Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 3.42.45 PMAs we all know by now, model and advocate for abuse against women, Reeva Steenkamp is dead. She was murdered this past Valentine’s Day, and allegedly by her Olympian boyfriend Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius.

Although this case is definitely going to take some twists and turns, as it already has — in one moment Pistorius thinks Steenkamp is an intruder, then in the next he’s crying to a friend about what he’s done — we should maybe focus on how Steenkamp will be portrayed in the media. In case you’ve missed it, she’s already been accused of seeing someone else, which is obviously a perfect excuse for the type of rage that might push someone over the edge and drive them to murder. You know, obviously.

As the trial plays out, there will be a lot of hearsay and pointing of fingers. Each party will be accused of different things and blame will be passed. Sadly, a lot of that will come down to the sexuality of Steenkamp. She’s already be called a cheater, and just yesterday the Guardian quoted a cop as saying she was in a “nightie,” when the murder occurred. A “nightie?” Seriously? What is a “nightie,” to you?

When I first read the statement I was put off. In my upbringing, a nightie is not something I’ve ever worn. A nightgown or pajamas, sure, but a nightie has a different connotation to it. I thought I was just being hypersensitive to the situation until I saw this tweet from Jessica Valenti:


It was then that I thought, OK, cool. I’m not being totally crazy. ‘Nightie’ does have some sort of stigma attached to it. I’m not totally losing my edge. The use of such a word definitely over sexualizes the victim, and in doing so tries to make her less of a victim. Or are Valenti and I reading too much into it? Is a nightie no different than a night-shirt? Does it lack all the sheer lace I’m envisioning in my head? Someone explain it to me!

So how do you feel about the word “nightie?”


Photo: World War II PinUps