It's a wonderful feeling to scorn the beautiful


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The Independent Online

The writer is studying Journalism and the News Industry at the University of Kent

Four young women are huddled around a computer screen. Two are already in pyjamas, one is clutching a half-empty glass of "dear-lord-what-a-rough-day-I-so-deserve-this", cheap red. The fourth one is grumbling at the poor internet connection which makes it almost impossible to follow the grainy live stream from Perugia, Italy. She gives up and reverts back to the original plan, which was to follow Twitter feeds.

We are all convinced that she has done it. That a beautiful, young, foreign student murdered her flatmate in a sex-rage, and that this is a mere formality before she is thrown back into jail to rot.

We are not so different from Amanda Knox. One of us was born mere days after her, the others recently hit 21, Knox's age at conviction. We are in the same living situation, four students in a house with two of us just as foreign in the UK as Knox and Meredith Kercher were in Italy. We have arguments about the dishes, emptying the bins and every now and then someone makes a dig at the noise level of someone's night-time companionship.

Then the Twitter feed gets its latest update and we look at each other in shock. We were so sure she was guilty.

Looking at it in hindsight, it is obvious that there never was much evidence against her, so how come we wanted her to be guilty? Surely, with such similar lives, the natural choice should be otherwise?

It has a very simple explanation. We want her to be guilty because of the way she looks. We want the pretty girl to be bad. For once, we wanted the aesthetically gifted to lose.

I am not always pretty. In fact, I am rarely pretty. It takes a really good hair-day, Spanx and wearing something that there is no way that I can afford on a student loan and a part-time waitressing wage. No matter what I have done in life, the prettier girls have always won, one way or the other. Amanda Knox represented all those pretty girls that ever did me wrong, stole a boyfriend, or whispered hurtful words. And when she was in prison I was better than all of them.

It is normal to look down upon the meth-heads, ladies of the night and other "lowlifes" that waste away in prisons, but it is a wonderful feeling to rightfully scorn the beautiful. Shame on me.

So, what did you think of young writer Sara Malm's column on our chosen subject of Amanda Knox? Let us know at