Friday, March 30, 2012

Women Victimized in the News

While home on spring break, I saw a local news story that caught my attention.  It was about a fight that broke out in a McDonald’s in New York City.  In this story, the reporter emphasized the fact that this was not the first act of violence to occur at that specific McDonald’s.    Both this and the first violent act went viral when caught on tape, but the first was different in that it involved women.

                The first fight, which occurred in October of 2011, took place when two women jumped over the counter and were subsequently beaten with a metal rod by the cashier.  The women were hospitalized and the cashier was fired and arrested, but charges against him were dismissed. 

                This is a clear act of brutal violence that led to these women being seen as victims.  However, when reading comments on the article on the NBC website, I found it interesting that many people believed the reporting to be heavily biased.  Those who commented claimed that the women got “what they had coming” or “were looking for trouble”.    These viewpoints seem to contradict that of the reporter and bring up the question of how violence against women is portrayed in the news.

                This report suggests that whenever women are injured in a violent incident, they are automatically victimized, and the men are the offenders.  The reporter did not spend much time discussing the women’s part in jumping over the counter or starting the dispute with the cashier that led to the entire incident.  Instead, the report focused greatly on the violence on the part of the male cashier.

                Some of the comments on the article encouraged readers to view the full, unedited video of the incident (below), to understand the role the women played in instigating the actions of the worker.  The edited version does not include the women yelling and creating a scene prior to the violence on the part of the worker.  Of course, it cannot be overlooked that the women were injured enough that they were hospitalized, but edits such as these seem to help create a bias in the story.   This then begs the question of whether the women were victimized in the media because of their gender or because they really were the victims in this story.

                After watching these videos (both here and from the NBC article) or reading the brief summary of the incident, do you think this story was really “slanted” or was the reporter right in presenting the women as the true victims of the incident?  There may not be a clear answer, but it does seem that the story had a bias towards the women.


  1. I agree with you in saying that there was bias in the news story in favor of making the women the victims of this story. I think this news team was very biased and chose an angle to play on this story. They chose to make the cashier this raged attacker and the two women completely innocent victims. I feel that the reporter took it much farther by interviewing one father's of the "victims" it humanized her more and therefore can be seen as taping into the audiences emotions. I feel that the women were victims, but i also feel that the cashier was victimized by this news reporter for the story was slanted toward presenting the women as the victims.

  2. It is interesting how the news automatically depicts the women as victims. However, it is more interesting to try to determine if this is offensive toward women or not. By portraying women as victims, the news is playing into societal gender stereotypes by assuming that women should be the weaker gender in the situation. But by doing this, society automatically takes the women’s side to the story—making the male seem like the bad guy. It’s obvious that the news skewed the story to make the women seem like victims, but does playing into this stereotype offend women more than make them seem like the good person?


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