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Jaycee Dugard’s People photos
Are <em>People</em>&rsquo;s exclusive first photos of kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard empowering or exploitative?

“Welcome back, Jaycee,” said Elizabeth Snead in the Los Angeles Times. People magazine is running the first photos of Jaycee Dugard since the end of her 18-year captivity by kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido. Now 29, Dugard is living in seclusion with her mother, Terry Probyn, and her two daughters fathered by Garrido. Amazingly, “there’s no trace of her long nightmare on her smiling face.”

It’s certainly “good news” to see Dugard “smiling and safe,” said Lauren Beckham Falcone in the Boston Herald, “but it’s not entertainment,” and People “devalues” her story by running it between “plastic surgery beauty makeovers, we-lost-100-pounds diet success sagas, and other before-and-after Cinderella stories.” This week’s Dugard cover and last week’s cover of fellow kidnapping/child rape victim Elizabeth Smart trivialize “the terror of their ordeals.”

If she hadn’t sold her story and photos to People for an “undisclosed sum,” said Guy Adams in Britain’s The Independent, we would have seen her in the “not-too-distant future” anyway, at Garrido’s trial. So why “begrudge Ms. Dugard an opportunity to gain financial security” from her ordeal? Besides, she’s not dragging her daughters with her in her “tentative step into the limelight”—People only shows the backs of their heads.

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