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Cheerleader(s): Code Word for These Women Were More Valuable Than Other Tragic Victims

June 28, 2007
It is a tragic loss. I know, my daughter had a hard time when she was in high school when the class suffered too separate incidents with student deaths. One was an accident that took three young lives, the other was a head on three-wheeler (or four ?) accident. Throughout my four years in high school, we experienced some bad deaths; one included a pregnant woman having her baby cut out during a football game, mother and baby died. It was horrendous.

My problem is with the need to assign value or to negate (the filthy whore deserved to die, or it was her fault for sleeping with him) hence, the coded value system that is used second nature with the media. Why don’t the headlines begin or include instead, “five women”, “five recent high school graduates”, “five friends?” Why is cheerleader (what I call, a verb-noun adjective) used to introduce this tragedy? Because it reflects a value rating, a hierarchy, that’s why. Cheerleaders are the fabric of America. We are guided to mourn, because these woman were cheerleaders. What if the headlines read five unemployed women, five housekeepers, five lawyers, five mothers, five lesbians, or five cynics? See how what language is used attempts to dictate our response, even our compassion?

  1. Anna permalink
    June 29, 2007 4:05 pm

    You make a very good point. The “C-leader” headline made me squirm when I saw it – as if the young women had been “typed.”

  2. thailandchani permalink
    July 1, 2007 7:04 pm

    It is the same old stuff. What is it they call it in the mental health field? YAVIS? Young, attractive, voluntary, _____, successful?

    It’s no different in journalism. Natalee Holloway is somehow inherently more valuable than a hooker who is brutally murdered.

    Luckily, at my age, little shocks me any more.



  3. Chris permalink
    July 3, 2007 3:21 am

    I didn’t catch that when the story first broke. My first thoughts were turned to my recently graduated 18 y/o son and I felt thankful, honestly. I get so worried that despite our best efforts, my child will end up a statistic.

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