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Mass Media, Literally Killing the Self Image of All Women

2 Mins read

From an article appearing in the Chicago Tribune about a 2014 shooting at Fort Hood:

“When confronted by a female military police officer, he shot himself with his semi-automatic weapon in the parking lot.”

This is an example of sexist bias in reporting. It reveals a couple of things.

Thing one: “male” is still the default human, no matter what you may have been told by “feminists” who insist that patriarchy is dead. The chromosomal makeup of the police officer is of absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the story, and indeed would not have been mentioned at all had she been a dude. But in 2014 “police officer” still means “male.” Whenever there’s a breach in the patriarchal continuum and a woman gets caught doing a dude-job that doesn’t involve children or being pretty, it’s perceived as weird.

Thing two: the Tribune writer has included the “female” detail to add a cheap frisson of extra pathos to a story that needs no extra pathos. In our sexist culture, women continue to be perceived as weaker, frailer, damsel-in-distressier, and incapable-ier. So how wild is it that oh my gosh a woman confronted this terrifying mass murderer?

fthood

Pretty much any mainstream newspaper article you read contains a little blob of sexism.

As an aside, a weird photo accompanying this article depicts a woman clinging to the foot of a soldier sitting on the hood of a car. Photography lies, so it’s anyone’s guess what was really goin’ on there, but objectively, as an illustration accompanying an article on a mass shooting, the composition and body language suggest an affirming reinforcement of the patriarchal warrior narrative: anguished damsel in submissive pose literally kissing the foot of the detached and superior dudely hero on high.*

On the subject of the Fort Hood shooting itself: if it’s this terrible when bits of America’s wars escape their foreign boundaries and resurface back home in these isolated bursts, how unspeakable must it be “over there” where the bursts are nonstop?

UPDATE: The New York Times gets it right:

He got out of the vehicle, walked into another building and opened fire again, and then engaged with a military police officer before shooting himself.

He put his hands up, General Milley said, then reached under his jacket. The officer pulled out her weapon, and then Specialist Lopez put his weapon to his head and fired. General Milley described the officer’s actions as “clearly heroic,” adding: “She did her job. She did exactly what we would expect of U.S. Army military police.”

_____________________ * We know the soldier is a dude from the caption, which identifies him as the woman’s husband.

Photo nicked from (Deborah Cannon, McClatchy-Tribune /April 2, 2014)
_____________________

Tina Mironov
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About author
Tina Mironov is a soon-to-be-married social activist and international media business development expert. She has two fur babies and resides with her fiancee in New Hampshire. She has been featured in Time, People, Entertainment Weekly and Forbe's Most Powerful Women.
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