WTF Email

A reader is upset about my Unplanned Parenthood cartoon:

Hi Jen, this is in response to your recent depiction of Planned Parenthood. First of all, I am not irrationally upset, please do not delete this message upon noting that it is a complaint. My lady associate and I found the particular section “Sexual Assault Victim” to be offensive and particularly insensitive. You have obviously never been raped, though many readers of Santa Cruz Weekly have been. You probably ruined someone’s day. Play nice, bitch.

Now, the second panel of that cartoon obviously criticizes the viewpoint of the Unplanned Parenthood counselor, who suggests the sexual assault victim was “probably showing a little thigh.” It illustrates the horror and absurdity of being told such a thing. This reader seems to think I’m attacking Planned Parenthood itself. But it says right underneath the title, “Pregnancy Centers, GOP style!” For some people, I suppose cartoon interpretation is a bitch.

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13 Responses to WTF Email

  1. 1
    SamanthaJoy says:

    “Lady Associate”?

  2. 2
    Kevin Moore says:

    Someone forgot to put their irony hat on.

  3. 3
    Satchel says:

    Mansplaining FTW!

  4. 4
    The Ghost of Victor Lustig says:

    The “play nice, bitch” at the end does seem a little incongruent with somebody concerned that his lady associates might be offended by insensitivity.

  5. 5
    Jen Sorensen says:

    @Ghost – Could not have said it better myself.

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    Jen, have you considered the possibility that you’re being spoofed here?

  7. 7
    Jen Sorensen says:

    @RonF – You could be right. To me, this sounded more like someone who had misread the cartoon, although sometimes it’s hard to tell.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    The other thing would be that if you get 500 e-mails telling you that your cartoon was offensive and insensitive, then perhaps you might pay attention. But one? Crap. I don’t think it would be possible to draw a cartoon that some one person wouldn’t find offensive and insensitive. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  9. 9
    jess says:

    #3- I don’t get the assumption that this is mansplaining. Is there a reason why you assumed the writer was a man? There’s no evidence either way, but my guess was that the writer was a woman, just based on the fact that generally the people saying “show more consideration for the feelings of rape survivors” are women. I assumed the reader was a woman who got the joke but still felt it is hurtful to call rape victims sluts, even when doing so sarcastically to criticize the “horror and absurdity,” as you put it. That’s something that I think reasonable people can disagree on.

  10. 10
    Satchel says:


    It reads like mansplaining to me even if the writer was a woman, which I doubt.

  11. 11
    Robert says:

    “My lady associate and I” implies a masculine author.

  12. 12
    jess says:

    #11- I really don’t think it does. I have never heard a hetero man say “my lady associate”, but I have heard similar turns of phrase from lesbian and bi women to refer to their girlfriends or partners (sometimes for comedic effect or to specifically call attention to their sexual orientation). To me, it seems more likely that this email is from a woman who’s strongly on the side of “joking about rape is never ok, no matter the circumstances.” There are plenty of feminists who believe that the harm done by repeating victim-blaming slurs outweighs the good that Jen’s cartoon is trying to accomplish (namely, criticizing those who hold the viewpoints of the Unplanned Parenthood counselor). It’s not unreasonable to believe that- if Jen’s cartoon is mostly preaching to the choir and doesn’t change very many people’s minds, then it’s done some limited amount of good, and it’s at least possible to argue that the emotional harm it does (by re-exposing a rape victim to slurs that were used against her in the past) outweighs the good. For me, the cartoon was not triggering, and I appreciated the dark humor, but for some people it might hurt to read it.

  13. 13
    Robert says:

    Yeah, I suppose that’s true (about the comedic lesbians). Never mind, I guess it doesn’t have a clear implication.