Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

Trial by the Media
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A historical figure who represents the muse/mastermind is Amanda Knox. Amanda Knox, the documentary immediately introduces Amanda as a woman with an Italian boyfriend--- Raffaele Sollecito, a fellow suspect in her crime/trial saga. This introduction falls in line with the way that Amanda and Raffaele were packaged by the media during the time of their trial. While the couple did display very public and sometimes jarring affection throughout the traumatizing process, the media used their relationship as a sensationalized aspect of the crime case to add intrigue and illicitness to an already gruesome crime.

While the concept of a beautiful, middle class American girl brutally murdering her roommate is fascinating to the public in a perverse sense, proving that Amanda was able to murder Meredith with the help of a man who was madly infatuated with her adds a sexual (and gendered) power struggle into the mix that is truly irresistible.

The depiction of Amanda as a mastermind capable of murder, but also a muse, capable of getting men to do her bidding, was responsible for the path that this trial took and the people it implicated. As shown in the documentary, the police were interested in finding male accomplices for Knox, even “pressuring” Amanda into naming her innocent boss, who happened to be black, as a suspect. This is potentially an effect of the media depiction of “Foxy Knoxy” the murderess/temptress. Also, because of this lens, Amanda Knox’s love and sex life were placed under scrutiny that seemed unnecessary to the case.

Since Meredith’s murder scene showed signs of sexual violence, the media was eager to portray Knox as a promiscuous woman. This fell perfectly into the muse trope. Knox, a sexually experienced and experimental woman is in a relationship with Sollecito, an inexperienced and innocent man. Desperate to maintain Knox’s attention and devotion, Sollecito was an accomplice in a wild sex escapade that spiraled into murder. This “evil women and love struck man” sold very well to the masses. This paired with the couple’s strange behavior created an image in the minds of the public and the prosecutors that led to what has later been exonerated as a hasty decision.

It is important to note that at some level, Knox was depicted as a respectable woman. Although the media did often paint her as an almost femme fatal, the only reasons she was able to even get a second, appellate trial is because, as noted earlier she was pretty, not poor and a white American. So while the media did a lot of work against Knox, presenting her as a sex-crazed murderer, the media also set Knox free through giving her leeway due to her socially acceptable traits.

While these contradicting angles and questionable facts make the trial very confusing, we do not believe in Knox’s total innocence. She might not have been the person to actually kill Meredith, since her DNA was not in the room, but it seems that she was aware of and possibly had a hand in the crime. Many of her actions/claims raise questions such as 1. Why did she not check on her roommate when she thought her house was broken into? 2. Why did she brush her teeth and shower when it looked like her home had been broken into? 3. Why did she not freak out at the sight of blood when she was STILL contemplating the fact that her home was seemingly broken into??? 4. What would cause her to seemingly black out and name an innocent man? And 5. Why did it take her 3 years in jail before officially empathizing with Meredith’s family for their loss?

We also think that Rudy was involved in the murder. The way he was presented by the media- a criminal who wanders the streets at night was certainly racially charged, but the fact that his stories don’t line up is definitely a red flag. We think that him and Amanda knew each other and they were both involved in the crime together. It is important to note the swiftness and lack of pomp and circumstance with which Rudy was convicted. As a black man, the media was far less concerned, as Nick Pisa so sagely pointed out, with covering his involvement, than it was with discussing a sensationalized woman-mastermind-muse.

Cover Image Credit: http://cdn.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/articles/2015/02/12/amanda-knox-found-someone-to-marry/jcr:content/image.img.2000.jpg/1423756659187.cached.jpg

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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