by Jessi H '11

Winona Ryder Caught Stealing…Again.

She had the perfect life. She dated the guys most only dream about, was offered so many lead roles in movies she had to start rejecting them, and she is praised for her chic sense of style, sporting Chanel and Marc Jacobs daily. Born Winona Horowitz, known to the public as Winona Ryder, is not unlike most celebrities. She is beautiful, fit, and dates famous attractive men, including Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, and many more. Yet there is something about her that does not fit this convention. She is a criminal. She does not disturb the peace with her ranting like Amy Winehouse, or drink and drive like Paris Hilton and countless others. No, Winona Ryder, steals.
A multi-millionaire, with countless unneeded job opportunities, shoplifted clothing in 2001. She was found guilty a year later and sentenced to 480 hours of community service, three years’ probation, $3700 in fines, and $6355 in return for her arrest on shoplifting charges. A light sentence compared to what others have paid for the crime: three years in jail.
Eight years later and Winona is at it again. This time, however, it is jewels.
Why did she steal? She does not lack the money. When questioned about why she does not feel guilty about her crime, Ryder said, “I didn’t have this tremendous sense of guilt because I hadn’t hurt anyone. Had I physically harmed someone or caused harm to a human being, I think it would have been an entirely different experience.” Yet how can she not feel ashamed when there are people who cannot afford any clothes, and she, who has enough money to clothe hundreds of people, and has an excessive amount of designer garments already, steals more for herself?
These kinds of thoughts tend to jump into many peoples’ minds upon hearing the news. Although we do not truly know Ryder, we ridicule, praise and judge all celebrities. Their feelings are left unthought-of, as we do not think of them as people, but as characters for our entertainment. So many over look the other possibility: that it is not her fault, as it is simply out of Winona Ryder’s control.
Kleptomania is a mental disorder characterized by persistent failure to resist stealing. Colin Allen from “Psychology Today” reports that the main behaviors associated with the impulse control disorder are:
– The essential feature of Kleptomania is stealing for the sake of performing the act, rather than for personal use or profit.
– Two out of three kleptomaniacs are female.
– 5 percent of shoplifters are kleptomaniacs.
– Most kleptomaniacs can afford what they steal.
– Once an object is stolen, it is generally discarded as worthless.
Ryder fits perfectly into the category. She is a woman, making the odds greater, she is a shoplifter and she can easily afford what she steals. Instead of judging her too harshly, the public should recognize that she is a textbook Kleptomaniac case. If she in fact does have this affliction, it is not her choice, just as it is not her choice to steal. The way she handles the situation afterward however, it entirely up to her. Instead of blaming the hotel she claims she dropped the jewelry off with for losing the jewelry, she should come clean about her actions. With a reputation and business to uphold, the hotel would not have stolen the jewelry item.
After dealing with the legal side of the situation, it would be wise of her to get medical help. There is medicine as well as therapists to treat the disorder, and help patients take control of their lives.


By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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