She's got the heart of a ballerina

Reports on a young woman's murder tell us how two newspapers feel about topless dancers.

Published November 28, 2005 2:59PM (EST)

Gawker today points out a teensy discrepancy in the way that feuding New York tabloids the Post and the News covered the murder of a 21-year-old woman on the city's Upper East Side.

The Post, which traditionally makes cover girls of beautiful, wholesome, young, white murder victims (not so much old, ugly or black ones), on Monday plastered its front with an image of Catherine Woods, under the headline "Beauty Slain." The Post called Woods, who was stabbed to death in her apartment, "an aspiring Broadway dancer." The inside story acknowledged that her boyfriend "told cops she was an exotic dancer" but also her parents' counterclaim that their "beautiful 21-year-old daughter was a dancer who had appeared in an off-Broadway production called 'Privilege.'"

Those eagle-eyed kids at Gawker noticed that the News treated the story a bit differently, outright reporting that Woods was a "topless dancer" at Flash Dancers, though some club managers told the paper she had never worked there. Unsurprisingly, Woods did not appear on the cover of the Daily News.

Because it's not as important when strippers die.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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