Houston Press Lists Ten Hottest Female Sex Offenders

If I were the Houston Press, and I were part of the Village Voice Media chain of newspapers currently under investigation for facilitating sex trafficking through their Backpage.com outlet, making jokes about how hot sex criminals are would not be the first place I’d go for humor.

But I’m not the Houston Press, so that’s probably why the paper’s running a list today called the “Top 10 Hottest Women On The Texas Sex Offenders List.” I’m not linking to it. You can Google it if you want. Or find it on Digg, where its “thumbs up” rating is on the rise.

However, we still need to talk about why this is so thoroughly terrible. List compiler Richard Connelly, who will no doubt be adding this piece to the tip-top of his portfolio, prefaces the list:

“We combed through 15 of the biggest counties in Texas and came up with the 10 hottest women in the database. Warning: In some cases, we picked out the best of a series of mugshots. Alternative choices were starkly different. So click on each link before you send any marriage proposals.”

You’re probably thinking the same thing I am: stay classy, Houston Press. But here are some things that I am also thinking:

  • Also listed along with these mugshots are the ages and genders of the women’s victims. No doubt that 4-year-old boy, that 2-year-old boy and that 13-year-old girl are taking solace even as we speak that at least they were abused, molested or assaulted by a hot person.
  • Whatever else we talk about, y’all, let’s make sure we address the important stuff first: how hot a woman is. This shall always take precedence over literally anything else she could ever do or say. Even if you’re a criminal, if you’re a woman, your worth is first measured by your sex appeal.
  • But haha just kidding, some of these women are really ugly in their other pictures! Just in case you thought it was possible to win this game.
  • It’s the fact that these women are ugly which is totally going to keep you from wanting to get with them, not the fact that they have been convicted of assaulting and molesting children. Ew ugly women! Gross!
  • Even if these women are ugly, which is the worst thing that can happen to a woman, the being ugly is, it’s okay to laugh because women doing the sex offending is hilarious, you guys! It’s just like dressing a man up in drag! Please, let’s do anything we can to place more shame on victims of sex offenders by emphasizing how weird and silly it is that women commit sex crimes.

To be fair, this kind of thing is not exactly out of character for Village Voice, which has already demonstrated its unwillingness to objectively engage with issues surrounding sex crimes, because hey, bad for business, y’all. So, why stop here? Maybe tomorrow they’ll run a 10 most handsome pedophiles list. After all, 44 percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 18, so the paper will have plenty to gleefully choose from.

UPDATE: Realizing that “a lot of people riled up,” the Houston Press explains its motivation for the list in their own comments section, thusly:

“I can understand how some people might react to this. On the other hand, it’s a way of getting readers to look at the info, maybe get them to realize there are people out there like this and they all don’t look like the obvious stereotypical pervert.”

I take this to mean that the Houston Press editors believe link-baiting lists about hot women is the best way to educate people about sex crimes. Obviously the thing that’s been missing from sex crimes coverage all these years is hot sex offenders–in fact, I think with the publishing of this list this morning, we can actually expect sex crimes to stop, because as one commenter on the Press noted, now all the child victims of sex offenders are going to realize that regular looking people might molest or assault them and thereby avoid being molested or assaulted!

Of course, one could argue that in fact this response is purely backpedaling from an incredulous newsroom that doesn’t want to acknowledge it has seriously fucked up.

One could also argue that, in fact, if the Houston Press was concerned about Texans not understanding that some sex offenders don’t look like the “obvious stereotypical pervert,” (whatever that means for a woman, since to my knowledge there is no widely accepted stereotypical image of a female sex offender in American culture), then the Houston Press could have dedicated its resources to producing an in-depth investigative feature telling the compelling story of an otherwise innocuous looking sex offender, a story that delved into facts about victims, prevention and statistics. That might be a really good way to “get them to realize there are people out there like this and they all don’t look like the obvious stereotypical pervert,” as opposed to, say, a link-baiting list that says some sex offenders are hot but don’t marry them because they’re also a little ugly.

Yes, I think one could argue these things.

UPDATE UPDATE: So, there’s a thing for things like this: Change.org, where there’s now a petition to demand an apology from the Houston Press. Sign away!

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Richard Connelly at the Houston Press apologized and tried to explain his reasoning tonight in a blog post. He writes, in part:

“Glamorizing or trivializing child rape? It did not cross my mind that I was doing that. It should have, it now seems clear.

That was never the intent. I hope that would be obvious, but it seems not.

No one ever likes apologies to “anyone who was offended” because they seem half-hearted. I can only say the intention was to shock (in what I hoped would be a positive way) and not to offend. To a lot of people, I failed miserably. I can understand that, and I apologize to them.”

To be honest, I do think this is a little half-assed. It has the ring of “If you guys just had a better sense of humor, like mine, you’d have understood the joke from the beginning.” But I’ll take it, because you know, little victories. So thanks to everyone who passed along this blog entry, and especially to those of you who signed the Change.org petition. You’re all balling ballers.

About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
This entry was posted in houston, legal issues, media, news, rape culture, sex industry, sexual assault, we can't even.. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Houston Press Lists Ten Hottest Female Sex Offenders

  1. sarah says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  2. Kristen says:

    What the F*&^???

  3. Grat post, Andrea. It’s amazing the things male journalists and male-dominated papers can get away with. Thanks for bringing awareness to this article.

  4. 2.3. THE FEMALE FIGURE AS A SEXUAL OFFENDER

    Standards of acceptable behaviour have been created by a patriarchal society on the basis of masculine behaviour and thus it is difficult to categorise female offenders accordingly. As such, patriarchal discourses and structures inadvertently protect female sexual offenders by not allowing them to exist within academic, scientific and public space. More importantly, when they are allowed to exist, female sexual perpetrators are often represented in a pornographic light so that they become sexualised and in this way they are maintained as the object of the male‟s gaze and their perpetrations are thus made harmless (Bourke, 2007). As Higgs et al. (1992) maintain, society is more able to accept a woman who acts out her sexual aggression through promiscuity than one who does so through assault or abuse. This has obvious implications for the male victim who, like the female perpetrator, is made invisible despite the fact that the consequences of sexual assault transcend gendered roles.

    http://female-offenders.com/Safehouse/2011/03/south-african-female-sex-offenders.html

  5. Tomas says:

    The Houston press sold it’s soul a long time ago, since then it’s been a dumpster fire. Thank god the Internet has made not only tradional papers ilrelevant but alternative papers aswell.

  6. Dan Solomon says:

    The in-depth investigative feature would have been great, for sure, but I’d have settled for introducing that point anywhere in the original version of the post. I mean, if your point is, “Hey, sometimes sex offenders look like people you might smile at at the grocery store,” then why not just say it? So disingenuous.

  7. LARA says:

    WOW, SUGGESTING A 3 YEAR OLD WOULD BE GRATEFUL TO BE MOLESTED BECAUSE THE WOMAN WAS ATTRACTIVE IS SO UNBELIEVABLY DISGUSTING. I AM AMAZED YOU’RE A LEGITIMATE JOURNALIST. JUST SICK.

  8. Cat says:

    That’s sarcasm, dear.

  9. Pingback: Houston Press Lists Ten “Hottest” Sex Offenders : Ms Magazine Blog

  10. susan schraer says:

    as a victim of sexual abuse from the age of 5 to 11 i am uterly disgusted at the insensitve, ignorant article. you obviously have no clue of what you speak off and maybe you should sit in a session with a survivor of child abuse before opening your f…. mouth.

  11. Masters in Social Work says:

    But you yourself have been part of the Village Voice Media, using satire to get your point across…and now, you’re an enlightened advocate representing the entire female gender?

    Irony aside, I say use whatever it takes to get the word out that appearances/gender don’t mean anything when it comes to someone’s emotional stability/trustworthiness with one’s children. Vet those people who come into contact with your child! (Speaking as someone who has worked with many children who were sexually abused.) While I am a feminist, just because someone brushes their teeth and has ladyparts does not mean they are qualified to be around your offspring.

    • I am not sure where I sold myself as a representing the entirety of the female gender, in this post or in any other, but yes, I do consider myself as at least trying to be an enlightened advocate for women’s issues, feminist issues, and human rights, and that includes media criticism. I don’t think my former affiliation with a media company that employs hundreds of journalists, 99.9% of whom I never met or spoke to (including this writer at the Houston Press), has much, if anything, to do with it. In fact, if I’d decided not to write anything about the Houston Press’ list because I was, once upon a time, a VVM employee, I’d consider that pretty egregious. I also wouldn’t describe the sexy sex offender list as “satire,” since it was pretty clearly originally constructed as ill-conceived linkbait, and construed as social commentary only after many people, not just me, called them out on it.

      That said, your second paragraph is spot on. It’s pretty clear, any way you look at it, that sexual criminals don’t “look” like any one thing at all. The fact that that’s been many people’s take-away from the whole list kerfluffle is the most encouraging thing of all.

  12. Masters in Social Work says:

    “In fact, if I’d decided not to write anything about the Houston Press’ list because I was, once upon a time, a VVM employee, I’d consider that pretty egregious.” –Point well taken.

    Gender issues are deeply embedded in everything (it seems to me). You have your work cut out for you — we all do. It’s so tragic for everyone to wrestle over a woman’s choice to bear a child, then totally leave her on her own to raise it. (I remember the Routh St. Women’s Clinic bombing; soon after, middle-aged white men lined up with black baby carriages — each had a tape recorder of a baby crying — to protest the clinic’s abortion policy!)

    With a lack of societal support for children and proper child care, no wonder so many uninformed/uneducated women (of any age) lean on people who may be inappropriate for or even criminal towards their children. It’s good to point out that women can be perpetrators too; keep in mind the majority have been abused themselves at some point. I dream of a day when we can break the cycle of ANY type of child abuse (except teenagers often merit a little verbal abuse now and again. Kidding about the last part! Or am I?)

  13. We do not know the circumstances that prompted this unacceptable behavior. Were these individuals temporarily intoxicated when they made poor decisions? How long ago did their incidents occur? Have they been model citizens since their offensive behavior? Were they given risk assessments to determine if they would repeat this behavior? The purpose of the list should be to warn about dangerous persons, not to shame, scandalize or to needlessly push the public panic button.

  14. michael belban says:

    You can make some of the people happy some of the time.But you can not make all of the people happy all of the time.

  15. Pingback: The Banality of Evil | PEI Curmudgeon's Blog

  16. Pingback: Texas’ most ‘wanted’ female sex offenders « Media Misses

  17. Pingback: Why The Hot Female Sex Offenders Reinforces, Not Challenges, Stereotypes | HAY LADIES!

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