Chagnon: Heinous Crime or Acceptable Violence? The Disparate Framing of Femicides in Hawai'i

Heinous Crime or Acceptable Violence? The Disparate Framing of Femicides in Hawai'i

Nicolas Chagnon


Violence against women is a pervasive social problem, yet it is under-reported in the press. Scholars have long critiqued media for flawed coverage of this crime. Yet, few studies have specifically examined femicides using an intersectional framework. This study does that, examining femicide coverage in Hawaii's two major dailies-The Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin-between 2000 and 2008. Findings indicate that Hawaii's newspapers frame femicides disparately-as an unacceptable social problem, or as routine, acceptable violence. This disparate framing is accomplished through the clustering of patriarchal, racialized, and class-based discourses. Considering Hawaii's distinct racial/ethnic diversity, racialized discourses in this sample were particularly thought provoking, employing insidious and nuanced racialized markers to 'other' various groups. Findings regarding these racialized discourses may be generalizable to analyses of 'post-racial' discourse on an increasingly diverse mainland.


Femicides are one of the most troubling, and common, forms of homicide in Hawaii. Yet, Hawaii's press largely fails to communicate this significance. They sometimes cover femicides defensibly, problematizing this crime and humanizing victims. Unfortunately, such coverage is exceptional. In this article, I discuss how coverage tends to employ two disparate frames for femicides-one, the 'social problem' frame, cultivates sympathy for the victim, gives some context, and problematizes domestic violence. The other (and more common), the 'acceptable violence' frame, does the near opposite, reporting in a routinized, simplistic manner. These frames are built upon clustered and intersecting patriarchal, racialized, and class-based discourses. Thus, they provide the illusion of problematizing domestic violence but actually work to perpetuate existing hierarchies built upon class, race, and gender divisions.

For decades, scholars have pointed out that media representations of crime exaggerate crimes committed by the poor and marginalized, and often minimalize the crimes of the wealthy and white (Chiricos and Eschholz 2002; Gilliam and Iyengar 2000; Grover and Soothill 1996; Hall et al. 1978; Herman and Chomsky 2002; Mason 2006; McMullan 2006). Feminist scholars have added to this discussion, pointing out that news on violence against women (VAW) is particularly troubling because it conceals the pervasiveness and patriarchal roots of this violence (Benedict 1993; Dragiewicz 2011; Meyers 1994; Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011). Furthermore, some scholars point out that crime news functions as hegemonic ideology, which not only obscures the character of crime, but also reinforces existing power structures and fundamental inequalities (Hall et al. 1978; Herman and Chomsky 2002; Jewkes 2010; Meyers 1994).

Feminist scholars have produced copious research on VAW in the media. However, there is less research which specifically focuses on femicides; enlists both qualitative and quantitative analyses; and examines intersectional discourses (Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011). In this article I discuss findings from a mixed qualitative and quantitative analysis of femicide articles in Hawaii's two major dailies-the Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin, between 2000-2008. In the following sections I review the existing literature on crime and VAW in the media, discuss Hawaii as a distinct context for such a study (especially in regards to race), provide a methodological overview, outline key story components, discuss how these themes cluster to form the social problem and acceptable violence frames, and conclude by briefly summarizing my argument and discussing its theoretical relevance.

Literature Review

Patriarchal Media

Critics have long pointed out that media representations of crime are unrealistic, giving the public a distorted impression of crime in Western society (Best 1990; Hall et al. 1978; Mason 2006; Sacco 1995; Surette 2007). Feminist scholars have echoed such concerns, pointing out flaws in press coverage of VAW in particular (Benedict 1993, 1993; Bullock and Cubert 2002; Dragiewicz 2011; Kozol 1995; Meyers 1994; Schwartz and DeKeseredy 1993; Stanko 2000; Taylor 2009; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Such flawed coverage hides the pervasiveness and patterns of VAW, under-problematizing it. Thus, since VAW is a pillar of patriarchy, whether intentionally or not, media support and reproduce patriarchal arrangements (Dragiewicz 2011; Meyers 1994; Ogle and Batton 2009; Walby 1989; Websdale and Alvarez 1998).

Prior to the 1970s, media ignored domestic violence, treating it as a private matter (Kozol 1995). Today, they have moved beyond such ignorance, reporting on it. However, news reports continue to cover VAW in a partial and decontextualized manner. Howe (1997) contends the media repeatedly 'rediscover' VAW, treating is as a novel, rather than a historically persistent, phenomenon. Press reports often ignore the prevalence of rape and domestic violence, failing to contextualize these acts as a serious social problem (Benedict 1993; Meyers 1994; Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011). This is manifest in at least two clear patterns. First, the occurrence of this violence throughout various strata of society is rarely acknowledged; instead press reports present VAW as if it is located largely in a marginalized underclass (Grover and Soothill 1996; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Second, the press often ignores patterns of escalation in wife and partner abuse (Bullock and Cubert 2002; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Such abuse is generally covered only when it is fatal (or nearly so); such fatalities are presented as stand-alone incidents, rather than the crescendo of escalating violence.

Media coverage often blames raped and battered women for their own victimhood, while excusing some men for their crimes (Benedict 1993; Bullock and Cubert 2002; Meyers 1994; Taylor 2009; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Victim-blaming themes include questioning the victim's choice of clothing; supposedly flirtatious behavior and/or sexual history; or emphasizing a victim's reluctance to leave an abuser, among other themes (Benedict 1993; Taylor 2009). As Benedict (1993) points out, one might say the media construct a dichotomy among sex victims, between virgins and vamps-chaste, innocent victims who accord with hegemonic assumptions about female behavior and identity; and lascivious and/or rebellious women who deserve what they get. More generally, some scholars have pointed out that media representations construct worthy and unworthy female victims (Chancer 1994; Meyers 1994; Schwartz and DeKeseredy 1993). This worthiness is both determined by the victim's identity and behavior and that of her attacker. Powerful and privileged men's status generally mitigates their culpability in media coverage (Benedict 1993; Meyers 1994). News often frames VAW committed by powerful men as the result of factors beyond offenders' control, such as mental illness or substance abuse (Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011; Taylor 2009; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Post-murder suicides (or attempts) by offenders also often lead to offender-sympathetic coverage. These murder-suicides are often framed by reports as mutual tragedies, rather than acts of domestic violence (Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Taylor (2009) conceptualizes victim maligning and sympathy for offenders as direct and indirect blaming, respectively. Direct blaming impugns the victim. Indirect blaming essentially sympathizes with the offender, deflecting attention from the victim's suffering.

Even the press' reporting techniques limit recognition and understanding of VAW. For example, terms like 'domestic violence' or 'partner violence' conceal the fact that this is overwhelmingly abuse of women by men (Dragiewicz 2011; Meyers 1994; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Furthermore, the common use of passive voice can limit press construction of violence. For example, Henley, Miller, and Beazley (1995) found that media reports of VAW often use passive voice, which causes readers to ascribe less harm to these crimes. Additionally, reporters often focus on minute details of cases, such as gun calibres or wound descriptions, which tell the reader very little about VAW as a social problem (Bullock and Cubert 2002; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Websdale and Alvarez (1998) call this 'forensic reporting,' while Bullock and Cubert (2002) call it the 'police frame.' Ultimately, this mode of reporting focuses readers' attention on the details of specific cases, while obscuring thematic patterns of VAW.

In sum, many scholars argue, the above-mentioned patterns of coverage amount to support for and reproduction of patriarchy on the part of media (Dragiewicz 2011; Meyers 1994; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). By ignoring and/or limiting public understanding of a pillar of patriarchy (VAW), the media ensure that this social problem will be under-addressed and patriarchal conditions will persist (Walby 1989).

Intersectional Analyses

Feminist analyses of VAW often use an intersectional analytic perspective, which looks at systems of race, class, and gender simultaneously (Benedict 1993; Chancer 1994; Meyers 1994). Such an analysis allows for a better understanding of the interrelations among multiple stratifying social systems (Burgess-Proctor 2006). For example, Meyers' (1994) case study of one murder-suicide shows how coverage used the race and class of both the victim and killer, in concert with victim blaming, to minimalize the offender's culpability and imply victim culpability. In a similar study, analyzing two infamous cases-the Central Park jogger and New Bedford bar gang rapes-Chancer (1994) documents the disparate coverage granted to an upper-class white and a lower-class Portuguese victim. The former was celebrated as a martyr, while the latter was demonized as a seductress. Furthermore, coverage villified the attackers of the white victim, while excusing those of the other.

An intersectional perspective shows that media reports not only treat victims differentially, but also the men who attack them. Specifically, some scholars have pointed out that news reports frame non-white and/or lower class men's violent acts against women in a manner holding them more accountable, than white, rich men (Grover and Soothill 1996; Kozol 1995; McDonald 1999). In fact, Grover and Soothill (1996) claim that media representations frame sex crimes as largely perpetrated by a 'murderous underclass' of marginalized men.

Essentially, these scholars have shown that media coverage of VAW is not monolithically encoded with patriarchal messages. Instead, multifarious discourses, contingent upon racialized and class-based themes, produce textured frames of VAW. This coverage is basically more sympathetic to white/and or economically privileged victims and offenders, while portraying non-whites and/or the lower class in a stigmatizing manner.

Intersectional Hegemony

This intersectional perspective, Meyers (1994) argues, can be used to refine hegemony theories. Classical studies in hegemony are founded on class-based analysis (see Hall et al. 1978). As originally articulated by Gramsci (1971), cultural hegemony is the process by which the capitalist class secures the voluntary consent of other classes, by constructing, and imposing upon the people, a cultural ideology that naturalizes the capitalist class structure and economic modality. However, ideologies which work to reproduce existing structures do not only apply to class (Meyers 1994). Patriarchy and racial stratification are also built and maintained through the help of supporting ideologies (Ogle and Batton 2009).

Furthermore, hegemonic ideology (like hegemonic structure) is flexible, capable of absorbing and/or coopting challenging discourses (Gitlin 2003; Hall et al. 1978). Hegemonic ideologies are not static, yet evolve to give the impression of a progressive, egalitarian society. Beyond this, while hegemony may be global, it also has localized iterations (Connell and Messerschmidt 2005). Thus, a theory of hegemony, which accounts for multiple systems of oppression, historical changes to the hegemonic order, and localized varieties, is likely a clearer lens for making sense of reality. One might call such a theory 'intersectional hegemony.' This paper operates from the assumption that femicide coverage in Hawaii constitutes localized, intersectional hegemonic ideology, the implications of which will be discussed in the conclusion.

The Present Study


Femicides are particularly problematic in Hawaii. Though, Hawaii has a relatively low violent crime rate, 1 a large proportion of this crime occurs within intimate partnerships (Silent Witness 2006). Hawaii crime statistics demonstrate this significance. There were 268 homicides in the state during the sampling time frame (2000-2008), with 81 female homicide victims and 88 homicides in which victims and offenders were intimate partners or nuclear family members (U.S. Department of Justice 2010). Forty-eight of these were femicides, making up about 59% of female homicides, and nearly 18% of total homicides in the state (Kline 2010).

Perhaps more important (at least theoretically) than its crime patterns, is Hawaii's diversity. The state's racial and ethnic makeup is far different from most mainland locations (Okamura 2008; Rohrer 2008; Sorensen, Wood, and Prince 2003). Whites are not the racial majority. In fact, Asians comprise the largest racial group in Hawaii, making up 38.8 % of the population. Whites make up 30.2 % of the population; Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders make up 9.2 %; Hispanic and Latinos 9.0 %; and blacks, 3.2 % (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). A significant portion (18.0 %) of the population identifies as multi-racial. Furthermore, significant portions of the state's population identify with dozens of different ethnicities or nationalities (Sorenson, Wood & Prince 2003).

This distinct diversity is theoretically useful for understanding the fluidity of racial construction. Racial and ethnic distinctions in Hawaii are not necessarily made through a white/non-white binary (Okamura 2008). Furthermore, at least partially because Hawaii is comprised of significant proportions of various Asian groups (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, etc.), markers such as nationality, immigration status, and immigration cohort play more integral roles in the construction of racial and ethnic hierarchies than they might on the mainland. For example, many residents employ a pan-ethnic identity, the 'local' identity, in a manner that overshadows their racial/ethnic heritage (Okamura 1992). While this identity is not an ethnicity per se, it entails some of the markers of ethnicity (e.g. common rituals, foods, etc.), adding complexity to the construction of ethnic hierarchies in Hawaii.

Popular discourses often characterize Hawaii as a racial utopia (Rohrer 2008). However, these discourses mask insidious, yet powerful tensions between whites and non-whites. For example, demographic statistics elide the fact that though they are not a numeric majority, whites still hold most of the political and economic capital in Hawaii. More generally, the ubiquity of racial-utopia discourses creates a social atmosphere in which many residents (and journalists) downplay actual racial/ethnic inequality, while emphasizing a (at least somewhat) fictitious harmony (Okamura 2008; Rohrer 2008). Hawaii's diversity and the discourses regarding it make the state a ripe case for illuminating alternate constructions of racial/ethnic hierarchies.


The data for this study come from newspaper articles published in Hawaii's two major dailies, The Honolulu Advertiser and The Star-Bulletin. Before the papers merged in 2010, the Advertiser's circulation was approximately 209,000 and the Star-Bulletin's was approximately 64,000. I specifically chose to use local, rather than national media, because national media tend to only report on the most uncommon and/or gruesome femicides (Ryan, Anastario, and DaCunha 2006).

Specifically, I examined stories on cases occurring from 2000-20082, which were published during that period. This time period is slightly longer than the period examined by previous femicide studies (Bullock and Cubert 2002; Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011; Taylor 2009; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). To find articles, I used an approach similar to that of Richards, Gillespie, and Smith (2011), searching the Hawaii Newspaper Indexes database for the names of each victim and offender involved in the 48 femicides during the sampling timeframe (Kline 2010). This search yielded a list of 650 potentially appropriate articles, which, because of limitations with the newspaper index, is likely as close as possible to what Lundman (2003) calls the 'universe of coverage.' This list is several times larger than the samples of many earlier studies (Bullock and Cubert 2002; Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011; Taylor 2009; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). To make the sample more manageable I used a random number generator to select 150 articles from the 650-item sampling frame. Twenty-eight articles were ultimately deemed inappropriate. Most of these articles were written too early in the investigation of the crime for the reporter to identify the identity of the offender, or the victim-offender relationship. Thus, I analyzed a total of 122 articles, averaging 391.9 words. Because, there were more articles in the sample than there were femicides occurring during the sampling time frame, some, but not all, cases are featured in more than one article in the sample.


Using the Microsoft Access 2007 database software, I performed all analysis myself, with each article serving as the unit of analysis. To do this, I used a 58-item content analysis scheme that included both quantitative and qualitative measures. This coding scheme was initially derived from key themes from previous research. For example, Taylor's (2009) study informed my measures of victim blaming and Websdale and Alvarez' (1998) study informed my investigation of forensic reporting. A sample coding scheme, including the variables specifically related to the research discussed here, is provided in Appendix 1.

I analyzed these data using an iterative procedure akin to a constant comparative method (Charmaz 2006; Glaser and Strauss 1967). I performed several waves of coding on each article, refining codes and recoding for emergent themes. Several key variables emerged, expanding the scheme from 47 items initially, to 58. For example, the role of temporary restraining orders (TROs) was emphasized in many articles. I had not anticipated this being a salient theme at the outset, but added a variable to cover this, and recoded dozens of articles.

I also used some basic quantitative measures to analyze my data. Instead of inferential statistics, I used frequencies and percentages to confirm my conclusions arising from qualitative analyses. In the following sections of this paper I use these numbers to illustrate the quantitative substance of my qualitative findings.


Simplifying and Decontextualizing Story Components

I this section, I will first discuss key story components, the presence or absence of which works to problematize femicides or obfuscate them. Following previous research, I argue these components simplify and decontextualize femicides, masking their status as patriarchal products (Meyers 1994; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Because of this, coverage provides support for, rather than a challenge to, the patriarchal status quo. Thus, they constitute patriarchal discourse. After discussing story components as patriarchal discourse, I will discuss how these components coincide with representations of class and racializing discourses constructing disparate femicides frames-the social problem and acceptable violence frames-which work to not only support patriarchy, but also simultaneously perpetuate hierarchies based on class and race.

As other researchers have argued, the first step in meaningful femicide coverage is identifying the crime as domestic violence (Gillespie et al. 2013). In this sample, less than a third of articles (30.3%) characterize femicides as domestic violence. Many articles merely alluded to this, referring euphemistically to 'marital troubles' or 'domestic disputes,' sometimes implying mutual combat. Furthermore, very few tied specific acts of domestic violence to other similar acts. Only about 10% of articles made any linkages between multiple incidents. Additionally, echoing results from previous studies, official sources were overwhelmingly favored over others in this sample (Bullock and Cubert 2002; Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). Nearly all articles (97.5%) cited official sources (police or prosecutors). Previous studies have argued that stories citing officials often fail to characterize an incident as domestic violence because police are sometimes unaware of previous abuse and/or focus on the details of cases rather than the broader context (Gillespie et al. 2013; Taylor 2009). On the other hand, family members and domestic violence experts are better equipped than officials to identify femicides as domestic violence because of, respectively, their familiarity with the victim's relationship with the offender or this genre of crime. A minority of articles employed these sources-36.9 % of stories used family members or friends while advocates or experts were cited in only 7.3 % of articles.

Instead of identifying the crimes as domestic violence, articles often engaged in forensic reporting (Websdale and Alvarez 1998). About half of the sample (47.5%) featured forensic reporting. These stories focused on the minutiae of incidents, such as makes of vehicles, exact timelines, body positions, weapon descriptions, etc. For example, one report read, "[the victim] was stabbed 16 times in the bedroom of a house the couple shared on Kahaha Street in Kalihi. She was stabbed in the heart and lungs, the thighs and on her face and arms, and had defensive wounds on her hands." Forensic details often made up the totality of articles. Such stories largely mystified, rather than problematized, femicides.

Forensic reporting often accompanied the use of ambiguous headlines that concealed the nature of the crime (Henley, Miller, & Beazley 1995). For example, one article, documenting a murder-suicide read, "Dead couple identified." This title obscures the fact that a man killed his wife; one might believe this was an accident from the title. Another headline read, "Suspect arrested in stabbing death of South Kona woman." This headline acknowledges the murder, but not the victim-offender relationship. Clearly, headlines are not the totality of content, but they set the tone for the article. Beyond this, they suggest reporters are reluctant to emphasize domestic violence. Use of these misleading headlines was pervasive, occurring in 71.3% of the articles.

The above-mentioned themes obscure femicides-as-domestic violence through omission of contextualizing material. Media coverage may also obscure these crimes by shifting blame from offender to victim (Taylor 2009). Victim blaming was not as common as the preceding themes, but was present. Like previous studies, my analysis revealed significant victim-blaming, both direct and indirect, occurring in 18.8% of articles (Benedict 1993; Bullock and Cubert 2002; Meyers 1994; Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011; Taylor 2009). Various victim-blaming discourses were present in these data, including discussing infidelity on the part of the victim, abusive behavior by the victim, the victim's use of drugs and/or alcohol, and failure by the victim to use the legal system to protect herself. For example, one article detailed how a woman was killed after rescinding a temporary restraining order. It read, "[the victim] filed for a temporary restraining order a few days later that would have prohibited him from coming near her or the children, but she withdrew the request at a Family Court hearing the following month." The implication here is that the victim would not have been killed if she had allowed the police to protect her. Another article unnecessarily discussed how a woman was killed while on an alcohol-fueled binge. It stated, "While in Kona, [the victim] was 'messed up ' partying…" continuing, "Deciding to go to Hilo for more partying, she arranged on Sunday night to go to a scenic point with friends where she would be picked up…" This account, while not exculpating the offender, makes the victim seem morally questionable, and thus, less deserving of sympathy.

While some articles focused on the victims' faults and foibles, some other articles, employed indirect victim blaming, focusing on mitigating characteristics of offenders (Taylor 2009). The two main ways coverage indirectly blamed victims in this sample were characterizing the crime as sudden and inexplicable or by discussing how the offender suffered from intense stress (e.g. financial issues) or psychological illness. For example, one article read, "'I don't know what set the husband off,' [a neighbor] said. 'He seemed so cordial, always saying, 'Hi'. I guess sometimes things get so hard you don't know how to deal with it.'" This discourse at least partially exculpates the offender, ascribing the crime to extraordinary and inexplicable conditions. On the other hand, many articles excused the offender by citing mental illness, a bitter custody battle, or extreme financial strain, a finding which mirrors previous research (Gillespie et al. 2013; Taylor 2009). For example, one article avoided characterizing the crime as domestic violence, instead ascribing his crime to mental illness, stating, "Psychiatrist Edward Furukawa, one of three court-appointed mental health experts, found that Lam was under a delusion that the devil was in his wife when he struck her." Surely some perpetrators do suffer severe mental illness, and some femicides may be unexpected to neighbors and even family. Yet, focusing on such elements constructs these crimes as largely unpreventable or aberrant incidents, rather than domestic violence. Thus, since these incidents are not part of a broad social problem, they are framed as unfortunate but ultimately unpreventable.

Sympathy-Building Components

Though many blamed victims, some articles built sympathy for victims, for example by discussing children left motherless, family grief, the potential of the victim's life, and/or temporary restraining orders (TROs). This sympathy building was foundational construction material for the social problem frame.

Fourteen stories were commendable in that they provided sympathetic accounts of victims' lives. I call such accounts sympathy narratives. These stories discussed histories of abuse, stories of survival, obstacles faced by battered women, and victim achievements. For example, one article read,

[The victim], 26, fell into an abusive relationship compounded by 'ice,' or crystal methamphetamine, after she met [the offender]… [the victim] overcame her own habit just a few months ago without professional help, Ryan said….

'She had family,' Ryan said. 'She hit rock bottom, then totally changed her life around….'

[the victim] kept a hand written list of her goals in her wallet, often showing it to friends and family. She wanted to save money, take care of her baby and 8-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, and maybe buy a business one day."

By associating her drug abuse with her attacker and lauding her accomplishments and goals, this article constructs a redemptive, sympathetic victim. This coverage is clearly superior to that which blames the victim or fails to problematize domestic violence.

Another way articles built sympathy for victims was through discussion of TROs, a fact noted by Bullock and Cubert's (2002) study. About 15.5 % of articles (N=19) discussed TROs, often prominently. These articles often identified the crime as domestic violence, and used less forensic reporting. More broadly, they were sympathetic to victims, humanizing them and vilifying offenders by recounting a history of abuse and/or detailing the viciousness of abuse. For example, one article read,

[The victim] filed for a temporary restraining order on March 10, alleging [the offender] repeatedly abused and threatened her.

According to the court filing, [the victim] said [the offender] "refuses to accept the fact that our relationship is over" and that at one point he allegedly told her, "If I ever see you with another man, I will kill you with a sashimi knife."

[The victim] said that [the offender] kicked, bit and raped her in January. In February, she said he punched and slapped her and stepped on her in an attempt to "crush my head with his foot."

This passage illuminates abuse by illustrating that femicides are often not spontaneous, but are part of a pattern of escalating violence. Furthermore, it humanizes the victim through her own words. This clearly diverts from forensic coverage that merely regurgitates mundane details such as victim/offender names, crime location, etc.

Sympathy narratives are surely superior to simplistic or victim-blaming coverage. However, they are not entirely unproblematic. Sympathy narratives are often contingent on particular forms of victim agency, for example, attempting to leave an abuser. This might encourage blaming victims who are unable to attempt leaving an abuser. Additionally, emphasizing TROs without discussing structural/cultural solutions implies that the criminal justice system is the only appropriate solution to domestic violence. Furthermore, articles tended to imply TROs were highly effective, portraying these femicides as the rare exceptions when TROs were not effective. Yet, research has shown that TROs are often ineffective in cases of severe abuse (Grau, Fagan, and Wexler 1984; Harrell and Smith 1996). Finally, one might argue that the emphasis on individual agency implicit in sympathy narratives is a masculinist standard that perpetuates patriarchy.

Essentially, these discourses conceal the role of patriarchy by suggesting that the state has already provided for women the tools with which to combat DV and that the responsibility of accessing these tools is ultimately up to victims. Still, coverage including sympathy narratives and TRO discussions was more contextualized and sympathetic than coverage employing the acceptable violence frame.

The preceding discussion of these eight story components-characterization as DV, official source use, alternative (family/friends or advocate/experts) source use, forensic reporting, ambiguous headlines, victim-blaming, sympathy narratives, and TRO discussions-illuminates the foundations of the divergent femicide framing in Hawaii news. Table 1 provides the frequencies of these components in the sample. Some of these components, such as forensic reporting, help to create a rather decontextualized, non-problematizing representation of femicides. I call this the acceptable violence frame. However, some components, such as identification of the crime as domestic violence, create an alternate representation of femicides that was far more sympathetic to victims-the social problem frame. As mentioned earlier, these themes constitute patriarchal discourse in that they selectively portray domestic violence, inhibiting public appreciation for this crime as a social problem and patriarchal product (Dragiewicz 2011; Howe 1997; Kozol 1995; Meyers 1994; Walby 1989; Websdale and Alvarez 1998). However, these two frames and their wider ideological role are more apparent when examined in a manner accounting for class-based and racializing discourses. The next section will discuss how class and race contribute to the disparate framing of femicides in Hawaii.

Table 1- Key Story Components


Frequency (%)

DV characterization

37 (30.3)

Official sources

119 (97.5)

Alternative sources

54 (44.3)

Forensic reporting

58 (47.5)

Ambiguous headline

87 (71.3)

Victim blaming

23 (18.9)

Sympathy narrative

14 (11.5)

TRO discussion

19 (15.6)

Representations of class

Signifiers of class3 were integral to frame construction in this sample. Specifically, lower class signifiers for victims and upper class signifiers for offenders tended to coincide with patriarchal discourse, while the obverse victim/offender permutations tended to co-occur with contextualization and sympathy narratives. This coincidence of class-based and patriarchal discourses further illuminates the disparate nature of the social problem and acceptable violence frames.

Table 2 compares the frequency of key story components' occurrence in lower class victim stories and that of middle or upper class victim stories. This sample contained 20 articles reporting on notably lower class victims and 49 featuring middle or upper class victims. Simplifying or decontextualizing story components were more common in lower class victim articles while contextualizing or sympathizing components were less common. These articles had a markedly higher occurrence of forensic reporting and victim blaming. Moreover, they had noticeably lower frequencies of DV characterization, alternative sources, and sympathy narratives. On the other hand, both categories of stories employed official sourcing, and TRO discussions in similar frequencies, while lower class victim stories featured fewer ambiguous headlines. However, it is important to note that official sourcing and ambiguous headlines were present in the vast majority of all articles. Overall though, these data demonstrate a pattern where signifiers of lower class status coincide with simplistic, blaming, or generally unsympathetic coverage. Conversely, signifiers of middle class standing coincide with contextualized and/or more sympathetic coverage.

Table 2- Story Components by Class


Lower-class Victims
N=20 (%)

Middle-/Upper-class Victims
N= 49 (%)

DV Characterization

5 (25.0)

21 (44.8)

Official Sources

20 (100.0)

48 (98.0)

Alternative sources

6 (30.0)

32 (65.3)

Forensic Reporting

11 (55.0)

16 (32.7)

Ambiguous headline

14 (70.0)

40 (81.6)

Victim blaming

7 (35.0)

9 (18.3)

Sympathy narrative

2 (10.0)

12 (24.5)

TRO discussion

4 (20.0)

10 (20.4)

Examining representations of offender class revealed several important patterns as well. This sample included 32 articles featuring lower-class offenders and 43 featuring middle or upper class offenders. Offender-based patterns were less clear than victim-based ones, because of the lack of cases featuring offenders and victims of different classes. Many articles constructed victim and offender class simultaneously, for example by stating that both lived in subsidized housing. Thus, disentangling victim and offender treatment is difficult. However, articles featuring middle or upper class offenders did tend to be more sympathetic to abusers. While constructing a picture of class, these articles often employed the indirect victim blaming tactics mentioned before, framing femicides as inexplicable tragedies or as a result of mental illness (Taylor 2009). For example, one article on a middle-class offender read,

The [victim's family] recently purchased a home in the middle-, upper-income Waikoloa Village subdivision, and had bought a home for their oldest daughter, who lives only a block away.

It continues,

[the pastor] of Solid Rock Ministries, which counted the [victim's family] among its 900 members, called the tragedy 'a total shock…something that wasn't expected.'

Another article, reporting on a murder-suicide, constructs a similar family portrait, reading,

Stunned neighbors described the couple as friendly and happy, and the family as the least likely for such tragedy to ever befall. The question for almost all who have pondered the situation since, is, why? So far, there have been few answers."

It continues, describing the offender as the

…father of four children, now orphaned, [the victim's] high school sweetheart and life partner for two decades-and the person responsible for so much grief and sorrow for which there's no logical explanation [emphasis added].

Of course it would be inhumane to deny sympathy for anyone who takes his own life. However, excusing these offenders is still problematic because it prevents a holistic framing of domestic violence that captures the diversity of the crime. Moreover neither article problematizes the crime by truly implicating an offender. Instead they both construct a description of a tranquil middle-class family and a 'shocking' tragedy. One might say something similar about a family killed by a natural disaster. Nineteen of 43 middle or upper class offender articles described the crime as a mystifying tragedy or as a result of mental illness. On the other hand, only two articles with lower class offenders implicated mental illness while none described the crime as inexplicable. Thus, it seems class is intertwined with discourses building sympathy for offenders. Ultimately, this works to exclude middle and upper class offenders from the social problem frame.

To better disentangle class-based treatment of victims from that of offenders, I examined articles featuring victims and offenders of different classes. There were no articles featuring middle or upper class offenders and victims of a lower or unspecified class. However there were a limited number of articles featuring lower class offenders and victims of a higher or unspecified class. These articles were generally more contextualized and sympathetic to victims, while often vilifying offenders. Table 3 provides the frequencies of key story components for these articles.

Table 3- Lower Class Offenders and Middle or Unspecified Class Victims


Frequency (%)


DV characterization

10 (66.7)

Official sourcing

15 (100.0)

Alternative sourcing

9 (60.0)

Forensic reporting

4 (26.7)

Ambiguous headline

7 (58.3)

Victim blaming

2 (16.7)

Sympathy narrative

6 (50.0)

TRO discussion

7 (58.3)

Compared to the wider sample, these articles far more frequently characterized the crime as DV, employed alternative sources, and included sympathy narratives or TRO discussions. Additionally, they less frequently engaged in forensic reporting or victim blaming and used fewer ambiguous headlines. However, theses articles did rely on official sources slightly more than the wider sample. Perhaps most important though, half of these articles employed powerful sympathy narratives that framed the victim as an innocent, productive member of society, victimized by an intimate who wouldn't let her go unless she was dead. For example with a headline reading, "She Was Turning Her Life Around" one article began,

[The victim], a mother of five, was turning her life around, leaving a bad relationship, joining a church and reconciling with her husband, relatives said yesterday.

But the boyfriend she left behind with her old life had other ideas, first stalking her, then breaking into her car and finally hunting her down.

This juxtaposition of innocent victim with villainous offender constructs domestic violence as a crime against successful women victimized by underclass predators. These articles exemplify the social problem frame, giving the message that domestic violence is horrific and unacceptable. However, they seem contingent on victims meeting a rather high standard of sympathy.

The above discussion shows how each frame is constructed with the aid of disparate class-based discourses. Femicides tend to be problematized through discussions of upper-/middle-class victims and/or lower-class offenders. On the other hand, the murder of lower class women tends to be covered in the simplistic and unceremonious manner that I call the acceptable violence frame. Complementing this, the crimes of upper/middle-class men are characterized as somewhat excusable or completely inexplicable. The following discussion will show how racialized coverage plays a similar role in frame construction.

Racialized Patterns

Because of the complexity of racial hierarchy in Hawaii, and its surrounding discourse, I found 'race' to be a poor analytical lens. Accounting only for racial identities, one might argue that Hawaii's newspaper coverage of femicides is more racially inclusive. For example, it might appear that coverage restrains from othering Asians. Instead, analyzing racializing discourses was far more useful, revealing several patterns, some stark, and some subtle 4. Findings suggest that coverage in Hawaii sometimes shadows mainland media coverage, for example, by covering black offenders in a particularly criminalized manner. However, most patterns did not involve a white/non-white schema that might be employed in mainland coverage. Various markers other than overt race, such as ethnicity, immigration status, and nationality, formed patterns that suggested racialized coverage. These themes coincided with the above-discussed patriarchal discourses, adding complexity to the disparate framing of femicides in Hawaii.

Despite Hawaii's diverse ethnic composition, my findings suggest that Hawaii's newspapers construct young black men in the same discriminatory criminal light as mainland media do (Chiricos and Eschholz 2002). There were a tiny number of black offenders in this sample-eight articles, featuring only three offenders. However, these few articles displayed an interesting phenomenon; six of these articles displayed the mug shot of the offender juxtaposed with the image of the white female victim right next to it. Only eight other articles (all featuring non-white offenders) did this. The positioning of a scowling black offender's photo right next to one of a smiling, innocent-looking, white female framed the crime as heinous black on white sexual violence, feeding into pervasive, fear-mongering stereotypes regarding black men, crime, and sex (Kozol 1995). Making any claims about bias in reporting would be inappropriate given the small amount of data relating to this pattern. However, the pattern in this limited data is very suggestive. It appears that, even in Hawaii, young black offenders lie at the bottom of a racialized hierarchy of coverage.

Foreign citizens and/or recent immigrants also seemed to be the subjects of racializing coverage. Articles frequently mentioned an immigrant or foreigner's status. Conversely, no articles describing native-born American offenders or victims mentioned their citizenship status. One article, describing the murder of a bartender by her former boyfriend, read, "Police records show that Park, a native of South Korea, was arrested for harassment in 2001 and twice for abuse in 2000…" Though such a detail is something a trained reporter would likely note and report, it is not really relevant to the crime. The inclusion of this detail comes at the expense of more relevant information-an identification of the crime as domestic violence for example.

Other articles went beyond merely mentioning superfluous details about immigrant/foreigners, providing unsympathetic, or one might even argue harsh, coverage toward immigrant victims. One article, describing the murder of a Singaporean woman and her mother by a Navy man, directly blamed the victim. It read,

…[the offender], charged with murdering his second wife and her mother, couldn't seek a divorce from her because he feared losing custody of his three children, his first wife said at a Navy hearing.

The article continues,

[the offender's first wife] said [the offender] believed that his Singapore-born wife was seeing sailors whom she met at a Pearl Harbor 'single sailors' bar,' where she worked as a waitress.

Coverage discussing this woman's supposed infidelity and a custody battle hints that the victim's behavior was a contributing factor to her murder (Meyers 1994; Taylor 2009). Other articles went as far as to suggest the victim in this case was attempting to take the offender's children away to Singapore, again framing the victim as an adulteress ready to steal her husband's children away to a foreign country. In fact, this article was one of several articles from the sample that covered this murder. Other articles exhibited similar themes. For example, one described the victim as a "foreigner who loved to travel" who "met her husband to be in the United States," suggesting some sort of 'green card' marriage. Though this sample contained relatively few immigrant/foreigner victims or offenders, the articles present exhibited a pattern of less sympathetic, often victim-blaming, coverage and unnecessary 'outing' of their immigrant status.

Immigrant status is not an ethnicity per se. However, it is highly relevant to identity in Hawaii, especially considering Okamura's (1992) arguments about the pan-ethnic 'local' identity. Recent immigrants from Asia may be seen as outsiders by 'locals' who themselves have some Asian heritage, but downplay it in favor of the local identity. Ultimately, discussion of immigration status works as a racializing marker, helping to frame foreigners as an out-group.

Several of the immigrants outed in coverage came from the Philippines. Filipinos are a somewhat stigmatized group in Hawaii, associated with lower class status and domestic violence (Okamura 2008). Given this, Filipino/a victims and offenders were unsurprisingly featured prominently in many articles. Twenty-eight articles featured Filipina victims, while 29 articles featured Filipino offenders. Given their stigmatization, we might expect Filipina victims to receive less favorable coverage. In some ways, the sample confirms such a hypothesis. However, in other ways it does not. Table 4 compares the frequencies for key story components in articles featuring Filipina victims to those for stories featuring non-Filipina victims.

Table 4- Filipina Victims


Filipina Victims N=29 (%)

Non-Filipina Victims N= 94 (%)

DV characterization

6 (21.4)

31 (33.0)

Official sources

28 (100.0)

91 (96.8)

Alternative sources

14 (50.0)

40 (42.6)

Forensic reporting

13 (46.4)

45 (47.9)

Ambiguous headline

17 (60.7)

70 (74.5)

Victim blaming

8 (28.6)

15 (16.0)

Sympathy narrative

1 (3.6)

13 (13.8)


6 (21.4)

13 (13.8)

Table 4 shows that Filipina victim articles less frequently characterized femicides as DV, and more frequently employed victim blaming. On the other hand, these articles more frequently used alternative sources and discussed TROs, while they less frequently featured ambiguous headlines. Additionally, there were only minor differences in the use of official sources and forensic reporting. However, perhaps the clearest distinction between these two types of articles was their use of sympathy narratives. Only one article featuring a Filipina victim employed a sympathy narrative. Thus, it seems there is a subtle pattern in which Filipina victims tend to be framed with the acceptable violence frame.

The above-mentioned pattern is subtle rather than stark. However, when examining Filipina identity and class simultaneously, a clearer distinction emerges. The tendency to place Filipina victims in the acceptable violence frame was more extreme in articles covering lower-class Filipina victims. Table 5 compares the frequencies of key story components for lower class Filipina victim articles to those for middle class Filipina victim articles.

Table 5- Filipina Victims Accounting for Class


Lower Class N=7 (%)

Middle Class N=6 (%)

DV character-ization

0 (0.0)

4 (66.6)

Official sources

7 (100.0)

6 (100.0)

Alternative sources

1 (14.3)

6 (100.0)

Forensic reporting

3 (42.9)

0 (0.0)

Ambiguous headline

4 (57.1)

5 (83.3)

Victim blaming

4 (57.1)

0 (0.0)

Sympathy narrative

0 (0.0)

1 (16.7)

TRO discussion

0 (0.0)

1 (16.7)

Compared to those featuring middle class Filipina victims, articles featuring lower class Filipina victims featured more victim blaming and forensic reporting, while they featured less DV characterization, fewer alternative sources, sympathy narratives, and TRO discussions. However, lower class articles did more frequently employ ambiguous headlines. Still the pattern is clear, it is not just Filipina victims who are covered differentially, but more so, lower class Filipina victims.

These findings suggest that coverage stigmatizes the Filipino/a identity somewhat (especially for lower-class individuals). Though Filipinos might be considered racially Asian (or Latino), in this coverage, they occupy a specific ethnic space, which is subordinated in Hawaii's racialized hierarchy. This, and other markers (blackness, immigration status, nationality) suggest that though Hawaii newspaper coverage does not construct a white/non-white binary, it still relies on racialized themes to frame femicides. Furthermore, these racialized themes are material for the social problem and acceptable violence frames. Stigmatizing racialization helps to form the acceptable violence frame, while the absence of it helps to locate a crime within the social problem frame.

Disparate Frames Revealed

The above-discussed findings illustrate how Hawaii's newspapers frame femicides disparately, as a social problem, or as unproblematized, generic crime. I call these characterizations the 'social problem' frame and the 'acceptable violence' frame, respectively. These data show that the frames are founded upon patriarchal ideas, such as conceiving of femicides as different from domestic violence. Yet, they are also constructed with classist and racialized discourses. Because these three types of discourses intersect in the social problem and acceptable violence frames, coverage constitutes a hegemonic ideology that perpetuates existing hierarchies built simultaneously upon race, class, and gender distinctions.

The social problem frame constitutes improving, yet still flawed, reporting. It problematizes femicides by acknowledging that they are domestic violence (contextualization); cultivating sympathy for the victim; characterizing the offender as the sole culpable party, or even predatory counterpart to victim-as-heroine; implying the victim is an economically productive member of society; and locating the victim in the racial/ethnic in-group through the omission of racialized themes. The social problem frame implies that femicide is unacceptable, that it is a serious issue, which society must address. It even hints that we have taken strides in solving the problem (e.g. TROs). However, it only selectively problematizes femicides.

The acceptable violence frame, on the other hand, demonstrates the flaws in coverage that scholars have critiqued for decades. This frame is built upon a routinized and neutral reporting mode, which communicates neither the significance of femicides, nor their patriarchal roots (Websdale and Alvarez 1998). This frame is largely a frame of omission; it is marked mostly for what is left out, not what is included. The acceptable violence frame fails to acknowledge femicides as domestic violence and dehumanizes the victim. Instead of contextualizing the crime, or illustrating the victim's suffering, this coverage focuses on minute details that tell the reader much about little. Often, the victim is characterized as lower class. Moreover, this frame may even hint that the victim was a culpable party, by using euphemisms, such as 'domestic dispute' to explain the crime. In some, less common, cases, the acceptable violence frame may imply that the crime was unavoidable, a product of extreme or mysterious circumstances. In such cases, though copious coverage may be given, reporting implies the crime could not be anticipated. Thus, it is not constructed as a documented, patterned, and pervasive phenomenon (domestic violence), which society must address. Ultimately, the acceptable violence frame characterizes femicides as either routine products of a problematic underclass, or mysterious tragedies suffered by middle and upper class families; neither of which can be systematically addressed by society, and therefore, must be accepted.

Finally, these two frames are ideal-typical, analytical tools, not empirical phenomena. No articles exhibited all the elements of one frame. Some articles blended the properties of both frames. I do not argue that there are two singularly employed manners of reporting on femicides in Hawaii. Instead, articles use two disparate narrative sets-one, which problematizes femicides, another, which ignores, excuses, or mystifies them. These two narrative sets might be used in the same article, but there is most often a preponderance of one, outweighing the other to form a specific frame. More often than not, the narrative set that problematizes femicides, the social problem frame, is absent. Instead coverage uses the acceptable violence frame, making these crimes seem somewhat routine, unproblematic, or inevitable.


Coverage of femicides in Hawaii somewhat shadows coverage analyzed in earlier studies. Basically, news still does a poor job of identifying femicides as domestic violence (Gillespie et al. 2013). Also, coverage fails to communicate that VAW is a widespread phenomenon, which springs from, and supports, patriarchy (Howe 1997). Yet, some coverage does acknowledge domestic violence, but, mostly when suffered by some women, and/or perpetrated by some men (Dragiewicz 2011). This constitutes disparate framing-the suffering and crimes of some are condemned, while those of others are ignored or mystified. Essentially, these findings illustrate limited evolution from the press' former ignorance of domestic violence. Instead of telling one story, this coverage tells two stories-that of a social problem and that of acceptable violence.

Many previous studies focusing specifically on victim-blaming or other patriarchal discourses have made important contributions (see Gillespie et al. 2013; Richards, Gillespie, and Smith 2011; Taylor 2009). However, more research is needed that also accounts for class and race. This study helps to do that by examining femicides with an intersectional orientation. Though of limited generalizability, this study also furthers VAW media research by refining understandings of victim and offender constructions and the mode of racialization in hegemonic ideology.

The identification of the disparate social problem and acceptable violence frames illuminates not just flaws in coverage, but also how the press constructs worthy and unworthy victims, sympathetic and unsympathetic offenders (DeKeseredy 2010; Dragiewicz 2011). These disparate frames allow us to better understand selective femicide coverage. It is not that the press merely ignores, or under-reports femicides. It is that reporting constructs femicides as a social problem when suffered or perpetrated by only selective, hegemonically convenient groups. Other femicides are constructed in a far less condemnatory and informative manner.

Furthermore, this analysis might help us better understand how femicide coverage works as intersectional hegemonic ideology. As Meyers (1994) states, femicide coverage does not simply obscure these crimes, it performs a hegemonic function by concealing wider power structures, of which VAW is a product. Analysis of hegemonic discourse in Hawaii has some unique implications. One might argue that coverage in Hawaii's newspapers illuminates the supporting discourse for a localized hegemony (Connell and Messerschmidt 2005), most distinctive in regards to race.

As mentioned earlier, I did not investigate race, but racializing discourse. When investigating racialization, nuanced othering is apparent-reporting employed several racializing markers (e.g. blackness, immigration status, Filipina identity) as part of the acceptable violence frame. Thus, we can see that Hawaii's newspapers do not merely use a white/non-white dichotomy, nor do they use an inclusive, de-racialized discourse. But, as part of their disparate framing, they employ nuanced and insidious racialized discourse, which, in the end, still perpetuates pre-existing hierarchies. Such insights might be generalizable to analysis of 'post-racial' discourse in mainland crime coverage.

One of the defining characteristics of hegemonic ideology is its capacity for evolution (Gitlin 2003; Hall et al. 1978). The social problem frame illustrates such flexibility, making it seem like society is acknowledging and addressing VAW. Conversely though, the acceptable violence frame naturalizes VAW by employing insidious patriarchal, classist, and racialized discourse. Ultimately, this coverage still creates an ideological schema that reflects and naturalizes existing hierarchies.

Domestic violence is clearly a significant social problem, linked, many would argue, to hegemonic conditions. We may only defeat this problem through cultural awareness and rejection of both. Media are an important vehicle for this. However, they cannot raise awareness without providing holistic and critical accounts of domestic violence. Yet, it seems at this point, they continue to give only facile analysis, which supports dominant ideas about the naturalness and inevitability of existing power structures-they continue to paint inequality as justice.

Appendix 1: Sample Code Sheet



Article ID#


Article date






Number of words?


How did the victim die?


Weapons used?


Location of crime?


Was alcohol present?


Was alcohol used?


Notes on alcohol?


Where drugs present?


Were drugs used?


Notes on drugs?


Primary source cited.


Crime details included?


Was the crime a murder-suicide?


Describe the relationship history


What was the crime motive?


How was the crime explained?


What role did the victim play?


Is victim blaming present?


Race of offender


Notes on race?


Where did they offender live?


Was the offender an immigrant?


Nationality of offender


Was the offender Filipino?


Offender class


Notes on class


Was domestic violence discussed?

dvdiscussion memo



Was there an ambiguous headline?

other notes

Other notes?

forensic reporting

Is forensic reporting employed?


Are TROs discussed?


Victim name.

V/O relationship

What was the victim/offender relationship?


Victim race


Victim nationality


Was the victim an immigrant?


Victim class


Where did the victim live?


Was the victim Filipina?


First source cited

source 2

Second source cited

source 3

Third source cited


Benedict, Helen. 1993. Virgin Or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes. Oxford University Press.

Best, Joel. 1990. Threatened Children: Rhetoric and Concern about Child-Victims. University Of Chicago Press.

Bullock, Cathy Ferrand, and Jason Cubert. 2002. "Coverage of Domestic Violence Fatalities by Newspapers in Washington State." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 17(5): 475-99.

Burgess-Proctor, Amanda. 2006. "Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Crime: Future Directions for Feminist Criminology." Feminist Criminology 1(1): 27-47.

Chancer, Lynn. 1994. "Gender, Class and Race in Three High Profile Crimes: The Cases of New Bedford, Central Park and Bensonhurst." Journal of Crime and Justice 17(2): 167-87.

Charmaz, Kathy. 2006. Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Chiricos, Ted, and Sarah Eschholz. 2002. "The Racial and Ethnic Typification of Crime and The Criminal Typification of Race and Ethnicity in Local Television News." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 39(4): 400-420.

Connell, R. W., and James W. Messerschmidt. 2005. "Hegemonic Masculinity Rethinking the Concept." Gender & Society 19(6): 829-59.

DeKeseredy, Walter S. 2010. "Moral Panics, Violence, and the Policing of Girls." In Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence, eds. Meda Chesney-Lind and Nikki Jones. SUNY Press, 241-52.

Dragiewicz, Molly. 2011. Equality With a Vengeance: Men's Rights Groups, Battered Women, and Antifeminist Backlash. UPNE.

Gillespie, Lane Kirkland, Tara N. Richards, Eugena M. Givens, and M. Dwayne Smith. 2013. "Framing Deadly Domestic Violence Why the Media's Spin Matters in Newspaper Coverage of Femicide." Violence Against Women 19(2): 222-45.

Gilliam, Franklin D., and Shanto Iyengar. 2000. "Prime Suspects: The Influence of Local Television News on the Viewing Public." American Journal of Political Science 44(3): 560-73.

Gitlin, Todd. 2003. The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left, With a New Preface. 2nd ed. University of California Press.

Glaser, Barney, and Anselm Strauss. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Aldine Transaction.

Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. eds. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. International Publishers Co.

Grau, Janice, Jeffrey Fagan, and Sandra Wexler. 1984. "Restraining Orders for Battered Women." Women & Politics 4(3): 13-28.

Grover, Chris, and Keith Soothill. 1996. "'A Murderous 'underclass'? The Press Reporting of Sexually Motivated Murder." The Sociological Review 44(3): 399-415.

Hall, Stuart, Chas Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John N. Clarke, and Brian Roberts. 1978. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order. 1st Ed. Palgrave Macmillan.

Harrell, A., and B. Smith. 1996. "Effects of Restraining Orders on Domestic Violence Victims." Do arrests and restraining orders work: 214-42.

Henley, N. M., M. Miller, and J. A. Beazley. 1995. "Syntax, Semantics, and Sexual Violence Agency and the Passive Voice." Journal of Language and Social Psychology 14(1-2): 60-84.

Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. 2002. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Pantheon.

Howe, Adrian. 1997. "'The War Against Women' Media Representations of Men's Violence Against Women in Australia." Violence Against Women 3(1): 59-75.

Jewkes, Yvonne. 2010. Media & Crime. Second Edition. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Kline, Sidney. 2010. Statistics on Domestic Violence Homicides in Hawai'i. Honolulu, HI: State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Kozol, W. 1995. "Fracturing Domesticity: Media, Nationalism, and the Question of Feminist Influence." Signs 20(3): 646-67.

Lundman, Richard J. 2003. "The Newsworthiness and Selection Bias in News About Murder: Comparative and Relative Effects of Novelty and Race and Gender Typifications on Newspaper Coverage of Homicide." Sociological Forum 18(3): 357-86.

Mason, Paul. 2006. "Lies, Distortion and What Doesn't Work: Monitoring Prison Stories in the British Media." Crime, Media, Culture 2(3): 251-67.

McDonald, M. G. 1999. "Unnecessary Roughness: Gender and Racial Politics in Domestic Violence Media Events." Sociology of Sport Journal 16: 111-33.

McMullan, John L. 2006. "News, Truth, and the Recognition of Corporate Crime." Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice/La Revue canadienne de criminologie et de justice pénale 48(6): 905-39.

Meyers, Marian. 1994. "News of Battering." Journal of Communication 44(2): 47-63.

Ogle, Robbin, and Candice Batton. 2009. "Revisiting Patriarchy: Its Conceptualization and Operationalization in Criminology." Critical Criminology 17(3): 159-82.

Okamura, Jonathan Y. 1992. "Why There Are No Asian Americans in Hawaiʻi: The Continuing Significance of Local Identity." In Social Process in Hawaii: A Reader, ed. Peter Manicas. New York: McGraw-Hill, 243-56.

---. 2008. Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai'i. Temple University Press.

Richards, Tara N., Lane Kirkland Gillespie, and M. Dwayne Smith. 2011. "Exploring News Coverage of Femicide: Does Reporting the News Add Insult to Injury?" Feminist Criminology 6(3): 178-202.

Rohrer, Judy. 2008. "Disrupting the 'melting Pot': Racial Discourse in Hawai'i and the Naturalization of Haole." Ethnic and Racial Studies 31(6): 1110-25.

Ryan, Charlotte, Mike Anastario, and Alfredo DaCunha. 2006. "Changing Coverage of Domestic Violence Murders A Longitudinal Experiment in Participatory Communication." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21(2): 209-28.

Sacco, Vincent F. 1995. "Media Constructions of Crime." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 539(1): 141-54.

Schwartz, Martin D., and Walter S. DeKeseredy. 1993. "The Return of the 'Battered Husband Syndrome' through the Typification of Women as Violent." Crime, Law and Social Change 20(3): 249-65.

Silent Witness. 2006. "States Results 2003."

Sorensen, C. A., B. Wood, and E. W. Prince. 2003. "Race and Ethnicity Data: Developing a Common Language for Public Health Surveillance in Hawaii." Californian Journal of Health Promotion 1(spec): 91-104.

Stanko, E. A. 2000. "Women, Danger, and Criminology." Women, Crime, and Justice: Contemporary Perspectives: 13-26.

Surette, Ray. 2007. Media, Crime, and Criminal Justice: Images, Realities and Policies. 3rd ed. Wadsworth Publishing.

Taylor, Rae. 2009. "Slain and Slandered A Content Analysis of the Portrayal of Femicide in Crime News." Homicide Studies 13(1): 21-49.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2006. State Rankings--Statisical Abstract of the United States: Violent Crimes per 100,00 Population--2006. Washington DC.

---. 2010. Hawaii Quick Facts from the U.S. Census Bureau. Washington DC.

U.S. Department of Justice. 2010. Crime in the United States, 2010: Uniform Crime Reports Expanded Homicide Data. Washington DC.

Walby, Sylvia. 1989. "Theorising Patriarchy." Sociology 23(2): 213-34.

Websdale, Neil, and Alexander Alvarez. 1998. "Forensic Journalism as Patriarchal Ideology." In Popular Culture, Crime, and Justice, eds. Frankie Y. Bailey and Donna C. Hale. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 123-41.

1 Hawaii ranked 36th in the nation in 2006, with a violent crime rate of 281 per 100,000 persons (U.S. Census Bureau 2006) and the 2009 murder rate was 1.7 per 100,000, about a third of the national average of 5.0 per 100,000 (U.S. Department of Justice 2010).

2 I selected this period to provide contemporary data. However, I cut off data before their merger, because my wider analysis involved comparing the two outlets. Including data after the merger would have confounded such an analysis.

3 Class was coded for based on discussions of victims' and offenders' incomes, occupations, wealth (e.g. houses), and residences (e.g. reputedly wealthy or poor communities).

4 Coding for race and ethnicity was based on several indicators such as images, place of crime occurrence, and surname. However, only about half (N=66) of all articles were coded for race/ethnicity.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Attribution to include the author or artist's name, date of first publication,
and the name of our journal: Radical Criminology.
ISSN 1929-7904
(Print) | ISSN 1929-7912 (Online)