Tuesday, August 25, 2009

She's a Woman first.

Three days ago, I finally became fed up with the reporting of Jasmine Fiore's murder. The media here - and elsewhere I'm sure - seized on her jobs by which they sensationalised the story.

This morning, thanks to my editor and another who reads my stuff, I find that Licia Corbella, who was the editor at the SUN and has come over to the Herald, lock stock and barrel, is RIGHT pissed about my letter. She took straight aim at me - my letter to be accurate - spinning the tone to imply that I have a problem with modelling as a career.

She entirely missed the point of my letter: Jasmine Fiore was a woman, a wife, a daughter ,a sister and a friend - who happened, according to UNSUBSTANTIATED reports to be a bikini model, or playboy bunny if you believe the ALSO unverified report that aired on CBC last week. Regardless of WHAT her job was, the media exploited it.

My letter, Corbella's blog (the link) and my reply are posted here.

Before you read them, I want it clear - and it IS in my letter - that I make no judgement on Ms Fiore's job. I do, however, judge the media for using her job as a means to sensationalise the story.

A young woman is dead at the hands of her reportedly disturbed and now deceased spouse. Whatever she did for work should never overshadow that she was a human and a woman.

Here's my initial letter:
Three days in and the Herald’s reporters persist in applying labels to Jasmine Fiore, rather than treating her with respect.

“Model,” “Bikini Model,” “playboy bunny,” (CBC) and terms like that describe jobs –jobs that many don’t respect, despite that a large number of that ‘many’ being males who consume the products of said jobs.

She was a WOMAN. She was a daughter and she was loved. She deserves public respect. She does not deserve to have her job description trumpeted in your headlines (and those of other ‘news’ papers) for three days.

No matter what a woman chooses to do for a job, NO MATTER, her job in no way provides the basis or reason or right or provocation for murder.

On that point, it is very, very unlikely that her job had any bearing whatsoever on why this ‘man’ murdered her. Psychopaths choose their victims for all sorts of reasons but job is rarely one of them.

The Herald’s sensational reporting of this murder – and it’s persistence on calling Fiore’s murderer a man – a term he does not deserve – underscores the extent to which the reports will go to slam and victimise a young woman who was brutally murdered, stuffed into a suitcase and dumped into a garbage bin by a being who is in every likelihood a psychopath and who has a long, verifiable history of abusing WOMEN.

Why Fiore’s murderer receives any respectful terminology and she doesn’t puts Vegas-bright lights around the continued treatment of women by the news media.

This is a two-sided complaint: this alleged murderer, by benefiting from ‘admirable’ job descriptions in your paper’s reporting, is a blight on men.

Real men don’t kill woman regardless of how much money they make, how young or cute or famous they are.

Corbella's Blog link:

I wrote directly to Corbella today, via the web link provided on this blog. I don't have that part of the exchange, I'm sad to say; I wrote it on a computer in Kelowna, so it's in the history file there...

However, I did say that I was very surprised at the tone Corbella had taken in her blog and that I took it as a personal attack (she said it wasn't, despite specifically saying "shame on you" in her blog...

This is the letter I wrote to the Letters section of the Herald. It is substantially the letter I wrote directly in response to Corbella's direct response to me.

My Reply
I am shocked at the extent to which my comments have been misinterpreted despite them being (NEARLY) published in their entirety

I take absolutely no issue with modelling as a job. I did NOT at any point say that modelling of any type is or isn't a viable occupation.

I made it clear in my letter that a woman's job cannot ever be the basis for murder, no matter what she does and I say here again, a woman’s job should not be the detail the media chooses to sensationalise. And at no point should a woman’s job be used to define her.

My point is that the media described Miss Fiore by every title BUT woman; Her murderer was described first as a man (and yeah, I do dispute that he deserves said title) and secondly by his jobs and involvements. Miss Fiore was described primarily by her jobs and either not at all or secondarily as a woman.

As Ms Corbella and I both work in this medium, we must agree that the media does take advantage of the juicy bits and that the media did so with this story.

It's not a question of only describing her as a woman but of at least starting there. To describe her as "... his bikini-model wife" describes her not only just by her profession but also (some would say) as a possession, as the sentence begins as "HIS ..."

I’m sorry that anyone was offended by my letter because the intent is entirely the opposite of what Ms Corbella's blog implies. A re-reading of my letter might clarify my points: I observe that not all people consider bikini model (or Playboy Bunny, as per CBC) to be a viable or valuable profession. I did NOT express that opinion myself; I simply acknowledge that there are some who hold that opinion. I said that a woman's profession cannot be the motivation for a murder - and NO I don't believe there are many good reasons for murder at all.

The bottom line is that I and the people who are commenting on my blog feel that Miss Fiore was exploited by the press based on what she did for a living. I find it immensely offensive - and yes, I presume that most women would also - that any woman, but specifically one who has been brutally murdered, should be reduced to the sum of her jobs - regardless of that job; editor, shop worker or playboy bunny.

The part that was excluded from my letter was this: Miss Fiore was a woman, a daughter and possibly a sister. Whatever she did for a living, it should not be used as the means of sensationalising her death nor her murder.

I stick by my conviction that the media made Miss Fiore into an object by capitalising on her work.