My Celebrity Life

You season 3: What is missing white woman syndrome?

My Celebrity Life –
You season three has is back (Picture: Netflix)

*Warning: This article contains huge spoilers from You season 3.*

The third season of You is back, and while viewers are ready to see Joe Goldberg and Love Quinn- Goldberg return to their usual antics, the series touches upon a specific phenomenon known as missing white woman syndrome, and if you pay attention closely, you’ll realise it serves as a subtle and consistent theme throughout.

Missing white woman syndrome is the inconsistent attention paid to white women who are missing compared to women of colour who are missing, especially when it comes down to media coverage.

It all starts with Joe (Penn Badgley) and Love’s (Victoria Pedretti) move to  Madre Linda, California. Joe being Joe, has already started internally obsessive over Natalie, his mysterious beautiful blonde-haired neighbour, and although Natalie makes it clear that she’s fair game.

Although Love is unaware to what extent, she quickly realises Joe and Natlie have crossed a boundary. Fuelled by jealous rage, Love attacks Natalie with an axe and kills her, which later leads to Joe and Love finding a place in the woods to bury her body.

Fast forward a couple of scenes, and now the whole of Madre Linda realises Natalie is ‘missing’. While Joe and Love continue to keep up appearances with fake smiles and standard small talk, their neighbours don’t suspect the supposed typical suburbanite couple, so they keep it moving.

The biased phenomenon serves as the third episode title in season three. While working at the library, Joe’s boss Marienne (played by Tati Gabrielle) brings up Madre Linda’s biggest story of the moment and says: ‘Missing white woman syndrome is America’s favourite pastime next to porn.’

My Celebrity Life –
Natalie Engler meets a brutal end at the end of episode one (Picture: Netflix)

Joe looks a little confused by the term, so Dante, Marienne’s assistant (played by Ben Mehl) casually defines the term and says: ‘When upper class attractive white ladies go missing, they get tons of media coverage, doesn’t happen for other victims.’

However it’s Marienne’s comeback that will make you sit and think about how this preferential form of privilege is still relevant in today’s society.

Marianne says: ‘When white women receive a disproportionately high level of public attention, a very clear message is being sent. White ladies deserve to be rescued. The rest of us can fend for ourselves.’

Fans have praised the show for shedding on light on this form of injustice, that many people might have been aware existed.




The violent and untimely death of a woman, or any person, is a tragedy, but the media’s continuous tendency in publicising white women over people of colour has been an ongoing debate for the last decade.

While the show’s premise revolves around murder and all round shadiness, it’s actually quite refreshing to see ‘missing white woman syndrome’ presented in a tasteful way that doesn’t exaggerate nor understate.

You season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.


Credit: Original article published here.

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