Anonymous Defends Another Beautiful White Rape Victim

Anonymous reinforces “Pretty White Woman Syndrome”

Anonymous Defends Another Beautiful White Rape Victim

Anonymous has jumped to the defense of another beautiful white rape victim, leaving some scratching their heads and wondering “what about the poor women of color who are raped every day?” In yet another example of “Pretty White Woman Syndrome,” which goes hand in hand with “Missing White Woman Syndrome,” Anonymous has chosen to focus on another rape victim who is white and very beautiful rather than the larger number of minority women who are raped each day.

To understand the phenomenon that Anonymous is busy bolstering, we must first define Pretty White Woman Syndrome and Missing White Woman Syndrome. These are both defined by excessive media coverage and societal attention placed on white women who are exceptionally attractive and who are raped, assaulted, murdered or go missing. This is to the exclusion of their black and other women-of-color counterparts, who have slightly higher rates of rape and much higher rates of murder than white women.

Studies have shown that there is a definite media bias toward covering cases of white women who have gone missing or who get murdered. White women get more attention, especially if they are attractive. The racial bias in coverage also applies to children. A 2010 study on media coverage of missing children found:

The findings of this study suggest that television news has some biases concerning the coverage of missing children cases with regard to race and gender. In particular, it was found that, although a relatively large number of African American children are actually missing, they are significantly underrepresented in television news… One study showed that about 35,000 kids went missing one year, and a little more than half of those were white, but about 67 percent of stories covered by The Associated Press were about white children.

According The Crime Report website, one journalist reported that the “damsel in distress” portrayed on the news “must be white,” saying:

The specifics of the story line vary from damsel to damsel. In some cases, the saga begins with the discovery of a corpse. In other cases, the damsel simply vanishes into thin air. Often, there is a suspect from the beginning—an intruder, a husband, a father, a congressman, a stranger glimpsed lurking nearby. Sometimes the tale ends well, or well enough…[b]ut more often, it ends badly. But of course the damsels have much in common besides being female…A damsel must be white.

Newsman Kevin Drum states, “We showcase missing, young, white, attractive women because our research shows we get more viewers. It’s about beating the competition and ad dollars,” while Kristal Brent Zook, a professor of journalism at Columbia, says “Who’s appealing? Who’s sexy? The virginal, pure, blond princess is missing…”

These same principles apply in all criminal cases of assault, rape, murder and kidnapping. The fact is, if the victim is young, white and attractive, she will get more media coverage and attention than women of color suffering the same fate. In the case of Daisy Coleman, she fits all of those criteria to a “t.” Anonymous is planning a protest in her home town of Maryville, Mo., and that’s great for Coleman, who most certainly did not deserve the terrible crime perpetrated against her. However, Anonymous should acknowledge that there are also less attractive and/or women of color who also deserve to have protests thrown for them.

Anonymous defends another beautiful white rape victim. No surprise. Maybe next time, there will be some attention paid to women who don’t perfectly match the “Pretty White Woman Syndrome” criteria, because they also deserve a voice.

By: Rebecca Savastio

(Op-ed)

RAINN Network

Wall Street Journal

Huffington Post

Academia.edu

Maynard Media Center

ABC News

The Crime Report

6 Responses to "Anonymous Defends Another Beautiful White Rape Victim"

  1. Gerry   February 17, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Kevin Drum said it right. News has to attract advertisers, and to attract advertisers has to attract viewers, readers and listeners.
    People, both “black” and “white,” just don’t care as much about unappealing looking, darker complected people or males in the media.
    Light skinned, blond haired, blue eyed young women are “bright and shiny” and draw the eye even if one’s personal preference is for dark hair, dark eyes and dark skin.
    White people are the majority by far in north America and Europe. So the pool of potential viewers, readers and listeners is much larger than the pool of potential viewers, readers and listeners who are themselves dark.

    Reply
  2. gia   December 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Rebecca Savastio: I see what you’re trying to say, you’re just not saying it very well at all. Yes, it’s a big problem that women of color are consistently overlooked in the media for white women. I would suggest focusing on that instead of sounding like this girl doesn’t deserve justice just because of her skin color.

    Reply
  3. Joe Schmoe   November 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    What a troll of an article. Sorry, won’t rise to the bait. Keep up the good work Anonymous, whoever you seek social justice for, your work is what is important.

    Reply
  4. your a bad person and you should feel bad   October 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Anonymous has jumped to the defense of another beautiful white rape victim, leaving some scratching their heads and wondering “what about the poor women of color who are raped every day?” In yet another example of “Pretty White Woman Syndrome,” which goes hand in hand with “Missing White Woman Syndrome,” Anonymous has chosen to focus on another rape victim who is white and very beautiful rather than the larger number of minority women who are raped each day.

    i would love for you to say that to this girls family. what a ####.

    Reply
  5. vlodko62   October 17, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Sounds like your solution would be not to defend anyone. Thanks for criticizing those who try to do something, albeit very imperfectly, without proposing any sort of alternate solution. What is the agenda here?

    Reply
  6. Elexis Smith   October 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I really enjoyed this article and it was very well written. No one “deserves” to be sexually violated or raped. One out of every six women and one out of every thirty-three men fall victim to rape. Unfortunately 97% of rapists get away with their crime.

    I am a social media community manager working for ICE Blackbox. We now have a breakthrough solution to help deter these crimes. ICE Blackbox is a free app designed for users of all ages in an emergency situation. The app works by allowing you to record as a dangerous situation unfolds and it sends critical information to first responders. As you record, ICE Blackbox streams video, audio, and GPS location as well as a video link to your saved ICE contacts. While recording an event, you have the ability to directly call 911. All recordings cannot be deleted, this is to protect the victim from being forced to delete. Please help spread the word about this app and together we can help stop these crimes.

    Elexis Smith
    Social Media Community Manager
    ICE BlackBox, Inc.
    esmith@iceblackbox.com

    “Leveraging technology to save lives.”

    Reply

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