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Doesn’t everyone love a good femicide? Feminist bloggers respond to media coverage of the slaughter in Ipswitch December 16, 2006

Posted by Winter in media, misogyny, sex industry, violence.
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There’s a woman-hating killer on the loose in Suffolk. Five young women are dead so far.

It will be a long time before we find a way to prevent these kind of murders from happening, but the way the media responds to them tells us a great deal about cultural attitudes to women and the men who kill them.

It is therefore horrifying to watch the mainstream British media loving every minute and feel them waiting in a state of tangible excitement for the next “naked,” “blonde,” “prostitute” body to be found dumped by the side of a road. They’ve even dubbed the sicko “ripper,” not because he rips anyone, but just to give him the supercool woman-killing status he’s no doubt seeking. Way to go! Feed a serial killer’s fantasies why don’t you?

I was going to try and write a longer post, but reading around, I don’t think there’s anything I can really add to what’s already being said, so I’m going to do a link farm instead.

Lizzie from Literary Hoax deconstructs the media coverage, as does Twisty here. Nimue From Notes, Recollections discusses why the Police won’t offer street sex workers an amnesty while their lives are in danger. The Stopppy bloggers take a socialist feminist perspective on the situation. Witchy Woo collects together some more good links here. And Shouty Lucy sums things up so succinctly that I’m just going to quote the entire post:

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

Some groups are trying to organise a Reclaim the Night marchg in Ipswtich to show solidairty with women there. See the F-Word for details and also this follow up post answering some queries about the event.

If you’ve written, or come across any other feminist posts on this horror feel free to leave links in the comments.

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - December 16, 2006

I actually found an article in The Guardian saying that women working as prostitutes in the area are being given an amnesty in the form of money to decrease the need for them to engage clients. I wrote about it in my blog here.

2. Nella - December 16, 2006

I have one here. Slightly garbled perspective of a local who has just arrived back.

3. Louisefeminista - December 16, 2006

The other thing which disturbs me about the reporting of this is the way the murdered women are just reduced to “call- girls with a habit”. What about other aspects of their lives?

Also, the virgin and whore dichotomy is alive and well.

The one quote I read (some woman who lives in Ipswich) from the BBC website that spoke about what happens when the killer runs out of prostitutes and starts on “other women” appalled me as well. All women deserve justice.

Thanks for the link to the post btw

4. Jess-Gloss - December 17, 2006

Thanks for this. I live in Ipswich myself and have commented on the events here

5. Anonymous - December 19, 2006

I’d like to add this to the upcoming Carnival of Feminists, if you don’t mind.

6. Winter - December 19, 2006

Go for it.

7. Lucy - December 19, 2006

Thanks for the link!

8. incurable hippie - December 21, 2006

I’ve written some about this.

Women on a Continuum

and

Ipswich.

Lots of fury and frustration at this end…


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