Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Media Labelling

The tragic murder of five young women in Suffolk has highlighted a distasteful trend in labelling that is inherent in broadcast media institutions. Rather than refer to the five dead women as ‘women’ they are referred to as ‘prostitutes’. In doing this the media is subversively creating a mental image to its viewers, listeners and readers that five dead prostitutes are not as ‘good’ or ‘worthy’ as five dead other women. Indeed it may also imply to some that perhaps the women deserved it because they worked as prostitutes. Had the women all worked in factories it would be unlikely that they would have been referred to as five dead factory workers. Even the BBC is guilty of labelling the dead women as prostitutes, as in this example here.

It may be a bitter pill for those wanting to create attention grabbing headlines to swallow, but the dead women were people, and that is how they should be remembered, rather than as the profession that they were forced into to aid their drug addictions.

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