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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Coverage of Jocelyn Kirsch is Scandalous

One of the thing's I've noticed about myself over these last few years in college is that I increasingly notice misogyny where I didn't before. You may attribute this to growth and maturity on my part, but I blame the feminist blogs I read, like Pandagon or Shakespeare's Sister. With that backdrop, I thought I should say something about the hottest buzz on campus since, well the recent Democratic Presidential debate.

I'm sure you've heard the story, so the short version is Drexel's own Jocelyn Kirsch and her boyfriend Edward Anderton, A UPenn graduate, were living the high life in a ritzy Rittenhouse square apartment and all over the world with money they stole through ID theft. Apparently it wasn't a small time operation either; they had an industrial ID making machine and stole keys to their neighbors apartments to get in and steall ID related material.

Naturally, they got caught, and the story was just too juicy. The more stories I read about it, though, the more I became uncomfortable with the tone and focus of the coverage.

What Kirsch and Anderton did was pretty despicable. Identity theft is a horrible crime that victimizes people for a long time. It violates their sense of being, costs them time and money to recover from it, shatters their trust in people, and often comes back to victimize them again and again, years later. Kirsch and Anderton, if convicted, should rot in jail for a long time. I have no sympathy for them. My disdain for Kirsch and Anderton, however, didn't blind me to the misogynistic tone of the coverage.

Everything I read, from the Daily News coverage to The Triangle's cover story, had a distinct focus on Kirsch. Reporters were ever so eager to dig up stories from anyone with an axe to grind against Kirsch. I can't even count how many times I've read that she alledgedly got breast implants. It was practically the focus of the coverage!

The cover story in The Triangle read like a gossip column. It was disappointing, because the reporters that wrote it actually are very good, and I felt like they knew better. Paragraphs like this jumped out at me:
Another source, a Drexel University college friend, says that the breasts implants were likely.

"She had a nose job and told friends that she needed it after getting hurt pole vaulting," the source said.

After friends confronted her about the pole vaulting incident, she uploaded pictures to her Facebook of other people pole vaulting and tagged herself, according to the source. The pictures have since been removed.

"I always wonder why she stayed with him. She could wrap any person around her finger," the source said.

A Drexel friend who wished to remain anonymous says she was surprised that Eddie was involved in this, and that he stayed with her. Kirsch was allegedly still dating her ex-boyfriend when she first met Eddie.
This is blatantly misogynistic. "Poor old Eddie Anderton, just got sucked in by that crafty Siren who conned him into all this bad stuff!"

The Daily News coverage wasn't so blatent, but they did slip in nuggets.
Ian Jacobson, 23, whose best friend dated Kirsch in 2006, said she wanted to be a goodwill ambassador, but that "was inconsistent with the way she dressed and the way she presented herself."

He said Kirsch liked to change up clothes, hair color and contact colors. She changed from blond to brunette to black hair, then to red hair during the time Jacobson knew her, he said. Her eye color also was changing.
It's not surprising at all that you would find people with nasty things to say about Anderton and Kirsch. They would have to be pretty awful people to do what they did. I just don't think that hearing from friends of ex-boyfriends about what a bitch she was is interesting or enlightening. I also think that Kirsch is only half of this pair, and that Anderton should be subject to the same scrutiny that Kirsch would be subjected too.

From another article in the Daily News:
"This is a great day. I've been laughing so hard," said Ian Jacobson earlier this week. His best friend dated Kirsch, whom he called "very conniving. She kind of just stuck her claws into my friend and twisted his perception of things."

Jacobson and Cook, like many others at Drexel who spoke on condition of anonymity, truly never believed the things uttered by Kirsch.
I won't even mention the kinds of things written to the Facebook groups about Kirsch. I was actually surprised by some of it, considering that Facebook, unlike most of the internet, isn't anonymous. I challenge you to find any atricle on the internet that allows comments where someone didn't pop up and say "I'd still fuck her." or some varation on that theme.

There are some pretty interesting things about this story. These kids had every chance in the world, and they still went out and robbed their neighbors. I don't know what the dynamics were between Kirsch and Anderton, and maybe one of them was the driving force, but the speed at which people seem willing to jump to the conclusio that Kirsch is a conniving bitch who conned that poor sweet boy, well, it rubbed me the wrong way. Just something to be aware of next time you read that some awful woman got breast implants.

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