘boys’.
  • Yes, the women were working as prostitutes, but this should not be their defining quality. They were friends, mothers, daughters, human beings. Please remember this.
  • By referring to the murderer as the ‘ripper’ and his victims as ‘vice girls’, you are deomnstrating that you care more about a good story that the fact that five innocent women have been killed. This is not an episode of ‘Prime Suspect’; it is reality.
  • The women’s hair colour is irrelevant. What next – vital statistics? I know you like to view women as a collection of body parts rather than as people, but have some fucking respect.
  • Tabloid journos: your hypocrisy disgusts me. How dare you promote your hatred of women and then in the same paper ask what kind of man could commit this crime? You view women as less than human; so does this killer.

These murders have brought out the very worst in the British media. The victims deserve so much better.

Honourable exceptions: Catherine Bennett, Diane Taylor, Julie Bindel, Joan Smith.

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10 Comments »

  1. Hear, hear!!!

    Comment by Amber — December 14, 2006 @ 10:26 pm |Reply

  2. Excellent points, Lucy. And hoorah for feminist writers in The Guardian.

    Comment by laura — December 14, 2006 @ 11:34 pm |Reply

  3. Can’t help but agree with you, Lucy.

    Comment by witchy-woo — December 15, 2006 @ 2:22 am |Reply

  4. Thanks everyone.

    Comment by Lucy — December 15, 2006 @ 9:25 am |Reply

  5. It’s really horrible, isn’t it? I can’t help thinking what if that were my friend, my sister… Horrible.

    Comment by JaneDoe — December 18, 2006 @ 6:16 am |Reply

  6. I totally agree with all your complaints.

    But have been heartened by the fact that many of the mainstream media have picked up on the very issues you are addressing. (not the tabloids unfortunately, but we can live in hope). Good example is the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/suffolkmurders/story/0,,1970938,00.html

    Watching BBC this morning, they were covering the angle that apparently the local community are “very sympathetic” towards the women. What struck me most about this was that a serious news program could be so surprised by this. Like you say, five women have died. It would take a pretty callous person not to feel sympathy.

    I actually think the media sell a lot of us short.

    Comment by puddlejumper — December 18, 2006 @ 8:17 pm |Reply

  7. Right on.

    Though one thing that’s fascinating to me – being in the U.S. – is that our media is going nuts to cover this story (albeit in all the same biased, ridiculous ways you’ve identified above), as if we didn’t have active cases of unsolved serial murders of prostituted women right here! Which, of course, we do.

    See, for example, this article: Ripper story? Not in the U.S.

    Comment by Victoria Marinelli — December 19, 2006 @ 8:15 am |Reply

  8. There’s always an opportunity to sell advertising space next to the murdered women.

    Comment by Jennifer Cascadia — December 23, 2006 @ 11:21 am |Reply

  9. Great post. I got a response from an email to the BBC about calling the murdered women ‘girls’. Have put it up here.

    Comment by incurablehippie — December 27, 2006 @ 9:04 pm |Reply

  10. Thank you for taking a position on this – I will also be making that point in the British Medical Journal on January 13th.

    This is what I wrote to one media source:

    “On behalf of all women, and in particular those in the sex trade, could you stop referring to ‘murdered prostitutes’? These were young women with families, some mother’s daughters, who happened to work in the sex industry, a known high
    risk workplace. Referring to them as murdered prostitutes dehumanises their real lives. Consider how you would report this if they were a hairdresser, journalist, lawyer etc?

    This issue has been debated in the media this week with a number of women journalists expressing distress at the way that women who work in prostitution are referred to as if they were less than human.”

    Comment by Michael Goodyear — January 4, 2007 @ 1:45 am |Reply


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