9.30.2008

Beauty queen. Drug dealers.

It is funny how being a beauty queen seems to confer life long status in our society. Like being a senator or governor or astronaut (hi marissa).
I just saw a news item about a missing women and the headline mentioned she had been a beauty queen. She is 30 years old now, several years away from her pageant days, yet beauty queen is still her identity. When Sarah Pallin was nominated her having been a beauty pageant contestant seemed to be one of the first things I knew about her.

It is interesting the way news organization identify people. I have recently been noticing when the victim of a crime, even a murder, is a drug user or a prostitute, this is always mentioned even if it has no other relevance to the story, and the reference always seems to be in a sense of saying: it is unfortunate the crime happened, but not too big of a deal because it was just a prostitute or drug user.

To be fair, I can see where one might be coming from in feeling that a crime which has occurred to someone in that realm of society is somehow distinct from a crime affecting the average citizen. People are more interested in and afraid of things which could possibly happen to them. Hearing of a college student getting raped is scarier because that is the world we occupy and it reveals our vulnerabilities. Hearing of a prostitute or drug user getting raped might feel different, they inhabit a seperate world from us, what happens in that world is different than what happens in our world.

However, I believe this way of thinking is overly simplistic. It creates this notion that people who have this label of 'drug user' or 'prostitute' spend all day every day sitting in some trashy apartment shooting heroin and having sex.

I confess I have never actually known a prostitute, but I know many drug users, and anyone else who knows a drug user realizes their is much more to their life than using drugs. To describe someone, as news outlets so often do, with the phrase of drug user is like describing someone as being prescribed an anti-depressant. Imagine a news article reading, 'Pinocchio-Bones Jones, who is prescribed an anti-depressant was murdered and set on fire while celebrating his birthday.' That description would feel irrelevant to the content of the story, and expressing an obvious bigotry, as if somehow their victimization is less meaningful, yet so often that is how drug users or prostitutes are treated in news stories.

Granted, sometimes the information IS relevant, for example if a serial killer was targeting prostitutes, or if the crime happened during a drug deal gone awry, but very often the victims status of drug user/prostitute is mentioned and has no relevance at all to the story, except to say: a crime happened, but don't worry, it wasn't to someone like us. It didn't happen, thank god, to a former beauty queen.

Also, I was surprised how controversial my last entry has been. To all who expressed disagreement, go to hell! J/k, your all cool. I often feel somewhat torn when people leave a comment in disagreement. A part of me wants to provide a point by point refution, but then another part of me doesn't want to be harsh and overbearing. Especially when it is an issue, I don't necessarily feel strongly about.

7 comments:

Isaac isak icekick said...

I hear ya bro. but I can't get over that title of yours: our lives mean what a flower means: nothing. man. is that a joke ? are you or are you not the cosmic jokester? Like do mean a flowers "life" is meaningless, as in irrelevant? like in a vaccuum? or do you mean that flowers can't signify? they lack referential power? cause dude like, dude. roses. lillies, poppies, huge symbolic elements. Or are you talking about ultimate purpose? In what sense though?

sweetheart bitterheart said...

i used to be a drug dealer. just joking.

sticky barnacle the former said...

i used to be a sticky barnacle. not joking.

sticky alien butthole said...

please oh please approve my comment!

mcdonald's, lovin' it, drunk said...

"have it your way."

gulpgulpgulponthesidegulp said...

nah,not really drunk.

marissa paolacci said...

marshmellow