Student Question

How does Liza Donnelly's cartoon criticize misogyny and rape culture, and what stylistic choices does she use?

Quick answer:

Liza Donnelly's cartoon "Am I going to get raped checklist" criticizes misogyny and rape culture by using thought bubbles to depict a woman's constant worry about her appearance and actions to avoid rape. Stylistically, the thought bubbles dominate the image, underlining the overwhelming nature of these concerns. The woman's normal appearance and mild worry convey the daily reality of these fears for women. The trivial matters contrast sharply with the serious consequence of rape, implying the woman bears responsibility for her safety, a misogynistic idea.

Expert Answers

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Liza Donnelly's cartoon "Am I going to get raped checklist" criticizes misogyny and rape culture by presenting a woman surrounded by ten thought bubbles, in each of which is a question about her appearance or attitude. The idea is clearly that these considerations, such as whether her skirt is too short or her lipstick too red, are necessary to ensure that she will not be raped.

The thought bubbles occupy more than twice as much space as the woman, going down to her feet and over her head, emphasizing the overwhelming nature of these thoughts. The woman has a mildly worried expression but looks fairly normal and does not appear to be panicking, showing the everyday nature of such considerations for women.

Perhaps most tellingly, there is the contrast between the word "rape" in the title and the way the trivial matters the woman considers are displayed as a checklist. These matters are unimportant in themselves, but the cartoon suggests that ignoring them could have terrible, life-altering consequences. There is also the implication that the woman has to take responsibility for not getting raped, a self-evidently misogynist notion.

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