Apr 20, 2013

Lookism, Gender, Sex Roles in Jodi Arias Murder trial

Its time to address the massive media gorge-fest on the Jodi Arias Murder trial.

First of all, It is a horrible and brutal crime.

Yes it differs from many partner/intimate murders in that there was a tremendous amount of "overkill" such as a gunshot to the Travis Alexander's Head, over 29 stab wounds to his body and skull and a huge throat slash that is believed by the medical examiner to be the final act of violence that ultimately caused Travis's instantaneous death.

These injuries were borne of Rage, they clearly are not injuries that indicate an act of self defense, as Jodi Arias and her legal minions are rather ridiculously claiming in this, the third scenario that Arias has proffered to authorities since her first Police questioning in 2008 when the Travis Alexanders body was discovered by his friends stuffed into his shower stall..

But these are not the reasons that the media is swarming all over this case. I am sad to say that I have seen murders with far worse brutality, torture and loss of life that barely got a mention in the mainstream media, never mind this level of obsession.

From all vantage points I believe its fair to say that this trial has received the attention that it has because 1) the confessed murderer is a woman, 2) (and substantially more important in our culture because Jodi Aria's face and figure happen to be considered attractive:  Arias is somewhat baby faced and soft spoken and as such too many people are having an inordinately difficult time  reckoning her acts of violence with her appearance, her manner.

Lastly, is the the role of sex and technology that is strewn throughout the case. In this, the age of social media sites being almost a guaranteed staple of everyday life for most people under the age of 30, both Arias and Alexander left a sizable Internet presence,  which unfortunately is adding more to the circus- like allure of the case, rather than being utilized as an extremely useful evidenciary base, both to better examine the two people involved in this intimate violence murder as well as  the progression and dynamics of their " relationship" the evolution of which is literally outlined time stamped, all via a collection of both Internet postings emails, personal blogs and even private videos of the two interacting.

And that's not all. As many people know, Jodi Arias and Travis posed for and took nude photos of each-other purportedly after having sexual, relations on the day of the murder, as well as photo's that literally led up to the murder, one even accidently caught a picture of Travis Alexanders body being dragged by Arias into the shower.

Lets face it,  women killing is becoming less and less rare these days, thus, this alone certainly does not account for the degree of voracity with which the media and the public have literally been consuming this trial.With all  violent crimes on the rise in our country, it only stands to reason that this would be a natural evolutionary result ie more women are committing murder. The same thing can be said of children and teenagers whose crimes appear to be getting more serious at younger ages - violent crimes such as rape, aggravated assault, manslaughter and murder are being committed by teenagers and children at an alarmingly escalating rate.

And please do not misunderstand my feelings about this or any other savage murder.

I am in no way trying to negate the brutality and tragedy of Travis Alexander's murder. I immedietely imagine his terror and panic and the ensuing pain,as the murder scene suggests that Travis did his absolute best to try to fend away the hell bent upon murder Arias. The defensive wounds were substantial and the blood evidence show that he didn't die easily despite the many many stab wounds and the gunshot to his head. 

I also do not wish to take our collective attention away from the bottom line important symptoms of personality disorders which do not technically fall into the mental illness ilk as these disorders share traits that involve a permanent problem with perception of themselves and the world around them often narcissistic and often predatory, making them frequent commiters of crime, often violent.

As well PD Personas cause a general chaotic mess in the lives of whomever winds up  becoming involved with them be it by chance or by choice. ie through work, family or a platonic friendship.
The signs and symptoms of personality disorders are alien to the average person. They were once alien to me as well. It was only after becoming victimized and maimed by a Sociopath that I began to explore the realm of abnormal psychiatry and within that quest, came  upon the answers to many of my questions regarding the behavior of the man that ultimately victimized me so severely.

 After seeing murder after murder committed by men with the same psychiatric criteria again anad again and again, I began to see that as a culture we can no longer afford this ignorance or apathy insofar as the psychological symptoms of the entire spectrum of Personality disorders with Anti social Personality disorder at the forefront but not exclusively so as we see here with Arias where borderline PD can be as or more dangerous to unsuspecting others.

 I feel deeply for Travis Alexanders family members, and I think of them every time I read about a given day's testimony, or a certain piece of evidence, all of which has been on a constant stream detailed for public consumption on every major Media website, blog, streaming YouTube and  Network and cable and television.

I think about how his sisters feel I watch them sitting in the surreal atmosphere of  that courtroom - A place where the killer of your loved one sits yards away from you , occasionally whispering with her lawyers, nodding, even smiling flipping her hair as if this was any other place on any other day,... - behaving as if she were a regular person just having a little chat.

Only she and every other murderer or rapist that sits flanked by thier helpful lawyers are not " regular people"

And you know it, and everyone else knows it - but..... this is how we do it in this country" Even though it grates on the very last fibers of your being that the killer of your loved one is not only not chained to that chair like the animal that you know them to be, but rather they are treated with a certain deference a normalcy that belies the brutality of thier actions - and they are afforded a dignity that simply boggles the mind and wrenches the heart of every victim of violent crime who has sat in a courtroom with a man or woman who victimized them, or victimized their family member.

It doesn't help that years have passed since the family members received that terrible call by the police; the one that first broke the terrible news - that their son was found dead,  murdered in a vicious and horrible fashion.

This huge disparity between when a crime or set of crimes are committed and when the " case"  finally reaches the advent of resolution ie presumably " justice"  in the form of a trial, is hideous and utterly unnecessary Yet in most states this huge painful expanse of time hovers between three to five years. This is obscene and does massive damage to the prosecution of a murder a rape kidnapping assault - any violent crime where a human being has been seriously violated.

The passage of time after a violent crime  always always serves the defendant and it is at the very core of survivors pain that our courts and government allow indeed expect and will often defend the rote 3 to 4 year wait for capital murder trials to finally begin/ Just as the witnesses including Police and medical examiners are beginning the natural self protective process of memory dulling - symptomatic of Post traumatic stress disorder in fact" BLOCKING"

 In any event, the whole nature of waiting years for the advent of justice only aids and abets the "defendant" (which we as a civilized society must refer to even the most guilty perpetrators of violence) In this case Arias has confessed" and as such can be called the " murdeer, despite the aforementioned three versions including ninja like men up to the current 'I cant remember anything except shooting him for body slamming me for dropping the camera- nonsense shes selling us now in her most timid girlish tone possible.

The reality is this: Years after Travis Alexander a thirty year old young man was virtually butchered in his own bathroom,  everyone in the courtroom is donning their very best manners, and behaving with full decorum. This is surreal enough for the victims family, believe me.

The confessed murderess is dressed in conservative and usually girlish casual clothing, round petter pan collars etc - a stark deviation from the sexy figure hugging clothes that seemed her signature dress code prior to her arrest for Travis's murder. She often wears barrettes holding back her now naturally black hair, which was obviously dyed a near platinum blonde most of her adult life. The barrettes also add a misleading innocent appearance  to her already baby faced countenance.

At first glance I was thinking that her lawyer likely thought up this innocuous looking hair style, but as I grew to know more about Arias I considered that more than likely she herself no stranger to using her looks voice and expressions to manipulate, probably came up with what has become her hair -do of choice, along with the demure looking button down shirts and sweaters which she now wears to court daily.

The seemingly small details along with voice inflection, posture and eye contact emit everything from innocent schoolgirl to seasoned manipulator with a wide range of acting skills with which she hopes to dupe the jury.

Flanked by people paid for by the state to be her advocates her guard dogs, doing their damnedest to convince the jury that this person who killed their son their brother their friend , should be given latitude.

And this latitude that the defense attorneys seek almost always originates from some form of character bashing of the victim. the person who is in fact the embodiment of this set of crimes the human being who is no longer is alive to speak for him or herself  - because he/ she has been slaughtered -  in this case in  his own home while taking a shower.

Partner violence is an everyday occurrence in this country. Travis Alexanders murder certainly seems to be completely pre-meditated, yet..... there is a bit of a twist here; I have written in earlier Posts that Jodi Arias appears to be a classic borderline Personality disordered woman as well a  anti-social PD.And this is a quick summation based upon watching her interrogation with police reading her journals which are really revealing as they are self talk and a smattering of friends and acquaintances and their take on Arias

I  am certain that Arias had recently  reached an emotional watershed within her relationship to Travis Alexander, I believe she was beginning to feel more and more used and although she appears to have eagerly participated in this highly sexual relationship with Travis, even after they officially moved from a infatuation/relationship to a clandestine sexual relationship, Arias was unhappy with this change and was hoping that if she satiated Travis sexually, this might be a method that she could use to lure him back into the more valid " love" relationship she yearned for - or at least as close to love as a psychopath can get. Mind you this is never about actual love with both borderlines and sociopaths but rather either one or all infatuation, dependency, fear of rejection and abandonment and control.

All of these qualities are common with personality disorders in general when it comes to thier relationships with others and this is not exclusive to romantic relationships. Many a borderline personality wreaks havoc upon their family and friends lives as well workmates and even casual aquaintence s. By ther natures they are perpetually drawing attention to themselves as well as having no healthy interest in other peoples lives feelings or interests.

 While I don't sense that Arias was a controlling sociopath, as a woman with several personality disorders I feel she was very comfortable using submission or at least the act of submitting, as a  means to an end in trying to get "the prize"  ie Travis Alexander. However once she made herself this vulnerable over and again and Travis only grew more disaffected , her humiliation grew as did her anger especially when became obvious that Travis seemed to almost be repulsed by her - at least once he was sexually sated.

 As well the type of sex that the two engaged in is somewhat degrading to a woman unless handled sensitively by a man and this did not seem to be the case here. Arias described a good deal of anal sex between the two  which Travis reportedly assured Arias didn't count as sex within his Mormon faith as pre marital sex, just as oral sex didnt "count"

Arias related to her therapist a scene on the day of the murder where she broke a CD of Travis's and he began to grow very  angry, citing that his dog ran from the room as he always did whenever Travis became angr. This detail seemed believable to me for whatever reason the descriptiveness, my own experience with animals that flee sensing human anger and I do not believe that this part of her story was a fabrication. She claimed that she apologized and he then had rough anal sex with her and seemed to " calm down as a result"

This I also believed. My guess was that Travis showing his temper and impatience with Arias was fairly commonplace; this was also corroborated in a taped conversation with Arias where he promised her that her punishment would be worse than the crime if she didn't tell him what he wanted to know"

The inner struggle that Jodi arias was having regarding her feelings for Travis and moreover his lack of feelings for her his growing distance as evidenced by emails and corroborated by friends ie one friend of Travis actually called Arias a "non-issue"  in Travis's life. was culminating into a gigantic pain and simultaneous rage witthin Jodi Arias.

The comment about Arias being a non issue" to me is very very telling for  it indicates that this close friend of Travis Alexander was privy to the fact that Travis's interest in Arias was sexual only, and as other friends of Travis described many who saw the two in public never even knew they were a couple" even for the short time that they were actually dating the time period where Travis had Jodi baptized into the Mormon faith for example. This was an act that Arias likely took to be a sign of the seriousness of the union.

 As the union quickly unfurled and she was rather quickly relegated to secret sex partner- Arias's feelings of rejection grew - the reality that he was dating other women only compounded her anger and existing self esteem issues  (these are often a major contributor to borderline Personality disordered women.

We know that Jodi Arias was aware of Travis's trip to Cancun and we know that Arias had originally been Travis's planned companion  Her name had been on the tickets weeks earlier, and now another woman's name had been substituted for hers. This anger borne of a possessive infatuation whereupon arias demeaned herself sexually in hopes of gaining this man's OFFICIAL approval seemed to her the only control she had over this man she knew was growing more and more emotionally detached and distant. She was clearly an attractive woman but her lack of emotional maturity is evident.

If one reads Travis's online dating profiles, listens to his motivational speaking gigs, and even a few of  some of the taped conversations between he and Arias, a picture begins to emerge of a young man that had some glaring issues of his own, particularly his views and behaviors in regards to women.

Within some conversations with friends and with Arias herself he shows what appears to be a classic maddonna/whore complex, and a propensity to be boastful with women as one might expect from an immature adolescent - not a thirty year old man.

My impression is that Travis Alexander was emotionally very immature himself, he showed a misogynistic streak, especially regarding sex.. Even he himself admitted in an email to a male friend
" I always have been a bit of a sociopath."

This was extremely telling, as it shows that Travis himself knew that he had at least some of the qualities of a sociopath ; Sexually he certainly seemed to lack something akin to a conscience, in fact we hear from his own mouth again and again a demeaning streak towards  in taped conversations with Jodi Arias.

On the other hand when one watches a snippet of video from a group gathering when Travis and Arias had been dating only a month or two, Arias is seen literally latched onto Travis with a decidedly childlike neediness that left no room for anything but her. Interest in what he was saying seemed nil, as did the notion of actual intimacy. Thus finding the common grounds that lead to such intimacy certainly was something Arias was incapable of, as are most borderline PDs and Sociopaths ASPD

My feeling is that these two young people had a commonality of self-based emotional disorders.However on the surface as the relationship moved forward ie 4 months to all of his friends Travis certainly seemed to be the one being pursued by Arias - sometimes rabidly. There were instances where Travis's tires were slashed and from the testimony I have read it is generally believed that Arias committed these crimes as the relationship fizzled and it became obvious that the two were no longer a couple. Travis was in fact dating other women openly and although Arias at times appeared to accept this, my belief is that she was extremely distraught and angry over his involvements.
I listened to her descriptions with her psychologist regarding the debasing nature of her sexual relationship with Travis as the union traversed from its brief boyfriend girlfriend status to simply clandestine sexual forays whereupon Travis would immediately become completely indifferent and sometimes cruel the moment the sex was over.

Although Arias obviously has psychopathic traits that doesn't mean that everything she says is a lie and I PERSONALLY found her descriptions of Travis's treatment of her during this period to be very credible. I listened to the tapes with interest as they revealed much more than most people think. Indeed I believe that it was in fact this persistent switch of Travis Alexander; one moment giving her his undivided attention, albeit sexual it still was a form of intense connection to her and filled a need) to immediate indifference and emotional coldness once the sex was over, this contributed to Arias's anger and feelings of being used and discarded

This ongoing albeit secretive sexual relationship was actually help build Arias a classic  Borderline with all of the immature emotional attachment and abandonment issues  into a frenzy as it became clearer and clearer that it was not going to lead to anything "real"  added to the jealousy that Travis was seemingly treating other women with" respect" thta she craved; dating them openly, giving them the perks of legitimacy, taking one on a trip that she had originally been invited to, it was actually amazing that arias lasted a long as she did, considering the combustive factors involved: A women who had at least two personality disorders who was recently rejected rather publicly ie the Cancun tickets and last minute partner switch Travis made for the group vacation..

Thus the young man that spurned her, was continuing to see her for sexual relations albeit under cover  again which likely added to her sense of rejection and anger. Now for his part, Trevor knew that Arias was prone to displays of  jealousy, she had been caught and admitted to stalking behaviors with him as well as actually committing vandalism another serious partner violence crime, when she supposedely slashed his car tires on several occasion, reportedly out of jealousy that he was seeing other women at the time.

In the end I think that this murder had been bouncing around Arias's mind for well over a month.

Once  she received that last phone call from Travis asking her to come over to his place, she knew by then this was the usual "booty call" that she had become accustomed to and seemingly resigned to.

Up until that point I believe Jodi Arias truly believed that through sex she could win back Travis alexander. For 2 months this was all she could garner from him and she continued to participate eagerly  it seemed, albeit hoping it would eventually lead to the official relationship she had enjoyed so fleetingly.

 I believe Arias made up her mind that she was not going to be in the closet and thus humiliated anymore and certainly she wasn't going to " let" any other woman have what she couldn't have.She began putting her plan together.: Hair dyed from blonde to brown, a car that was as different from her own car rented. She had taken her  grandmother's gun and made it appear a robbery several months prior to the murder.

This is key as it shows that Arias had been toying with the notion of killing Travis for some time. Unfortunately the police could not prove that the gun was definitely the gun used to shoot Alexander in his head, the bullet however was from the exact same caliber gun as the grandmothers gun which police believe Arias staged a robbery in order to cover up the guns disappearance.

That days sex romp did not bring back warm and fuzzy feelings to Travis Alexander egarding Jodi Arias. She knew it likely would not when she packed her bag to leave for his house that day.
Shed lost the "boyfriend girlfriend  status with Travis yet continued to have sexual relations with him, as both a way that she could be the center of his world, albeit for a moment - and stay connected as well, holding out a childish hope that his propensity to let his hormones dominate  might just win her back. At some point Travis put Jodi's name on that ticket to Cancun, and  likely the fact that another women was going to be in her rightful place was  one of the last things that pushed Arias over her already teetering edge.

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