I occasionally have a taste for stupid tabloid stories. So, I might
find myself watching the mental affliction that is Nancy Grace, and I
know an embarrassing level of details about Natalee Holloway, or Casey
Anthony, or whatever future lifetime movie of the week is in the news
at the moment. It’s soapy, and it’s silly, and it’s sad.
These stories are not generally considered important, except to the
people at the center of the underlying tragedies. But, they do say
something about our society, in the way and the why of how they are
covered. See the oft-mentioned missing white women syndrome. So,
what’s my point here??
There’s this missing woman in Florida, and when I walked in my house
this evening, the commentator on the TV was going on about how
beautiful she is. And, I noticed, they always say that about these
women. They are always “beautiful” even when they are not.
And I wondered, why does it matter if they are beautiful?? Do their
lives mean less, are their endings less tragic, if we don’t call them
pretty?? And this isn’t just because I so rarely feel beautiful-
that’s not the point.
The point is that appearance shouldn’t equal value. And, I know it does, even as babies we like the prettier faces better. And pity the ugly babies, their parents subconsciously don’t love them as much. But, just because something is hard wired doesn’t mean we don’t have some control. We could stand decide that a tragedy is a tragedy because it’s well, tragic, not because the woman at the center looks good on TV