Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Foxy Knoxy or the female criminal

with 2 comments

Old Bailey

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively for murdering the British student Meredith Kercher on Friday. Note the order of those names there: Knox’s given first, and Sollecito’s second. But that’s just one little clue to the completely different treatment meted out to Sollecito and Knox by the print and broadcast media since the verdict was announced. All of the stories led with Knox’s conviction, with Sollecito mentioned almost as an afterthought. BBC Radio 4’s Today programme hardly mentioned Sollecito at all. All of the main images in the print media were of Knox.

In the print media, Knox is frequently referred to as ‘Foxy Knoxy’. No ‘Sexy Sollecito’, then? And the question is asked: “She-devil or all-American girl?”

Is it possible that Sollecito might be a “he-devil”? Apparently not.

“Foxy is guilty,” proclaimed the Mail online. But the media is guilty of condemning Knox twice over: once for her crime, and again for her gender.

Find out more about gender-neutral writing

And it’s not usually ladies first…



2 Responses

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  1. I could not agree more. In fact, I would go as far to say that the media is guilty of condemning Knox not twice, but thrice. Her crime, her gender and for being, well, pretty. Sollecito ticks the “pretty boy” box, too – yet, thanks to the media I could spot Knox at 100 paces but I wouldn’t know Sollecito if I tripped over him.

    Lizi B

    07/12/2009 at 5:44 pm

  2. Thanks for your perceptive comment, Lizi B. I totally agree with you.


    07/12/2009 at 5:52 pm

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