A Valentine’s Day killing of one half of a couple by the other seems like something out of an episode of a crime procedural, doubly so when the two halves in question are a model and a Paralympic champion whose story went global when he competed at the Olympics. Perhaps the writers would have given the athlete a suitably filmic nickname like, say, “Blade Runner”. Unfortunately, this is the kind of stuff that, as the adage goes, you just can’t make up.
story of Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius is a big deal in the way
that all crimes committed by people sponsored by Nike are big deals.
However, in an article written about the media coverage of the killing,
Helen Lewis suggests that the most interesting aspect of this situation
is not the downfall of an underdog athlete, but the media’s treatment of
always, we heartily recommend checking this article out, though in this
case it’s partially because the photographic evidence at the source
must be seen to be believed. The thrust of Lewis’ article is that the
slaying of Reeva Steenkamp has led to a particularly flagrant disregard
for a potential murder victim’s personhood and the reduction of a human
being to a sexual object. The newspapers “pay tribute” to Steenkamp not
by discussing her law degree or her tragically relevant history of
campaigning against violence against women, but by splashing the images
from her most revealing photo shoots across their covers. Lewis
discusses not only the sexual objectification of a dead woman, but the
lengths people will go to in order to defend said objectification, from
suggesting that attractive men would be treated in a similar fashion to
stating that no other images existed of a woman whose job it was to be
be dealing with the issue of sexualizing women in death when
we discuss comic book characters in July, but until then, let it suffice
to say that we are sick of seeing dead women turned into pieces of meat
for the consumption of the male gaze. Death should not make it easier to treat women as sexual objects, and the fact that it does indicates something deeply wrong with society.