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Intersectional scholarship argues that women of color have distinct experiences of rape compared to white women and highlights their relative invisibility as victims compared to white women victims in news media. While the bulk of intersectional work has examined such issues within one nation and particularly within the US, in an era of increasingly transnationalized media content, we explore such intersectionalities in a transnational frame. That is, we explore the treatment of the rape of a local Indian woman in New Delhi, India, and the rape of a white woman in Steubenville, USA, in the New York Times and the Times of India. We find that contra assumptions in the intersectional literature, the racialized Indian victim is hyper-visible across both papers while the white US victim is relatively invisible. Situating both newspapers within the global histories of the development of news as a particular genre of storytelling, we argue that their respective locations within larger processes shaped by colonial, imperial and neo-colonial histories have critical implications for the coverage each paper offers. Thus, we argue that issues of race and visibility in media operate very differently depending on the space and scale of analysis. In an increasingly globalized world, then, we must start paying attention to the transnational and its implications for rape, race and (in)visibility in news media. Ultimately, our approach brings together processes of racialization at multiple scales—both below the nation and above the nation—to offer a more complex, multi-scalar understanding of how racialization processes impact rape coverage.


Originally published in Societies.

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