History Main / MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome

2nd May '16 3:43:35 PM TheOneWhoTropes
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The most likely ignored missing person is the DisposableSexWorker and/or the DisposableVagrant. Presumably the inspiration for the Trope is the WhiteKnighting mind-set. For more information, including a detailed breakdown of the coverage cycle and links to dozens of cases, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_white_woman_syndrome this article]] at Wikipedia. [[note]]Ever heard of Spc. Shoshana Johnson? No? She was a black woman taken prisoner along with attractive young white woman Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who became a media star.[[/note]] [[http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2006/03/diagnosing-missing-white-woman.html This column]] at CNN.com has some thoughts on it, and in the years since this trope entry was first written many more writers have weighed in on the topic.

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The most likely ignored missing person is the DisposableSexWorker and/or the DisposableVagrant. Presumably the inspiration for the Trope is the WhiteKnighting white knighting mind-set. For more information, including a detailed breakdown of the coverage cycle and links to dozens of cases, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_white_woman_syndrome this article]] at Wikipedia. [[note]]Ever heard of Spc. Shoshana Johnson? No? She was a black woman taken prisoner along with attractive young white woman Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who became a media star.[[/note]] [[http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2006/03/diagnosing-missing-white-woman.html This column]] at CNN.com has some thoughts on it, and in the years since this trope entry was first written many more writers have weighed in on the topic.
28th Apr '16 2:42:44 AM AgProv
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The term '''Missing White Woman Syndrome''' describes the fact that Western media will focus on the murder, kidnapping, or disappearance of Caucasian females--usually pretty and young--to the exclusion of minority, male, older, or disabled missing persons.

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The term '''Missing White Woman Syndrome''' describes the fact that Western media will focus on the murder, kidnapping, or disappearance of Caucasian females--usually pretty and young--to the exclusion of minority, male, older, or disabled missing persons.
persons. If the missing white female is also from a good middle or upper-middle class family, this is somehow seen as more newsworthy: those from lower class or "underclass" families get at most perfunctory coverage. [[note]]RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement precludes quoting obvious examples.[[/note]]
26th Mar '16 10:01:49 AM freesefan
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* In Creator/MichaelConnelly novel ''The Black Box'', Harry Bosch is investigating a cold case regarding a white woman killed in the 1992 LA riots. He meets a lot of internal LAPD resistance, as the brass fears being accused of Missing White Woman Syndrome. In Connelly novel ''Literature/TheScarecrow'', Jack [=McEvoy=] accuses the LAPD of the Syndrome when the murder of a white woman near the crime-ridden Rodia Gardens housing project leads to a police raid.
29th Jan '16 6:29:46 AM FF32
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* Used completely unironically as the entire plot of AMC's ''Series/TheKilling''. The series is all about solving the murder of Rosie Larson at any cost. Early on the case bring the police to a Seattle mosque where the imam explains that no one in the community is intersted in helping the police because the police haven't even bothered to investigating missing children from their neighborhood. After that the implications of an entire show dedicated to a missing white girl are sort of just awkwardly ignored.

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* Used completely unironically as the entire plot of AMC's ''Series/TheKilling''. The series is all about solving the murder of Rosie Larson at any cost. Early on the case bring the police to a Seattle mosque where the imam explains that no one in the community is intersted interested in helping the police because the police haven't even bothered to investigating missing children from their neighborhood. After that the implications of an entire show dedicated to a missing white girl are sort of just awkwardly ignored.
6th Jan '16 8:18:08 AM TheRedRedKroovy
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* In ''Literature/TheExtinctionParade'', this trope is the reason why vampires use the poor as their main food source. They treat hunting upper- and middle-class people as a form of HuntingTheMostDangerousGame, as when one of them goes missing, it typically sparks a manhunt, forcing the vampire to devote considerable resources to [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident covering up the death as something mundane]] like an accident, a suicide, a mugging gone wrong, or a crime of passion. When someone from the slums goes missing, however, it's usually chalked up to street crime, with few outside the victim's family paying it any mind. As Western standards of living grew in the 20th century and eliminated the most grinding forms of poverty, this has forced many vampires to move to Third World countries, where there are still teeming masses of desperately poor people that society won't miss, in order to maintain their lifestyles.
15th Nov '15 10:53:52 AM Daethalion
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* In the novel ''Literature/{{Reliquary}}'', the string of kidnappings in New York garners media attention only after a pretty young blonde woman vanishes.

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* In the novel ''Literature/{{Reliquary}}'', the string of kidnappings in New York garners media attention only after a pretty young blonde woman from an OldMoney family vanishes.
5th Nov '15 10:44:33 PM Llygodenfawr
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** Addressed in the episode "White Balance", in which the agents investigated two cases -- that of a white slacker party-loving teenage girl, and that of a black hard-working kind teenage boy. They must cope with the white girl's case getting constant attention and the black boy's getting none, in one instant the news interviewer left just after finishing up with the father of the white girl, completely ignoring the black boy's mother. This episode concludes with a NoEnding -- we're told one lives and one dies, but not who. Made worse later on when the media ''does'' start paying attention to the black boy's case - [[UnfortunateImplications when it looks like he may have been involved in the white girl's disappearance.]]

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** Addressed in the episode "White Balance", in which the agents investigated two cases -- that of a white slacker party-loving teenage girl, and that of a black hard-working kind teenage boy. They must cope with the white girl's case getting constant attention and the black boy's getting none, in one instant the news interviewer left just after finishing up with the father of the white girl, completely ignoring the black boy's mother. This episode concludes with a NoEnding -- we're told one lives and one dies, but not who. Made worse later on when the media ''does'' start paying attention to the black boy's case - -- [[UnfortunateImplications when it looks like he may have been involved in the white girl's disappearance.]]



* In an episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'', the disappearance of a white girl on a school trip becomes the subject of a media frenzy and is eventually tied to the disappearance of a local black girl. The mother of the black girl excoriates a Nancy Grace knock-off for coming to her only when her daughter's disappearance was tied up with the white girl's- the mother is willing to use the "journalist" for much-needed publicity, but she doesn't for one second think the woman cares about her or her missing daughter. She also calls out the cops for blowing off her daughter's disappearance, but sending in the Major Case Squad to investigate the white girl's and points out the bitter irony that had the cops and media paid more attention to her daughter's case, the white girl might still be alive because the young man who (it was assumed at the time) killed both of them would have been arrested for the first crime.

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* In an episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'', the disappearance of a white girl on a school trip becomes the subject of a media frenzy and is eventually tied to the disappearance of a local black girl. The mother of the black girl excoriates a Nancy Grace knock-off for coming to her only when her daughter's disappearance was tied up with the white girl's- girl's -- the mother is willing to use the "journalist" for much-needed publicity, but she doesn't for one second think the woman cares about her or her missing daughter. She also calls out the cops for blowing off her daughter's disappearance, but sending in the Major Case Squad to investigate the white girl's and points out the bitter irony that had the cops and media paid more attention to her daughter's case, the white girl might still be alive because the young man who (it was assumed at the time) killed both of them would have been arrested for the first crime.



* Referenced in ''Series/KeyAndPeele'', a sketch comedy show. One of the segments was about a missing White infant, and the new anchor getting mad because they found the baby before they could talk about it. A few days later the same man tries to give a story about a missing Black infant only for the news to tell him not to as no one cares, and than it cuts to them referring to the formerly missing White baby saying she's doing just fine and hasn't been missing in some time.
* ''Series/{{Broadchurch}}'' has an example that focuses on the "woman" part of the syndrome rather than the "white." When the Lattimer family wants to know why their son Danny's murder has received almost no media attention, a reporter tells them that it's because Danny was a boy--if he had been a girl, there would be reporters swarming all over the town. The reporter suggests that they could get around this by making Danny's mother Beth the "white woman victim" who would be the focus of media sympathy.

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* Referenced in ''Series/KeyAndPeele'', a sketch comedy show. One of the segments was about a missing White white infant, and the new anchor getting mad because they found the baby before they could talk about it. A few days later the same man tries to give a story about a missing Black black infant only for the news to tell him not to as no one cares, and than it cuts to them referring to the formerly missing White baby saying she's doing just fine and hasn't been missing in some time.
* ''Series/{{Broadchurch}}'' has an example that focuses on the "woman" part of the syndrome rather than the "white." "white". When the Lattimer family wants to know why their son Danny's murder has received almost no media attention, a reporter tells them that it's because Danny was a boy--if he had been a girl, there would be reporters swarming all over the town. The reporter suggests that they could get around this by making Danny's mother Beth the "white woman victim" who would be the focus of media sympathy.



* There is a FantasticRacism version in VideoGame/DragonAgeII with a serial killer who targets elf girls. Law enforcement is not interested - even LawfulGood city-guard Aveline is prepared to look the other way if you just kill him. Another factor in this case is that [[spoiler:the quest-giver, a city magistrate, is the killer's father. Even the killer tells you his father is just going to help cover up his crimes.]]

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* There is a FantasticRacism version in VideoGame/DragonAgeII with a serial killer who targets elf girls. Law enforcement is not interested - -- even LawfulGood city-guard Aveline is prepared to look the other way if you just kill him. Another factor in this case is that [[spoiler:the quest-giver, a city magistrate, is the killer's father. Even the killer tells you his father is just going to help cover up his crimes.]]



* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'', STAG's leader blows off a question as to how their occupation of Steelport will affect its citizens by bringing up the Boss' killing of [[spoiler:Jessica Parish]] in the previous game. The way he tells it, she's just your average girl who fell in with a bad crowd and got killed because of gang violence - conveniently leaving out the part where [[spoiler:she was the one who sent her gang to kidnap and torture Carlos by dragging him behind a truck, and that her own death was the Boss getting revenge for that]]. Not to mention that she's [[AMillionIsAStatistic just one of a million other deaths the Boss is responsible for]].

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* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'', STAG's leader blows off a question as to how their occupation of Steelport will affect its citizens by bringing up the Boss' killing of [[spoiler:Jessica Parish]] in the previous game. The way he tells it, she's just your average girl who fell in with a bad crowd and got killed because of gang violence - -- conveniently leaving out the part where [[spoiler:she was the one who sent her gang to kidnap and torture Carlos by dragging him behind a truck, and that her own death was the Boss getting revenge for that]]. Not to mention that she's [[AMillionIsAStatistic just one of a million other deaths the Boss is responsible for]].
24th Sep '15 1:13:59 PM Morgenthaler
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* The absence of this trope is what makes the {{Janie}} series (1990-2000) an UnintentionalPeriodPiece (among other things). [[spoiler: If Janie's kidnapping had happened now, no doubt there would have been a huge media sensation about the disappearance of a pretty white girl from the suburbs.]]

to:

* The absence of this trope is what makes the {{Janie}} ''Literature/{{Janie}}'' series (1990-2000) an UnintentionalPeriodPiece (among other things). [[spoiler: If Janie's kidnapping had happened now, no doubt there would have been a huge media sensation about the disappearance of a pretty white girl from the suburbs.]]
5th Sep '15 2:01:17 PM jamespolk
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The most likely ignored missing person is the DisposableSexWorker and/or the DisposableVagrant. Presumably the inspiration for the Trope is the WhiteKnighting mind-set. For more information, including a detailed breakdown of the coverage cycle and links to dozens of cases, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_white_woman_syndrome this article]] at Wikipedia. (Ever heard of Spc. Shoshana Johnson? She was a black woman taken prisoner along with Jessica Lynch.) [[http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2006/03/diagnosing-missing-white-woman.html This column]] at CNN.com has some thoughts on it, and in the years since this trope entry was first written many more writers have weighed in on the topic.

to:

The most likely ignored missing person is the DisposableSexWorker and/or the DisposableVagrant. Presumably the inspiration for the Trope is the WhiteKnighting mind-set. For more information, including a detailed breakdown of the coverage cycle and links to dozens of cases, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_white_woman_syndrome this article]] at Wikipedia. (Ever [[note]]Ever heard of Spc. Shoshana Johnson? No? She was a black woman taken prisoner along with attractive young white woman Pfc. Jessica Lynch.) Lynch, who became a media star.[[/note]] [[http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2006/03/diagnosing-missing-white-woman.html This column]] at CNN.com has some thoughts on it, and in the years since this trope entry was first written many more writers have weighed in on the topic.
16th Aug '15 5:02:09 PM ChaoticNovelist
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* The absence of this trope is probably what makes the {{Janie}} series (1990-2000) an UnintentionalPeriodPiece (among other things). [[spoiler: If Janie's kidnapping had happened now, no doubt there would have been a huge media sensation about the disappearance of a pretty white girl from the suburbs.]]

to:

* The absence of this trope is probably what makes the {{Janie}} series (1990-2000) an UnintentionalPeriodPiece (among other things). [[spoiler: If Janie's kidnapping had happened now, no doubt there would have been a huge media sensation about the disappearance of a pretty white girl from the suburbs.]]



* ''Literature/GoneGirl'' by Gillian Flynn follows the huge media coverage following the disappearance of Amy Dunne, an upper middle class blonde woman. However, there are other reasons for the coverage, such as Amy being a minor celebrity for inspiring a famous book series called ''Amazing Amy'' and Amy's husband, Nick, behaving very suspiciously during the investigation.
** Arguably, ''Film/GoneGirl'' is a {{Deconstruction}} of the trope: [[spoiler:Not only did Nick not kill Amy, but it turns out ''she'' was the real psychopath and went to extreme lengths -- including staging her disappearance and letting the media assume Nick's guilt -- just to get back at him for infidelity.]]

to:

* ''Literature/GoneGirl'' by Gillian Flynn follows the huge media coverage following the disappearance of Amy Dunne, an upper middle class blonde woman. However, there are other reasons for the coverage, such as Amy being a minor celebrity for inspiring a famous book series called ''Amazing Amy'' and Amy's husband, Nick, behaving very suspiciously during the investigation.
** Arguably, ''Film/GoneGirl'' is
investigation. It's a {{Deconstruction}} of the trope: InvokedTrope and a ExploitedTrope as well. [[spoiler:Not only did Nick not kill Amy, but it turns out ''she'' was the real psychopath and went to extreme lengths -- including staging her disappearance and letting the media assume Nick's guilt -- just to get back at him for infidelity.]]
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