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February 19, 2013

Should Pistorius-Steenkamp Killing be a Newswire Showcase for T-and-A?

Two things hit me in the kneecaps about this Pistorius-Steenkamp murder story photo this morning.

The first is that Reeva Steenkamp would be depicted, especially at her funeral and for posterity — by a headshot. (In addition to modeling, I understand she had also studied law, worked as a paralegal and was interested in taking it further.) The second is that a (male) photographer and the newswire would mark her passing with a (otherwise anonymous) cleavage shot.

Isn’t this “point of view” one of the factors that get these women killed in the first place?

via AP Mobile app – World Pictures of the Day

(photo: Schalk van Zuydam/AP caption: A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp, as she leaves her funeral, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is charged with the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day. The defense lawyer says it was an accidental shooting.)

  • Scarabus

    I guess I’m in clueless mode, but, honestly, I’m not sure what you mean in suggesting “this point of view [what P.O.V.? literal? figurative?] might be one of the factors that get these [sic] women killed.” What women?

  • bks3bks

    We’re still talking about a murder in South Africa? Small beer, indeed. I wonder what’s going on in the desert paradise of Iraq? Bradley Manning has been in jail for three years. How long have we been waiting for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Oh, wait, American Idol is on. Later …


  • Cactus

    I gotta say, Michael, I too had a reaction to ‘these
    women.’ Pretty women? Busty women? Dead women? It sort of begs the ’she’s
    asking for it’ reaction. While I’ve been around enough male photographers not
    to be surprised at the choice, funeral or not, it still is indicative of a lack
    of empathy. Which, in turn, is indicative of the male dominated societies in
    which we live. And isn’t that what editors are for??

    • Michael Shaw

      Thinking about it, the problem with the line is “these” women. My bad, since it seems I was merely thinking about “these” as women who are victims of violence. (I just added a strike through it.) I do think the photo editing was highly gratuitous and “the editors” were asking for it.

  • BooksAlive

    Front page photo on today’s NY Times of the victim’s funeral shows some mourners wearing above-the-knee skirts. Who knows what the tops look like? Women do dress like this, actress, model or not.

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