Gender Oppression and the Media

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Sunday, December 9th, 2007, Matthew Murray entered New Life Church with a high-powered rifle and began open fire. The story of the armed gunman is not a new one for America; it had been a constant fear since the incidents of Columbine, and the tension was heightened when just a few months previous to this incident, what was defined as a massacre took place at Virginia Tech. This story ends differently from the school shootings, however; Murray was shot and killed by Jeanne Assam, a female security guard, who, as the media anxiously points out, is currently single.

This is not the first time New Life Church has been in the news. In November 2006, founder Ted Haggard resigned after being caught in a scandal involving soliciting homosexual sex from a male prostitute, as well as engaging in the use of meth. After three weeks of intensive counseling, Haggard was "given the tools to help embrace his heterosexual side" (Torkleson). Finally, the church would be allowed to continue its vendetta against homosexuality – that is, until December 9th, when Murray surfaced with his own vendetta. On that day, a woman would shoot a man, and two media stereotypes would clash. The epitome of masculinity – an armed and dangerous man who had been wronged – was taken down by a petite blonde who, of all things, doesn't even have a boyfriend.

Jeanne Assam's story is only the most recent in the media's perverted field day; it seems any time sex suggests itself, thousands of publications have something to say about the situation, and the midst of the internet boom, even more opinions are being heard. Bloggers like Perez Hilton become rich and famous for ripping apart women in the spotlight for details as small as outfit choices. And private situations, such as Britney Spears's drug addiction and child custody suit, have given the media a means to spread their juicy, misogynistic gospel, and make sure that any woman who so much as dares to shave her head feels the wrath...
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