Purdue University paper The Exponent ran a supposedly funny cartoon Friday depicting a sex position it called "The Prestige." But to many readers, it looked a lot like rape.
The cartoon showed a couple having sex doggy-style, when the man sneaks away and, without the woman's knowledge, is replaced by another man. Man #1 then waves at the woman through a window — "If properly executed," reads the caption, "the receiving partner will be astonished as if a magic trick has just occurred. Tah-dah!" Leaving aside logistics (its unlikely that the receiving partner would fail to notice this little switcheroo), "astonished" might not be the most accurate word for the woman's likely emotional state. Perhaps "enraged" or "violated" might be better.
What the cartoon depicts is a man having sex with a woman without her consent, which isn't magic, it's rape. And while we're sure the cartoonists will say they were just trying to be funny, joking about sexual assault harms not just survivors, but everyone on the Purdue campus. Writes the website Students Against Abuse,
In 2009, women made up 42% of students enrolled (39,697). It is the opinion of the creator of this site, that The Exponent is creating an unsafe environment for its female students as well as depicting females as sexual objects, whose victimization is viewed as a source of entertainment.
Exponent editor Zoe Hayes says the paper didn't mean to "condone non-consensual sexual situations," and the staff plans to discuss the cartoon in the paper today
(today's issue isn't online yet — any Purdue students want to scan that discussion for us?). But like the editors of the Johns Hopkins News-Letter, maybe the Exponent staff should have thought about the misogynistic implications of their content before it went to press.