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Editorial Choices II, or, Good job, Parade, for not making rape victims all victim-y

March 23, 2009
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Er, sort of. Parade Magazine is circulated in local American newspapers and claims something like 40 gajillion readers. It’s seriously huge, and pretty mainstreamy, but they do a lot of “check out this thing in the world and think about it” stuff.

Here’s what’s interesting about this week’s issue: The main story is the World’s 10 Worst Dictators, a yearly list. The B-story is Congolese rape victims. And the dictators don’t get the cover. Point for Parade. But a lot of bonus points for this: the women on the cover aren’t victims. The quote on the cover isn’t all, “I’m broken and just don’t know how to live with myself/my child/my neighbors any more” (and, thank god, definitely not all, “Let me push apart my thighs.”) I don’t mean to downplay the sense of isolation and social abandonment that women who’ve been raped feel, or any of the other awful emotions that go with it.

But I do mean to give a nod to a media organization–and not one known for especial sensitivity to these kinds of delicacies–for not making that the image we get yet again of women who’ve been raped in Congo.

This might be what they mean by empowerment

This might be what they mean by "empowerment"

That doesn’t mean the difficulty is over for these women, but it sure is nice to have something other than Helpless Black Africans on the cover a publication that millions of people pick up.

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