Kristen Gilchrist, “‘Newsworthy’ Victims?

The lack of coverage to missing/murdered Aboriginal women appears to suggest that their stories are not dramatic or worthy enough to tell, that Aboriginal women’s victimization is too routine or ordinary, and/or irrelevant to (White) readers.

Kristen Gilchrist, “‘Newsworthy’ Victims?” in Feminist Media Studies vol. 20 (4), 2010, pp. 385
From a cover story by Maclean’s magazine in June 2015.
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We’re reading an essay by Kristen Gilchrist about newspaper coverage of missing and/or murdered women in Canada. Her central focus is to explore the differences in local press coverage of missing and/or murdered Aboriginal and White women. As you read this article, you should be able to make connections to other articles we’ve read this semester and concepts we’ve explored through our readings and in class.

Gilchrist’s study of 6 Canadian women who disappeared between 2003 and 2005 reveals that symbolic annihilation must be understood in intersectional terms, which is to say that some women are more likely to excluded, trivialized, and marginalized than others. 

As you read:

  • Think about the ways that Gilchrist exposes what Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi describes as “single stories” about Canada
  • Consider how dualism functions in the representations of White and Aboriginal women
  • Consider how intersectional analysis enriches feminist analyses
  • Consider how victim blaming in newspapers is similar to victim blaming in discourses of sexual assault or domestic violence

Find the Gilchrist reading here.

Supporting a Survivor of
Sexual Assault
View Time: 7:52 Minutes
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