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The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Gypsy-Rose Blanchard: Understanding the social media obsession

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Christiana Vucea
Since her release, Gypsy-Rose Blanchard has become a sensation for numerous news sources and has been invited to a red carpet event by A+E Networks.

In 2015, a woman from Missouri named Gypsy-Rose Blanchard conspired with her then-boyfriend Nick Godejohn to kill her mother. On Dec. 28 2023, she was released from prison after serving a shortened seven-year sentence and her online fanbase is growing rapidly. 

Paired with a rising interest in true crime populating on social media, the Gypsy-Rose Blanchard case is becoming a sensational controversy and obsession. To date, Blanchard has an HBO TV series covering her story and soon will release a memoir recounting her life in prison.  

“People love true crime stories,” sophomore Allie Kelley said. “The media and public ate this story up because of how crazy and unreal the whole situation was, from her mom faking Gypsy’s illnesses to the plotting and stabbing of her mom.”

Blanchard’s mother—Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard—had forced her daughter to pretend for years that she had leukemia and muscular dystrophy, forcing her to use a feeding tube and a wheelchair. Dee Dee suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by proxy:a mental health condition where someone falsifies diseases or physical illness to draw sympathy and affection from others. 

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Some of the medical treatments were so severe, additional consequences arose including the rotting of her teeth which were all eventually pulled out.

Unfortunately, the doctors who were involved in the case, suspected Munchausen Syndrome but never reported it. These doctors are now lawyered up and protected greatly from being prosecuted in the near future. 

The public was manipulated into believing Gypsy truly had the diseases that her mother orchestrated in her own head. In March of 2008, the Blanchards received a pink home from the Habit of Humanity organization- a nonprofit group that seeks to build affordable homes. This home was completely free and contained equipment that would aid in soothing Gypsy’s discomforts. 

This home is now a tourist attraction, as stated by KSPR33 news in Springfield. Hundreds of fans have visited the area, to get a better look at the once-there, historic crime scene.  

After years of misinformation and physical abuse, Blanchard convinced a man she met on a Christian dating app to kill her mother. As Blanchard said when testifying at Nick Godejohn’s trial in 2018, “I wanted to be free of her hold on me.” In an interview with The Guardian, her trial attorney–Michael Stanfield–describes how malnourished and frail his client was before serving seven years in prison, 85 percent of the charge for second-degree murder.

While many people follow Blanchard’s story and are deeply informed of the goings-on in her life, others have not caught onto the true crime craze. “I didn’t realize people were obsessed as I’ve never discussed it with my circle of friends or colleagues,” AP U.S. History teacher Lisa MacFarlane said. “I don’t normally follow true crime stories.”

Her sudden ascension to public fame is not without its drawbacks, however. Some students question the hype over such ‘sudden celebrities’ because of peoples’ tendency to turn their backs on supposed internet idols when media coverage dies down. 

“Her story is legitimately interesting and brings up questions about our justice system, but I think that the idea of her having millions of followers and becoming a public figure is pretty uncommon,” sophomore Cal Murphy said.

The majority of media attention Blanchard receives utilizes followers’ sympathy and their eagerness to see her start a new life independent of the adversity she faced. Many of her online fans are concerned for her safety and are driven by curiosity to protect her. 

“Her popularity is in some way justified because of what she had to go through. This story sheds light on the signs of abusive relationships and may help others in need in the future,” Kelley said. 

Memes on TikTok claim to have rebranded Blanchard as a symbol of ‘girlbossing’ and are introducing an unconventional view of what it means to be unjustly incarcerated. 

“I think it’s definitely justified, but it’s maybe a little bit much,” Murphy said. “What she went through was horrible, and cops should have stepped in long before it got that bad.”

As Blanchard enters 2024 as a free woman, controversy surrounding the ethics of her decision and whether justice was served by releasing her from prison is still up for debate. Even so, what is more intriguing about her case is the overwhelming public response to her story. 

Currently, Gypsy-Rose Blanchard has over nine million followers on TikTok and over eight million on Instagram. 

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About the Contributor
Christiana Vucea, Graphics Editor
Christiana Vucea is a senior and an editor for the graphics section this year! She has been doing graphics since freshman year and is excited for new features coming to the Tide this year. When she’s not doodling something, she can be found either sleeping or stressing over physics homework.