by Rebecca Evans, Hollaback! Baltimore Blogger
My last post addressed the consequences of the way women are portrayed in the media, from miniscule models to wardrobe-related critiques of female politicians. Many may think I’m being overly sensitive, and I agree that the intent of reporters and advertising executives may not always be to objectify women. The world is not black and white. We are all a product of something, and the question kind of becomes, “where did all of this nonsense begin?”
But CNN’s recent coverage of the Steubenville trial is an issue without gray areas. It is the most clear-cut and mainstream example of rape culture that I have ever witnessed. For those of you who haven’t heard, CNN’s coverage by two female reporters, Poppy Harlow and Candy Crowley, lamented the loss of two young rapists’ futures, neglecting to mention the victim in more than passing. You can watch the coverage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cvUCDjLDIk
I will never understand how two grown woman can be unable to empathize with the plight of a sixteen-year-old girl who was raped, photographed, and videotaped. I’m 20% angry and 80% devastated. Icing on the cake: after the trial, the victim received death threats from two teenaged girls on Facebook and Twitter. In one of the best accounts I’ve read, writer Mia McKenzie assesses the situation on her site, Black Girl Dangerous:
“I also feel sorry that two 16-year-olds are capable of the things these boys have been found guilty of doing. That makes me deeply, deeply sad. That we have created a world in which, at just 16 years old, and even younger, boys can already hate girls this much.”
But apparently it’s not just boys who hate girls; it’s young women and CNN reporters as well. I can’t cast stones at the men who objectify us when there are prominent women announcing to the nation that the blame for rape lies on the victim’s shoulders. CNN, I’m waiting for your explanation, but I’m also waiting for a larger explanation, from mothers, fathers, teachers, preachers, students, myself, etc. Where did all of this nonsense begin? And why are we letting it continue?