Media analysis time, if we can even call it that:
This week, a person was finally arrested for the murder and attempted murder of a teen lesbian couple in Texas that took place two years ago. David Malcom Strickland was arrested on charges of capital murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault. It’s horrifying to relive this tragedy, but finally capturing the killer may allow us to exhale and know he won’t do this to anyone ever again.
The picture above is of the Advocate’s headline on the story: "Alleged Killer of Teenager Lesbian Couple is Finally Arrested — The cute and popular lesbian couple was shot down and sexually assaulted in a nice suburban park two years ago."
My question, and that of others in the comments: Is it journalistically irresponsible to mention that the couple was “cute and popular” in the headline? Would we care any less if they weren’t? Obviously, the messed-up societal answer is yes, because for the most part we are grossly conditioned to care more about tragedies if they happen to cute, popular people, and about violence against queer women when the women are pretty, cisgender and femme. (These people also tend to be white.)
It bothers me that queer media would give into this really problematic “bad habit” that often ends in the oversight of so many wrongs against our communities. The same can be said about the phrase “nice suburban park” in the headline — sure, there is something to be said for the newsworthiness of this happening in a neighborhood with low crime rates, but it still feels sort of “gotcha.”
Perhaps I’m overreacting, but this pissed me off. Two years later and I’m still heartbroken by what these girls and their families had to endure, so a couple of words in a headline certainly don’t overshadow that hurt. Nonetheless, this felt unnecessary. Thoughts?
Totally irresponsible headline with bad (and unnecessary) word choice. Way to imply that this story is only newsworthy because the couple was “cute and popular” and happened to be assaulted in a “nice” suburban park, Advocate. wtf is wrong with people ugh