from my state – literally and figuratively – and other places. i'm not in florida any more, but i haven't given up the sunshine.

4.18.2006

a woman first

from npr to cnn, every report of the recent allegations against duke’s lacrosse team describes them as “charges of raping and kidnapping a stripper.”

giving the media the benefit of the doubt, this may be a simple case of following the journalistic rule of the inverted pyramid, and an effort to cram as much information into as few words as possible for an opening graph. unfortunately, in the process this person’s entire identity has been relegated to “stripper”. it’s a word that, for most, invokes opinions about character, particularly when it comes to consensual sex. and it pits her against a more pristine image of the academic elite.

i do not subscribe to language theories that go so far as to seek to alter words like ‘history’ to ‘herstory’. but some care should be taken with semantics, particularly when something as serious as rape charges are at stake. one should not automatically assume the lacrosse team is guilty. at the same time, responsibility must be taken to not discredit the accusations by ignoring the simple fact that the accuser is, above all else, a person… a woman.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kiker said...

Well said.

4/18/2006 11:00:00 AM

 
Blogger Amanda said...

Funny that i should just read this--i was in the car about 30 minutes ago and heard Ronald J. on NPR recite that same headline for the 12:00 news.
That was the first thing that popped into my mind. Talk about leaving an impression on folks. i could just hear the "well, that's what happens to women when they go somewhere alone with men and drinking"--ESPECIALLY if they're taking their clothes off. Geezus.
i AM glad that they are putting the media on this case though, considering how often this actually happens (right here at FSU in particular) and no one ever knows.

4/18/2006 01:10:00 PM

 

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