… Hillary Clinton being rounded upon and bullied by her male Democratic rivals in Thursday’s televised debate. It was ungallant, unedifying… and utterly compelling. Violence against women, although in this case entirely conducted through political metaphor, has the thrill of any great taboo, where our conscious disapproval vies with our unconscious fascination.
I read this, and thought of Judith Adams’ article for The LIP Magazine, Biting the LIP:
Question 14: What would be the most popular show on stage?
Answer: A public execution; ideally, the public execution of a woman: sex and violence, misogyny and revenge all in one short act, then off to the bar, boys and girls. Irresistible Box Office. Such a drama goes down a bomb in the multi-billion, on your PC and mobile phone porn industry, and the Afghan arenas, and so does a symbolic form of it on Wall Street and in The City – never mind watered-down fictional versions performing in the West End and on Broadway
The idea of women’s negative treatment is hardly a new idea, but I still feel it is one worth repeating. There seems to be an unhealthy doublethink that inflilrates our discourse on this: The problem never seems to ebb, not matter how often it is highlighted.
It is also worth noting, in passing, that the page on this site that recieves the most hits from Google is my ‘Old Men and Little Girls‘ post, which discusses our appetite for a fresh icon overy few months. It was written almost two years ago, before Madeline McGann was kidnapped, but she is is the obvious heir to Bigley, Kember, and Hollyandjessica.
The Meredith Kercher case is a puzzling twist on the genre (and yes, it is a ‘genre’). Here, the press seems as obessed by the case as the Madeline McGann mystery. Helen Rumbelow mentions these two cases in the same breath, despite the fact that they are very different. Indeed, the only similarities seem to be the fact that both incidents involved females, and both occurred in southern Europe. What is interesting in the latest case is that the press coverage seems focussed on the Meredith’s room-mate, Amanda Knox. We see a new picture of her, courtesy of Facebook, every day. Each time, Meredith’s name is mentioned in the headline, yet the illustration is of Amanda. Furthermore, much less commentary is given over to the male co-suspects, who are – let’s face it – much more likely to have actually weilded the knife.
There is, unfortunately, no conclusion to these thoughts. They are just further notes on an unpleasant, growing feature of our society. And it is one that is, I fear, only destined to increase as media reach increases. It is a negative side-effect of the digital revolution.
For reasons either right or wrong, Americans will elect their first female president only when they are convinced that she is the tougher of the two (or three) choices. She won’t be inevitable until we believe she is as formidable as Tricky Dick.