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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Examiner Has a Female Problem

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 8:00 AM

pepper_spray_thumb.jpg
A story in the Examiner yesterday reported the arrest of four women who went on a purse-snatching rampage in the Richmond and Sunset areas of San Francisco. The attacks began on Sunday and continued into Monday, which is when the police apprehended the suspects at a Starbucks. The story itself is not that thrilling, but the manner in which the Examiner reported it requires (forgive me) closer examination. First, the title of the article: "Female suspects arrested after pepper-spraying spree targets women." Why not just say "Four suspects"? (click 'more')

The word "female" probably popped in the title for a couple reasons, the first being that people are flabbergasted when women trespass on the male territory of crime, and secondly because girl on girl violence is a salacious news item. In paragraph three robbery inspector John Peterson says that: "The victims, who were all women, ranged between 19 and 58 years old, and none was especially frail." Why is the size and strength of the female victims important to this story? The Examiner seems preoccupied with the physical attributes of everyone involved in the case, as they also quote Peterson saying of the suspects, "They were on the bigger side, but they weren't monsters." I wonder how big a woman has to get for the monster label to apply?–Andy Wright

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Andy Wright

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