When the media says a cop is no more than a woman

datePosted on 08:00, December 31st, 2011 by Anita

If Hayden Donnell of the Herald didn’t have a head full of preconceptions about policewomen and women fighting this is how his article would start

Female cCop bashed, loses hair

A policewoman officer has head wounds and clumps of hair missing after being assaulted while attending a domestic dispute near Huntly.

Two officers – one male and one female – were set upon by four people soon after arriving at an alcohol-fuelled dispute at a Glen Afton property at about 1:30am this morning.

Police said the femaleone officer was hit in the head and had clumps of her hair pulled out by a womanperson at the house.

The media has a lot of power in setting social norms, effectively in telling us stories about ourselves. This is yet another example of the low-level ingrained sexism it exhibits.

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18 Responses to “When the media says a cop is no more than a woman”

  1. QoT on December 31st, 2011 at 11:06

    Why do I also feel that he wouldn’t put such focus on “clumps of hair missing” if it were a male officer? Getting hair ripped out could just as easily come under the previous phrase “head wounds”. But then I guess we wouldn’t get that titillating cat-fight vibe.

  2. Pablo on December 31st, 2011 at 19:50

    That is the bottom line.

  3. JB on January 1st, 2012 at 07:33

    If you go around looking for something to be offended by then you’ll easily find something.

    Will you be happy when society treats assaults on women as no more seriously as those on males?

  4. QoT on January 1st, 2012 at 12:54

    Oh, JB, if only that were true! But happily, one doesn’t have to “go looking” for anything, our media provide gratuitous sexism free of charge on a daily basis.

    And I’ll be happy when a violent assault against a police officer who happens to be a woman isn’t used by our media to drum up pageviews and unsubtly imply that things wouldn’t have got out of hand if only the woman had stood back and let the man handle the situation.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke on January 2nd, 2012 at 06:44

    “Will you be happy when society treats assaults on women as no more seriously as those on males?”

    What colour is the sky on your planet? “Society” has only just started paying attention to domestic violence, and in many respects treats violence against women less seriously than that against men.

    An acquaintance of mine underwent gender reassignment. She says she wished she had understood the difference between the way she was treated as a man and the way she is treated as a woman.

  6. Anita on January 2nd, 2012 at 11:07

    JB writes:

    Will you be happy when society treats assaults on women as no more seriously as those on males?


  7. DeepRed on January 3rd, 2012 at 13:40

    I was left with the impression that the article redefines Battered Woman Syndrome as a sub-set of Missing White Woman Syndrome. Same mentality, different clothes.

  8. DeepRed on January 3rd, 2012 at 13:55

    PS. Not to mention it’s an insult to battered women full-stop.

  9. SPC on January 31st, 2012 at 23:23

    It’s simply a fact that women are vulnerable to people pulling their hair when violence occurs. That is what happened and was simply reported.

    The only implication in the story was that the 2 were prepared to use mediation and were taken by surprise by the 4 immediately resorting to violence.

    Would two male officers have gone in with batons to save the woman from the man otherwise … .

    Do stories involving violence to female officers get better ratings, has anyone done any actual research?

  10. QoT on February 1st, 2012 at 07:30

    This just in: only women ever have long hair, no one with short hair ever gets scalp injuries in fights. Thanks, SPC!

  11. SPC on February 1st, 2012 at 18:42

    Have you even considered the fact that only sportsmen with long hair get it pulled while being tackled, during physical contact?

    This is not about head injuries, but how she was injured.

    This is a non issue, the media reported the facts.

    If all you have is that I could have put it that most women and those men who have long hair are vulnerable to having it pulled then …

  12. QoT on February 1st, 2012 at 18:45

    Actually, SPC, and this may come as a shock, it’s “about” pointless gender specificity in reporting when women law enforcement personnel are involved.

    But hey, feel free to pretend that you didn’t, just one comment ago, say “It’s simply a fact that women are vulnerable to people pulling their hair when violence occurs.” and are now talking about sportsmen.

  13. SPC on February 1st, 2012 at 19:25

    You were the one sensitive to media reporting about women getting their hair pulled in physical confrontation and then raised the point that not only women have long hair. Yeah so I said sportsmen with long hair get it pulled in similar circumstances.

    And you try to link that to gender nuetrality in reporting. Is that some sort of attempt to be clever in debate?

    So is your problem with the lack of gender nuetrality in reporting, or the vulnerability of women in physical confrontation to having their hair pulled? Thus something gender nuetrality in reporting could cover up.

  14. QoT on February 1st, 2012 at 20:37

    Okay, SPC, you’re obviously arguing with a version of me that exists only in your own head. Carry on …

  15. SPC on February 1st, 2012 at 22:27

    Is that your usual escape line …

    I’ll await the next media reporting of a rape story here and your contribution that the gender of the rape victim and their attacker should not be part of the coverage.

  16. sj on May 19th, 2012 at 11:39

    Hello. I have a PhD on the justice system’s response to domestic homicide. What I would add to the discussion is that sometimes the problem is the opposite of too much attention on the gender. It is no attention to the gender, which gender is clearly a significant factor in the equation of both prevention and treatment (in domestic violence contexts especially). In DV contexts the trend is to say women are just as violent as men. That means that whenever the culprit is female the media will be on it and on the gender and whenever the victim is female and the perp male the media will downplay the gender.

  17. MtnMax on February 27th, 2013 at 15:27

    Just joined blog site so really an after the event comment. To SJ your expressed views appears to be fully in line with the politically driven distortions on human relationship interactions trotted out of feminist academia for far too long. Based on my research up to the early 2000’s and anecdotal since, most mainstream media articles tend to still trot out the view of male bad/female always the victim. Perhaps you have sighted some media movement towards articles that might actually seek some honesty in the arena of domestic violence? That being resolution to domestic violence, if in fact one exists given the history of humankind, will only arise out of recognising domestic violence as being a human issue and not something caused by a problem gender.

  18. […] demonstrates how an NZ Herald article unnecessarily emphasises the gender of a police officer who was […]

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