Missing women can't speak out

News & Politics

An interesting post this morning from Judy at News Hounds (they're the folks that watch Fox News so the rest of us don't have to): she breaks down the structures of Fox's coverage comparing Natalee Holloway (the woman gone missing from Aruba) and the victim in the alleged Duke lacrosse team rape using George Lakoff's "strict father" model.

Fox News recognizes only two kinds of women -- victims and sexual deviants/whores. Natalee Holloway represents the first kind. In Fox News' world view, we can feel sorry for her because she has been a victim of the dangerous outside world. More importantly, we can feel sorry for her because she is no longer around to level charges against her accusers.

Suppose Natalee Holloway had been able to escape her attackers that night and go to the police with her story of what happened? Then Natalee Holloway would have slipped from the category of victim to sexual deviant -- the same Fox News category that encompasses the alleged victim in the Duke lacrosse gang rape case, the female teachers who have sex with their students, and most progressive women politicians, such as Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein.

There's a racial component missing from this particular discussion about the Duke case; for more in depth analysis, see Alas, A Blog's excellent coverage. But Judy certainly nails a number of points on how "deviant" women -- women that challenge traditional models of behavior -- get treated by both conservative and mainstream media. A worthwhile framing and world-view critique.

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