A few days ago, news broke that Peaches Geldof had died at the age of 25. The young woman, who was a wife and mother of two young sons, was found in her home in England. As it stands right now, there's still no official cause of death as the post-mortem proved inconclusive. While you can't even begin to imagine the pain and suffering her family are going through, you can't help but think it's been made worse by the sorts of conclusions certain parts of the media are jumping to, as if it's in some sort of bid to keep the story going.
The first assumption was that her death was drug related, and then some journalists seemed to go with the theory that she was suffering from an eating disorder. However yesterday, the media seemed to make the most absurd connection yet. They seemed to be reporting on the fact that Peaches had started following SuicideGirls on Instagram just weeks before her death.
The stories didn't say that her death was suicide, or even hinted that she'd had suicidal thoughts, but you can picture the sorts of connotations that come with that sort of link. I'm pretty sure some editors thought they'd struck gold when they realised they could put the word "suicide" in a headline next to Peaches name. It's the sort of thing that would instantly make someone jump to the wrong idea, and a click a website to read the full story.
If you are one of the many people who hadn't heard of SuicideGirls until a couple of days ago, then let me clear things up for you. Despite the name and some of the press reports that it makes death look good; it's not some sort of Pro-ana website for suicide. It's simply a community of people who challenge the ideals of beauty and also celebrates alternative cultures.
The website itself has 5 million unique users each month, and that's on top of the millions of people who follow on social networking sites like Peaches did. It's been running since 2001, and features millions of photographs of beautiful women who unlike more mainstream models, tend to have tattoos and piercings. It's this uniqueness and celebration of individuality that attracts people, and it has nothing to do with people wanting to harm themselves in any way.
I've been a huge SuicideGirls fan since i was about 16 years old. I felt like I was constantly battling with the ideals of beauty and popularity that were outlined like some kind of law in my High School. Most of the boys there wouldn't look twice at you unless you were conventionally pretty, thin and popular. And despite it being a Scottish High School, we even had our own cheerleaders to compete with. However SuicideGirls opened my eyes to a whole other world. One that showed me you don't have to conform to society's standards and it was ok to dye your hair, pierce your lip and cover your body in tattoos.
For the media to paint SuicideGirls in any sort of negative light is disrespectful to both Peaches and the website. For someone who has lots of tattoos herself, it's no wonder she was attracted to a site like this. And had the website been called something else, it probably wouldn't have picked up any media attention at all.
So what's next? Is the media going to dissect the lyrics of every song she liked to see there's a hint trouble there? If a picture of her looking sad emerges are we going to assume she was depressed? Maybe for the sake of her poor family and anyone who knew her, everyone should just stop jumping to conclusions and respect the fact that however you look at it, this is a truly tragic turn of events.