Assessing The Gazette's Spoof Issue

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Word of our Spoof Issue, particularly the article “Labia Majora Carnage,” has spread quickly, and it’s clear numerous people were upset by its content.

Many people believe we ignore students’ criticisms or that we aren’t held accountable for our actions, and we’d like to address those concerns now.

“Labia Majora Carnage,” specifically, was intended to satirize perceptions of women and feminism. More specifically, we crammed in as many feminist stereotypes as possible " the dreadlocks, the tribal dances, the man hating " thinking students would realize the ridiculousness behind such stereotypes. We hoped students would look at it and agree with us that the stereotypes are absurd and have no place in modern society.

Also, some students feel two paragraphs in the article promote or normalize sexual assault. This, again, was not the intention nor the perceived reading of the article we thought we would achieve. When the vagina ended up “loving the man in uniform,” we hoped to make a point that no really does mean no, that the idea a woman always desires a man’s sexual advances " regardless of what she says " is a terrible and erroneous assertion. We thought we were admonishing the very thing people are upset about.

We’re aware this sounds like backpedaling, and last week we wrote in an editorial that people should be able to take a joke. We still stand by that. We genuinely poked fun at feminism in that article too, and it was meant to provide some laughs.

But we " in no way, shape or form " meant to trivialize or make light of something like sexual assault. As more and more letters came in, it became apparent the article was misinterpreted. That isn’t the readers’ fault. Obviously, we failed at our attempt to make social commentary.

Regardless of intended meanings, the article made some people, particularly victims of sexual assault, uncomfortable, something we never wished for. As such, we apologize the article didn’t convey what we wanted it to. It wasn’t a rape joke " it was meant to rip negative ideas regarding women and sex.

Students have been asking about accountability and have every right to do so. Gazette Editor-in-Chief Ian Van Den Hurk has had frequent discussions with University Students’ Council President Fab Dolan this year about improving The Gazette through student input and criticism of the Spoof Issue has accelerated this process.

To allow students greater flexibility in shaping their newspaper, the following will take place:

1. A study group will be created and tasked with researching possible ways to improve our value to you. Topics of discussion include, among other things:

a) editor accountability and removal process

b) sensitivity training for all editors

c) overall quality of the paper

d) our publishing schedule

2. A forum will be held next year to allow students and alumni a chance to comment on the paper. This will provide the study group with insight from the Western community.

Frequently, Gazette staffers question campus’ perception of the paper and what can be done to involve more student input. Hopefully, this will help.

Though just two issues remain, we encourage everyone to keep writing us letters about the Spoof Issue and the year as a whole " good or bad.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette