Western Ontario Gazette are Pro-Rape

I leave that as a statement.

This is from my friend Melanie Thomas‘s blog, and is directed at all of you who claim to be feminists,  but with the qualifier that “you know, not the kind that hate men.” AKA: being part of the problem.

From Anita:

The IDIOTS at the Gazette at the University of Western Ontario think that they are smart enough to come up with political satire on their own … yet, like spineless and unintellegent fools, this year their spoof has gone WAY to fucking far. Their spoof “Labia Majora Carnage” (a disgusting title in itself) make light of rape, women and challenges the idea that University’s might actually be centres of higher learning …

There has been outrage across Universities in Canada. Yet, these assholes’ (at the UWO Gazette) response was a not-so-articulate “get over yourselves” – because they actually think that this is good satire.

I have attached the original text, their response and a very well written facebook comment in response…

Labia Majora Carnage
by “Xavier”
Gazette Staff

Last night, local women hit the streets for the first ever Take Back the Nightie march.
The march was led by members of Western’s Women’s Issues Network, who, for the first time all year, left their circle in the University Community Centre, where witnesses claim they perform tribal dances and yell alienating slurs about pussies and cunts.
The march was organized because women were sick of wearing uncomfortable, soul-crushing lingerie for their boyfriends, lesbian lovers and partners whose gender aren’t identifiable.
“My vagina told me she hates thongs… they’re far too restrictive,” said Jennifer Ostrich, a vocal WIN member. “And what my vagina wants, my vagina gets. Nighties are far more comfortable and practical. They let my vagina be free to the world so she can speak out and say whatever she wants.”
Katie Conservative, another WIN member, said the march also aims to reclaim nighties from cross-dressing men who have bogarted white, crocheted, old-fashioned nighties for far too long.
“My vagina told me that for too long, men have taken things that are rightfully ours,” Conservative said. “Tonight we take back nighties just like we took back hairy armpits and stilettos, even though trannies are still trying to steal them too.”
Near the end of the march, chaos broke out when Ostrich’s vagina crawled from under flowing white nightie, stole a loudspeaker and went on a rampage.
“How dare you act like you know what I have to say,” the vagina screamed down Richmond Row.
“You don’t know me, bee-otch,” it squealed. “You can’t even see me through all this hair you’ve let over-grow. Think of me. I can’t even breathe down here!”
Upon seeing the chaos, London Police Chief Murray Faulkner stopped greasing his nightstick and intervened.
He grabbed the loudspeaker from Ostrich’s wild vagina and took it into a dark alley to teach it a lesson.
To Ostrich’s dismay, the vagina followed, giggling as it said, “I love it when a man in uniform takes control.”
Women were delighted to see groups of men standing on the sidewalks in support.
“It was so great to see men supporting us in our nighties and helping us to spread vagina peace and love,” Conservative said.
One man held a sign that read, “Yeah baby, I’ll take back your nightie anytime!”
What the marchers couldn’t see was that the men were using their penises as the beat off to the women in their long, flowing garbs.
“It takes a little imagination, but once you picture them without the nasty dreadlocks, the hideous piercings, the hairy pits and the beards, some of them are actually kinda hot,” said Cocky McFratboy, while taking a break from masturbating.
The event ended when a man sent WIN into a screaming, tribal frenzy by yelling, “You want an opinion! With a push-up bra, you could actually have a nice rack of lamb going on there!”

Talkin’ satire and the spoof issue

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

It has come to our attention that some of the Western community is disappointed or even furious with last Friday’s Spoof Issue. Debate is occurring on some campus message boards and a protest is supposedly happening Thursday in the University Community Centre atrium at 1:30 p.m.

Some of these students, who belong to campus minority groups, feel they were negatively portrayed or were outright attacked in the Spoof Issue. Our response? Get over yourself.

Ninety per cent of satire will offend somebody. For the most part, jokes inherently involve making fun of something. Indeed, there’s a time and place for jokes. We believe The Gazette Spoof Issue is one of them.

The only thing more absurd than the Spoof Issue itself is the notion it was some convoluted scheme to indoctrinate Western with our heterosexual, misogynist, homophobic, racist, zombie-hating ideology.

Were we homophobic when publishing a story documenting different students’ sexual orientations and the stigmas they face in the university environment (Feb. 14, 2007)? Were we racist when covering Black History Month (Feb. 9, 2007)? Did we impede religious freedom when reporting on Islam Awareness Day (Feb. 7, 2007)? Were we sexist when tackling female professors’ struggles to shatter the glass ceiling (March 8, 2007)?

As is often the case in this extremely PC era, there’s a knee-jerk reaction to the first sign of something “negative.” It doesn’t matter how out of context the supposedly detrimental pieces are from the paper’s mission; it’s easier to strike quickly while charged with emotion than to thoughtfully consider the circumstances. Who cares what The Gazette publishes in 99 of its issues — it’s the one that looks like it should be sold in grocery store checkout lines that really matters, right?

Of course, even if our work is entirely in jest, critics say, we’re promoting a negative message for Western to blindly gobble up. But please don’t insult our readers’ intelligence.

Our readers will notice, for example, that there were social commentaries or criticisms of Western culture beneath some of the barbs tossed on Friday’s pages. Conversely, they’re smart enough to realize that, in many cases, there’s simply no point besides the absolute absurdity of the situation (if the zombie gracing the front page didn’t tip you off, perhaps the swarm of bees exploding from former University Students’ Council presidential candidate Josh Safer’s mouth did).

We’ve yet to receive a single letter to the editor bashing Friday’s Spoof Issue. Maybe, as it’s been written on a message board, most Western students “have become so jaded in terms of both The Gazette and the administration’s lack of action that few students are willing to even come forward to speak up against this any longer.”

Or maybe it’s just that most of Western’s religions, women, homosexuals, babies, god-like dictators, cyclists, student politicians, police, librarians, help groups, administration, squirrels, geese and zombies know a joke when they see one.


I should, for the sake of academic self-preservation, be working furiously on an essay of still-uncertain argument or getting a decent night’s sleep so I’ll be fresh for tomorrow’s slog, but Facebook procrastination has led me here and now I’m too angry to think about anything but the stupidity and callousness and cowardice of the UWO Gazette’s anonymous rape satirist and his defenders on the paper’s editorial board. I haven’t come close to reading everything that’s been written about the article in question or the editors’ response to the outcry against it, here or elsewhere. Excuse me if I repeat what others have already said. I apologize, also, if this reads a too much like a stuffy English paper: I’ve been working on stuffy English papers all day, every day for so long that I find myself using formal prose to order pizza and writing love letters in MLA style.

Let’s set aside “Labia Majora Carnage” (I feel gross just typing that title) itself for a moment and consider the paper’s response to its detractors. The Gazette’s editors, in their letter of April 4, try to have it both ways. On one hand, they defend their offensiveness by stating, more or less accurately, that “ninety per cent of satire will offend somebody” as it “inherently involve[s] making fun of something”, and puff themselves up as serious social commentators in noting the “criticisms of Western culture beneath some of the barbs tossed” in the April Fools’ issue. On the other hand, they suggest that everybody knows the issue is a silly romp and claim that “Labia Majora” is so obviously a playful exercise in pure “absurdity” that the “PC” killjoys who take their “joke” seriously “insult [their] readers’ intelligence”. How disingenuous. How slimy. Any halfway attentive reader sees that the article is intended as social commentary. Ugly, idiotic, utterly wrongheaded social commentary. I might find the paper’s reluctance to stand by it as such a little bit encouraging if I thought for a moment that they were feeling ashamed of what “Xavier” was saying about Western culture in their pages, rather than just scrambling to do damage control.

The editors do get one thing right: satire is about making fun of things. It is a form of discourse, a way of saying something. That it uses irony and humour is no reason not to take what it says seriously.

So what, then, does the author of “Labia Majora Carnage” seem to be saying?

1. That “Take Back the Night” (and, presumably, similar events that aim to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence against women) are silly and, by implication, that the problems they address aren’t as big a deal as feminists and others make them out to be.

2. That feminists (or, at the very least, feminist groups on the UWO campus) are cultish, contemptuous of men, and obsessed with their genitalia. Also, that their frank talk about their reproductive systems is “alienating”.

3. That women form irrational commitments because they’re women (“My vagina told me that…”, “What my vagina wants, my vagina gets”, etc.) Note–if it’s humanly possible to miss it–the author’s fixation on, and apparent revulsion at, the vagina.

4. That feminism (or, to give the author the benefit of the doubt, some form of radical feminism prevalent enough to be represented by a substantial campus group) aims to entrench a definite gender role (involving, in an unconventional mix of stereotypes, lacy nighties and stiletto heels as well as hairy armpits and pudenda) at the expense of gay and transsexual play with gender.

5. That the crazy, rampaging man-haters “Xavier” associates with anti-rape protests are in some sense out of control. (The editors’ complaints about excessively “PC” “minority groups” spoiling their fun make the same suggestion more subtly than the author’s personification of a protester’s vagina as a terrorist does.)

6. That male violence or the sexual domination of women or assertive masculinity–or anything that could conceivably be represented satirically as rape by an authority figure–is a desirable or at least satisfyingly amusing response to the above ‘problem’.

7. That jokes at the expense of rape victims are potentially funny. (This flippancy is related to the implication of 1. that the seriousness of rape, as a social problem if not as a crime, is overstated.)

8. That, much as women complain about rape, deep down some of them (most of them? all of them?) like it.

9. That men advocating feminist causes (or, anyway, male university students doing so) are mainly out to get laid. (Admittedly, this isn’t unheard of.)

10. That frat boys objectify women, masturbate lots, and can be really disgusting. (As a generalization, this seems fair enough.)

11. That deep down, women, even bushy-armpitted feminist activist types, not only appreciate but are sexually excited by displays of fratboyish objectification. (A less baldly misogynistic, but still pretty baldly misogynistic, echo of 8.)

With the exception of 10. and maybe 9., all of the above points are patently wrong, to varying degrees hateful of women, and for the most part inflammatory to victims of sexual assault. That they are made in series of (badly written, painfully unfunny) jokes makes them no less worthy of protest.

It’s not that I don’t get the joke. I get it all too well.

It’s not that I think rape or anything else ought to be off limits for satire. The failure of men in and out of power to recognize the enormity of rape as a social problem, for instance, and the effect that their routine trivialization of it as a mere “woman’s issue” or, worse, a punch line, likely plays in perpetuating the problem is a ripe and worthy target for satirists. I only reserve the right to call out boors or bigots when they use satire to say something contemptible.

It’s not that I take “Xavier” or the Gazette editorial board for cowards because they couch their views in satire. That’s fine. Rather, I’m convinced of their cowardice by the author’s decision to publish “Labia Majora” anonymously and the editors’ unwillingness to defend the article’s “criticisms of Western culture”, though they saw fit to publish it.

Serious people sign their names and say what they mean.

James Phelan
Procrastinator, feminist, guy who’s mad as hell and loath to take it anymore
Liberal Arts College, Concordia University

5 thoughts on “Western Ontario Gazette are Pro-Rape

  1. My favorite part was that the Concordia dude posted his response on Facebook.

    Anyway, it sounds like the writers of the Gazette are about as good as the manatees who push joke bubbles together to make Family Guy.

  2. Pingback: dreadlocks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s