lol your ugly

So there's this woman, Bernann McKinney, who was recently in the news for paying to have five puppies cloned from her dearly departed pet pit bull. Thing is, she is likely the same person as a woman known as Joyce McKinney, who is a fugitive alleged to have kidnapped and raped a man 31 years ago.

The AP is trying to unravel the whole story (and engaging in their usual disgraceful habit of euphemizing rape: "[I]investigators say he was repeatedly forced to have sex with McKinney before he was able to escape and notify police"), and reveal Joyce McKinney to be a deeply disturbed and dangerous woman who is not only an alleged kidnapper and rapist, but an alleged stalker and repeat criminal who seems to wreak havoc upon other people wherever she goes.

And guess what else? She's ugly.
James Stamey, the husband of the woman McKinney was charged with threatening, said McKinney left Newland about two years ago and no one had really seen or heard from her.

Until she showed up in the news about the cloned puppies.

"That's our Joy," Stamey said from his home in Newland.

Years ago, Stamey said, McKinney was a beautiful girl worthy of the Miss Wyoming USA crown.

"She's ugly as sin now," he said. "But, sure enough, that's her."
That's how the AP's story ends. Because what every sophisticated and intelligent news reader wants to know about any woman at the center of any news story is whether she's fuckable. Especially as assessed by a highly impartial source like the husband of a woman she once threatened. (If indeed the woman in the picture is even the same woman she is suspected of being.)

Stamey's quote is positioned so as to be justifiable by virtue of the fact that her identity is a central part of the story. But the same idea could be paraphrased—"Stamey said her appearance has changed over the years, but she is still recognizable enough that he is certain it's her"—which is something journalists do all the time, especially when sources do phrase things inappropriately. Here, though, the choice was made to spell out that McKinney used to be beautiful and is now "ugly as sin." It's meant to shame her—and considering she's an alleged rapist, it's pretty revealing about our cultural expectations of women that we're left with that note, that the journalistic choice here is to let it resonate that she is ugly, rather than dangerous.

It's a truly obnoxious flipside to the soft bigotry of low expectations. You know, not only do I not giving a flying shit if Stamey (or anyone else) thinks that McKinney is ugly, but I really suspect the man she (or the woman she is presumed to be) allegedly raped doesn't give a shit, either.

When feminists say things like, "The worst thing a woman can be is ugly," it sounds hyperbolic—until you read shit like this.

By the way, pictures of McKinney suggest that, as is frequently the case, what qualifies her as "ugly as sin" is merely being fat.

[Hat tip to Shaker Em.]

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