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Reflection On The Class Essay

725 words - 3 pages

In October of 2011, the media could no longer ignore the thousands of protesters camping in Zuccotti Park calling themselves Occupy Wall Street with their battle cry of “We are the 99 percent” (Gitlin 50). The social movement began to bring awareness on economic inequality in which 99 percent of the wealth was controlled by one percent of the population. The name Occupy Wall Street began because the protestors were occupying the space outside of Wall Street through setting up tents and refusing to leave the location (Gitlin 26). As more and more protestors flocked to the camps, the movement broadened its goals to include a wide variety of issues including agriculture, housing and student loans. Described as lacking any clear-cut goals for the movement by the media, news pundits bickered over the credibility of the movement and if these protestors would create the next social revolution in the United States (DeLuca, Lawson, and Sun 491). The coverage of the movement varied from newspaper to newspaper, but the framing of coverage continued to show a disorganized, but large movement that showed no signs of stopping. As Occupy Wall Street gained momentum, the public became aware of sexual assaults occurring within the Occupy Wall Street camps. As a result of this information, media began covering these assaults as part of their Occupy Wall Street coverage.
This project will use a feminist media analysis of mainstream newspapers to explore the discourse around the ideology of sexual assault and women protesting in public space. I argue that the coverage of sexual assaults during Occupy Wall Street used a “blame the victim” narrative to link the participation of women protesting in public space to gender based violence. Feminist researchers Meyers, Benedict, and Carter argue within news coverage of sexual assault blame is placed on the victim rather than the perpetrator. Using this research, my hypothesis is that the narratives used to cover Occupy Wall Street will mirror similar victim blaming narratives used in news coverage because of the highly negative view of Occupy Wall Street and assumptions about women’s role in public space.
Due to the scattered and non-hierarchical organization of Occupy Wall Street, it is unclear how...

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