Amanda Knox Biopic Reveals the Harsh Consequences of Media's Sexism

Netflix's decision to revisit the controversial case of Amanda Knox and her alleged but acquitted involvement in the case of Meredith Kutcher is one that many may remember vividly in their minds. The focus of this piece, however, will not be on how horrific the murder was. Not because of how long the trial went on for, (eight years in total), but because of how intensely the media used their platform to attack and incriminate Knox on the basis of her sexuality.

Regardless as to whether you find Knox guilty or innocent, the ultimate end to the documentary, and to the case overall, was the decision made by the Supreme Court of Italy to acquit Knox and her alleged accomplice of the murder of Meredith Kercher. One of the main reasons for this acquittal was not only the clear lack of sufficient evidence, but also the sexist role of the media in catalysing a 'frantic search' for Knox's guilty sentence.

The media first zoned in on Knox when footage was released of Knox and her boyfriend (who would ultimately be accused of working with her) kissing outside of the 'horror house' as it was so aptly named. Yes, I do agree that this was a very strange and unusual act to engage in, especially considering the circumstances, but the media sprang upon the young American instantly in an effort to find out as much dirt as possible about the unknown roommate of Meredith Kercher; simply because she did not react in a typical ‘feminine’ manner.

This sexist label spiralled out of control when Knox was arrested for her role in the murder, and whilst waiting out the trial inside an Italian jail cell, she would also find out that she was HIV positive (a fact that would later be proved false). Her diary outlining this diagnosis 'accidentally' found its way into the hands of the media and further fuelled the sexist label that had befallen Knox already. As a result, newspapers and websites were pasted with sexually promiscuous images of Knox which fuelled the hatred that readers would develop against the American. From this diary entry and the picture alone, the media successfully brought down an insignificant American student by labelling her as a sexual manipulator of her accomplice/boyfriend. Its baffling to think that because Knox didn’t fit a perfect, ladylike, quiet mould and was instead outspoken and sexually open, the media considered her a prime suspect in a murder trial that she wasn't even a part of.

Knox became further embroiled in the murder investigation of her roommate when her boyfriend quickly turned against her after investigators convinced him that Amanda was a liar and a 'stupid slut', again using her sexuality as a way of fuelling her guilty status. Regardless as to whether she was actually guilty should not have been debated in relation to Knox’s sexual preferences and unladylike behaviour, but through accurate evidence.

A perfect ending to this case came when one final headline was splashed across news outlets and newspapers for all the audiences to see: FOXY KNOXY. One reporter had cunningly delved into Knox's old social media platforms and used her own username against her. The media had successfully manipulated the case by painting the main culprit as sexually depraved just because she was more sexually open than others. She was not a woman in the eyes of the people, and therefore must be a killer. Knox was charged with the murder of her roommate after she supposedly walked in on Knox engaging in a threesome with her boyfriend and another man. And so began an eight-year case for Knox until she would finally have her evidence laid out in court.

The media knew that Knox was vulnerable and were all too aware of the publicity such a high-profile case could bring. As a result, media outlets used a woman’s sexuality against her and nearly took away her life.  It is clear how significant the consequences can be even if they may not seem that large in the short-term. And it is obvious that the media's sexism needs to be taken more seriously, particularly when focusing on the life of one individual.

 

Edited by Jess Shelton

Sources:

http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/netflix-amanda-knox-leonardo-dicapr...

http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/TimelineGenerator/bin/img/142721504582...

http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2016_36/1156504/amanda-knox-traile...