Today while flicking from one channel (tennis coverage) to another (BBC coverage of the riots in the UK) I heard a voice declaim another blonde beauty missing from Aruba!
I opened a browser window and googled another blonde is missing in aruba and this what came back.
Another american blonde female missing in Aruba
Another american blonde female missing in Aruba (different sites, identical headlines)
Yet another Hot Blonde missing in Aruba (the link is to a message board)
Another blonde chick missing in Aruba (the link is to a message board)
Maryland woman missing in Aruba
Another Blonde American Missing in Aruba
Another American Beauty Missing in Aruba
Another missing Aruba gal
Let\’s deconstruct those headlines.
Including the information that the woman is either American or from Maryland answers the implicit question why should we care about some woman in Aruba? The headline explains why the disappearance of someone in another country is making news in the United States.
The inclusion of the word \”another\” is in itself interesting because someone who was not aware of the Natalee Holloway case might assume that American women were going missing from Aruba with some frequency. But since Holloway disappeared six years ago the word another must signify something else. What? Perhaps it encourages the reader to look for parallels between to the two cases. There are both women, both blonde, both Americans vacationing in Aruba.
Aha, as one reads further you realize that both cases allow for a certain degree of salaciousness. And salaciousness sells tabloids. It sells mainstream newspapers. It gives a bump in the ratings of the news shows.
But something else is there. It is the word blonde.
Why is the women\’s hair colour included in the headline? After all these are not APBs sent out to help people find the missing women.
Telling us that the women were blonde tells us that the women were white.
So this is the story the headlines actually tell us. Another white woman has gone missing under circumstances that are open to salacious interpretation while visiting a country full of not-white people.