The Innocence of Amanda Knox

I wanted to write this blog entry partly in response to Gideon’s guest blog about Hillary Clinton and partly to bring up a new subject, so decided to write my own guest blog entry.  First, in response to Gideon’s entry:

Women in politics have to walk such a thin line between being taken seriously and being construed as an overcompensating bitch.  If Hillary were to act more womanly by societal standards, she would be viewed as a weak and vulnerable politician.  However, when she or any other woman in politics “lays down the law” so to speak, the media and other politicians jump all over her labeling her as a stone-cold bitch.  So what’s a girl to do??  I think that it is this exact reason why, like you brought up Gideon, it is hard to tell Hillary Clinton’s stance on feminism.

This brings me to the second part of my entry: Speaking of Hillary, I just read about her newly developed involvement in the Amanda Knox case.

Just as a brief summary, Amanda Knox is a 22-year old American college student who is accused of killing her flatmate Meredith Kercher, a 21-year old British student, while the two were both studying in Perugia, Italy.  The murder is alleged to have occurred during a sex game between Knox and her Italian boyfriend, (and the victim is believed to have been attacked for her lack of desire to participate).  Kercher was found 2 days after the murder in her bedroom stripped partly naked, with her windpipe crushed and her throat slashed.  The case is laced with concerns of anti-Americanism, but I think that it is only one aspect of this debate.

Crimes involving Americans on foreign soil happen every day, but why is this case so heavily publicized??  I strongly believe that the fact that Amanda is a young woman adds greatly to the case’s media portrayal.  If the suspect were a 40-year-old American male, you’d better believe that there would be much less public concern.  Knox, at the beginning of the case, was so heavily assumed to be innocent, I think it came as such an extreme shock when there was evidence found pointing toward her involvement in the murder that people automatically began looking for loopholes in the case.  I am not trying to speculate about her innocence, but I do think that the case is being handled differently because of Knox’s gender.

Anyway, the reason I went off on that tangent is because I think that Clinton is choosing to now involve herself in the case as her form of being involved with “women’s issues”, even though this case is considered important just because of the fact that a woman allegedly was involved with the murder of another woman.  The Italian judicial system is being called unjust and anti-American for keeping this young woman in an Italian prison when there is “not enough” (according to American officials) evidence to place Knox as the killer.  (As if Knox’s DNA on the handle of the knife isn’t “enough”?!?)  I title this response “The Innocence of Amanda Knox” because of the phrase’s multiple meanings to the case: her literal innocence in relation to whether or not she committed the murder, and her perceived innocence as a woman.  Women are much less often believed to be capable of this type of violence, and this fact I think is the largest contributing factor to the case’s presence in the public eye.

Is Amanda Knox innocent? This is a difficult case no matter what country you’re in…and I think that the US is framing the Italian imprisonment of Amanda Knox as an anti-American bias because the story fits so well into the mold of “look at those tyrants holding that poor little girl captive”!  Knox has been reported to often cry for hours on end in her cell…further reinforcing her vulnerability, and highlighting the fact that she is a woman experiencing the emotional trauma of being in prison.  The fact that she is so distraught means nothing in view of her guilt or innocence…the experience must be awful regardless.  However, what if she DID do it…?  American authorities think they could perform this investigation better and provide a more unbiased judgment of the case.  In my opinion, aren’t we already biased in this case because of Knox’s socially-constructed female innocence?