The Category of a Felon

Lindsey Feldman, explores the stigma of a male felon by taking a closer look at the “hot felon;” Jeremy Meeks. Meek’s mug shot went viral when the media discovered his blue-eyed and well-structured frame. After receiving a lot of attention, Meeks, appeared on a nightly news broadcast in Sacramento. One would think that his interview would humanize the handsome “bad boy” in the photo, but the categorization of the word felon dehumanizes him as a member of society.

The word felon has a lot of negative quotation. Acquiring the title, felon, suggests that one has removed himself from society and identifies himself as “other.” After his interview, the reporter shames his audience for positively introducing Meeks into social media, “For those of you [talking about this online], we wag the finger of shame at you. We never want to put these people on a pedestal.”(Feldman) The reporter establishes criminals as “these people.” Not only does he insinuate that felons are lesser, but he also objectifies them by saying we as society put them on this pedestal that media has become.

Meeks has broken the social construct of a criminal. The popularity of his mug shot can remind American prisoners that they have no rights to their identity and that they have little to no consent on what goes on social media. Meeks has used social media to his advantage. His good-looks allow him to be accepted back to society even though it was only for fifteen minutes of fame.