Related to crime and tangentially to prisons, Colin Pantall has been examining the cult, mythologies and obfuscations at the point where visual media and female criminals cross. He does so over four posts.

Pantall summarises: In Media and Crime, Yvonne Jewkes identifies seven standard narratives to describe women who commit serious crimes:
• Sexuality and sexual deviance
• (Absence of) physical attractiveness
• Bad wives
• Bad mothers
• Mythical monsters
• Mad cows
• Evil manipulators

Pantall challenges:

He takes on the common consumption of Myra Hindley’s mugshot:

“The world brought bored indifference to her mentor, the sadistic, fascistic Ian Brady. He was just another bad bloke.”

“It is a police photograph taken in maximum light in a dungeon. That stark, sinister expression could also be one of fright, ­ the antithesis of the transgressive transcendence conceived by Brady.”

Pantall compares: the national disgust at a smirking bully with the forgiveness of the victims parents.

Finally, Pantall confesses he has no idea if Amanda Knox is guilty or not.

In his ‘Trial by Photography’ post he points out that she’s already been judged for not behaving – or looking – innocent in front of the cameras.

He closes, astutely noting, “A virtual reconstruction of the murder of Meredith Kercher was shown in court, with the screen fading to red at the end. Which puts everything about the trial into question.”

Now we know what the six jurors and two judges think. Did the visual aides used by the prosecution disproportionally affect Knox’s guilty verdict?

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