L'Wren Scott was a fashion designer, not just a famous man's girlfriend

Paying tribute to Scott is about more than just recognising the talents of a woman who has died. It is about making a more equal society for those who are alive

Share

L’Wren Scott was a famous fashion designer who dressed women in beautiful, fairytale confections. She had her own label, was a respected celebrity stylist, and had created costumes for films like Ocean’s Thirteen and Eyes Wide Shut. Her death only a month before her fiftieth birthday is a huge loss of talent and an utter tragedy. Perhaps just as tragic is the media’s inability to remember her as nothing more than ‘Mick Jagger’s girlfriend.’

Whether or not readers, listeners or audiences are familiar with Scott’s work is immaterial. Mick Jagger is more well known than Scott outside of the fashion world. Yet if journalists take their jobs seriously they should educate them. Dating Mick Jagger was not this woman’s crowning achievement and it should not be remembered as such. It is not the 18th century, with women defined simply by their male partners. Paying tribute to Scott as ‘Jagger’s girlfriend’ is crass and ignorant. It would be just as absurdly sexist to refer to the passing of Bob Crow and Tony Benn by asserting that Nicola Hoarau's partner and Caroline Benn’s husband have died.

When Radio 2 made the announcement of her death yesterday, L'Wren Scott wasn’t even named. It was simply ‘the girlfriend of Mick Jagger’ who had died. Some papers treat L'Wren Scott no better. Five of the major British tabloids today cover Scott's death simply through Jagger’s reaction.  Scott was a person in her own right. If her death matters enough to make the news, she deserves to be rightly remembered.

Some obtuse editors belch surprise as to why readers are upset when the media refer to Reeva Steenkamp as ‘Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend’ and Scott as ‘Jagger’s lover’.  We care because death has already silenced these woman. We refuse to let their memorials be muted too. We are shouting because Scott no longer has a voice. Because when she died she specifically said she "didn’t want to be defined as someone’s girlfriend."  Because what hope ordinary women everywhere have if talented high profile women like this are allowed to be subjugated and forgotten in death?

There’s another reason I care. These ignorant headlines are written by people I may have to work with in the future. They serve as a reminder that sexism is still endemic in journalism, like so many industries. That one day I or one of my female colleagues may get passed over for promotion just because of our gender. Yet the voices of people like Clare Balding, Alice Arnold and Rachel Johnson, who all tweeted their disgust at the coverage give me hope. Paying tribute to Scott is about more than just recognising the talents of a woman who has died. It is also about making a more equal society for those who are alive.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A picture posted by Lubitz to Facebook in February 2013  

Andreas Lubitz: Knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 enabled mass murder

Simon Calder
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, presides at the reinterment of Richard III yesterday  

Richard III: We Leicester folk have one question: how much did it all cost?

Sean O’Grady
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss