Friday, July 08, 2011

Casey Anthony & feminism (by Suzie)

Feminists are all rejoicing in the acquittal of Casey Anthony, according to a Google search of "Casey Anthony" and "feminist," which turned up various conservatives and Men's Rights Activists making that claim. There was no other evidence, but then again, a lack of proof has been a theme of this case.

Searching for feminist thinking on the topic, I found a post by Amanda Marcotte in which she says she knew little about the case before anti-feminists attacked her. My own ignorance ended much earlier, when I was hospitalized last month. (I got out this week.) Being too sick to do much else, I watched a lot of TV surveyed pop culture. I live in Tampa, and the trial dominated the local news, including a local cable station with continuous coverage. Then the case was everywhere.

It's easy to see why. A cute 2-year-old, Caylee, goes missing and her family pleads for her return. The story takes bizarre turns, and the mother is in and out of jail. Once considered a good mother, she becomes the "baby killer."

Casey Anthony's defense team asserted that her father and brother molested her as a child, and she learned to lie to preserve family secrets. No evidence was presented, and the claim was dropped. Of course, plenty of girls get molested with no way of proving it later, and the family seems dysfunctional, but who knows. Whatever the truth in this case, feminists wouldn't absolve an abused woman of all guilt if she killed her child.

As Amanda notes, the madonna/whore binary has played a great role in the Anthony case. Check out this news story today in which the reporter concludes:
In a case filled with mystery, lies and fantasy scenarios, the identity of Caylee's daddy could remain a secret forever.

The most likely reason may be the one Casey Anthony gave a neighbor: She doesn't know the truth herself.
Why is this "most likely"?

Last year, Anthony's defense brought up gender bias, saying she faced harsher penalties that a man would. CNN also reported:
Defense witness Elizabeth Rapaport, a University of New Mexico law professor and author, testified that the lifestyles of white middle-class mothers charged with killing their children receive much more media attention than those of defendants in other cases.
ABC quoted Carole Lieberman, a forensic psychiatrist at UCLA, as saying "she is not aware of one news story that questioned whether Anthony could be innocent." She thinks reasonable doubt exists. That's how I lean, but I don't want to argue all the evidence. As Lieberman said:
"Casey obviously has a lot of psychological problems. Whether she murdered her daughter or not is another thing."
Some people are comparing the not-guilty verdict in this case to the one in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. But Simpson's fame made his case stand out from similar ones across the country. His trial raised awareness about the danger facing women who want to get away from their abusers. Anthony wasn't famous; her case got publicity as a murder mystery. Mothers of toddlers who commit premeditated murder are not a widespread social problem.