Acid-Attack Woman And Female Fakers Want More Than Just Attention

The acid attack hoaxer is just one in a line of women who have faked terrible things, in part to get attention. And while the result is often despicable, their motives can be complicated.

As many commenters pointed out, Bethany Storro's faked acid attack recalls the story of Ashley Todd, the McCain campaign volunteer who carved a backwards 'B' into her own face and then claimed that a black Obama supporter had done it. And while it didn't have the same racist overtones, Jessica Vega's faked leukemia diagnosis also won her sympathy — and donations from local businesses. Then there was fellow cancer scammer Ashley Kirilow, who faked the disease and allegedly got over $20,000 through her bogus charity — and of course "hipster grifter" Kari Ferrell, who claimed both that she was dying of cancer and that "she had a psychotic ex-boyfriend, a criminal mastermind who could break into any cell phone."

Many of these women got money out of their hoaxes, but there are easier ways to make a buck than, say, rubbing acid on your own face, and for many of the women listed above, attention seems to offend at least part of the motivation. Which is especially damaging to women who are real crime victims, and who are often accused of making up their rapes or stalkings in order to draw attention to themselves. Of course, there are plenty of male hoaxers too, but as a woman, it's easier to be enraged at the female ones, the ones who give women a bad name and make it harder for us to get real justice.

There is another way of looking at all this, but it may not help that much. Some analyses of the Salem witch trials point out that people without much social power (ie little girls) were able to empower themselves by lying at others' expense. And maybe female hoaxers are those who feel disempowered, by virtue of gender or other reasons. But it's hard to have sympathy for them when they try to disempower others, as Storro and Todd did when they invented imaginary black attackers. Ultimately, seeing hoaxes as cries for attention from people who feel they are not heard might explain this behavior — but especially in cases like Storro's, it really can't excuse it.

Earlier: Acid-Attack Woman Admits It Was A Hoax
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