Reactionary Snob discusses the global media reaction to the Shannon Matthews disappearance, compared to that of Madeleine McCann. Apparently, the general consensus is that because Britain is so terribly terribly class-bound, we’re ignoring the Shannon story because she’s well chavvy like.
It’s not a surprising narrative. Other countries with equally or more rigid class structures (yes, the USA, this means you) like to pretend that ours is uniquely awful, as if “spending a few weeks learning to moderate your accent” were harder than “being born extremely rich”. And we like beating ourselves up over it too – hence fatuous nonsense like White Week, pretending that white British people are anything other than some of the most privileged people on earth and justifying BNP fuckwittery.
But the Shannon versus Maddy coverage has got sod all to do with any of that. The Snob has some thoughts on why – media fatigue, the McCann’s PR drive – but misses the most important one. Look at these pictures:
What’s the incredibly obvious point? Well, Shannon is/was very ugly, whereas Maddy is/was very pretty. In a society where everyone’s judged on looks, women are judged particularly on looks, children are judged particularly on looks, and young girls are judged on looks more than anyone else, that’s a far more potent and plausible explanatory factor than any class-based analysis…